EXCLUSIVE! Virtual Breakfast Insight: Innovative and Robust Cloud Data Management and Protection for a High-Performance and Profitable Enterprise – OpenGov Asia

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Data is increasingly at the core of any business or organisation and is fuelling new digital transformation initiatives. As data becomes more distributed, dynamic and diverse, its availability has never been more essential for effective and holistic data management and protection strategy. The importance of data availability and accessibility anytime and anywhere is even more pronounced in the current crisis. This is especially true for organisations engaged in providing mission-critical, customer-centric services.

Enterprises are facing new demands from their customers in these unprecedented times. Legacy backup cannot meet these requirements and cannot deliver the availability that is needed to keep the operations running. Accurate data protection and recovery are essential for successful mission-critical applications. Efficient access to data is essential and is necessary to improve organisational productivity.

Whether it is a natural disaster or a cyberattack, organisations need the resilience to bounce back quickly. So, what can organisations do now to prepare for a worst-case scenario? What if a backup fails to restore? What if the planned disaster recovery does not turn out to be what was expected? Against this backdrop, cloud is the inescapable future. Enterprise IT environments are no longer solely based on physical servers and workloads. Many projects have migrated to cloud platforms where security and control of data are paramount.

Indonesia is actively embracing the adoption of cloud-based technology, which is an essential tool to deal with the vast amounts of data and to build innovative products, offerings, and customer-centric services.

With the absolute necessity of cloud, multiple variants of cloud environment – such as public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud – have emerged to manage vast streams of data. While traditional on-premises data storage remains, the use of cloud and cloud-based services will keep organisations ahead of the game.

At a time when innovation is racing ahead, enterprises need the speed and agility to achieve cost efficiency, business resilience, exceptional customer experiences and run operations for decades to come. Security and governance are of paramount importance. In the current volatile environment, the success of any organisation is dependent on the strength of its IT infrastructure. Data protection, data mobility, data portability and data agility are the key considerations while ensuring its availability across any application or cloud infrastructure.

This Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 18 November 2021 aimed at imparting knowledge on effective and efficient data management and how to ensure data availability, accessibility, and protection across any cloud environment and on-prem.

The session served as a great peer-to-peer learning platform to gain insights and practical solutions to go beyond just managing data, but to make it smarter and more self-governing while ensuring its availability, portability and recovery across any application or infrastructure.

Embracing a new culture and embracing the inevitable challenges of data protection and recovery

Mohit Sagar: Take on the challenges of cloud management and protection to thrive

Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.

The pandemic heralded significant changes in culture and perspective. The world will not the same again – there is a line that has been drawn: pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. This has tremendous implications on the way businesses – and indeed the world – run.

Strategies deployed in late 2020 and early 2021 were, for the most part, ‘band-aid technologies” that helped to make sure there was continuity, says Mohit. Over time, organisations have learned lessons and tweaked their strategies, gradually gaining more control.

With remote work increasingly being the norm, providing secure access to a distributed workforce is essential if organisations are to make work from home a reality. They need to embrace the challenges of this new model while ensuring that the copious amount of data stored on the cloud is highly secure.

From a supplier or service point of view, it is essential to genuinely understand customers’ needs and provide suitable solutions without violating privacy rights.

The fact is, data can reside on a plethora of platforms – on-premises, the cloud, a hybrid option or even within containers. But Mohit asks, “Do organisations actually know where the data is and the criticality of the data?

At this critical juncture, organisations need to take a closer look to understand data architecture, know where data is stored and what the vulnerabilities could be. For Mohit “protection is an investment” because the odds are that every organisation will face a cyber attack at some point.

“You will get hit, it is going to happen,” he asserts. ”The question is, what is your recovery strategy and how are you managing your data?”

Where there is business growth, there will be threats. With a wider cyber surface and more access points, exposure and risks are magnified.

Closing his address, he strongly recommends delegates seek out partnerships and work with technology experts to build the infrastructures that will allow their organisations to thrive. It ultimately is in an organisations’ interest to let the experts do what they do best – this not only allows the best systems and infrastructure to be put in place but also frees up the organisation’s staff to concentrate on the business and focus on driving growth.

Protecting and securing data in a cloud-first future

Dave Russell: Cyber threats are not going away – we need to prepare for them

Dave Russell, Vice President, Enterprise Strategy, Office of the CTO, Veeam, spoke next on strategies to manage cloud data and protection.

In the last 12 months, Veeam has done four out of the six largest data protection and recovery surveys. Based on Veeam’s studies, it is obvious that hosting data on virtual machines with hyper-scale capabilities or regional service providers will accelerate. The trends are incredibly linear – what people thought they would do, they did, says Dave.

When surveyed about the reasons for protecting M365, the number one reason is the accidental deletion of data, followed closely by preparation against cybersecurity attacks.

“We are likely to be hit by cyberattacks,” he concedes. “Knowing that, we need to prepare for adverse cyber events.”

In this context, he points out that containers are being deployed and that it is something that organisations will need to think about. Containers may not feel like an open system, but the truth is that most organisations are already using containers.

According to the Veeam survey, there is a disparity between the IaaS admins and the SaaS/PaaS ones. The admin personnel are not always aware of the production capability even though organisations are well ahead in the use of containers.

“Cyber threats are not going away,” Dave firmly states.

According to him, the industry practices the mantra of having three or more different copies on two media, one of which is off-site. One of the copies should be offline, air-gapped or immutable and have zero errors after automated backup testing and recovery.

Credits: Dave Russell

There are several interesting observations about server platforms. A current trend that is on the rise is to reduce physical servers within the data centre. In fact, surveys indicate that plans to reduce physical servers are running ahead of schedule, meeting the reduction goals a year early.

Secondly, while projected to be flat or the same, Virtual Machines on-premise have declined. There are virtual servers within the data centres.

The third trend is that of cloud-hosted Virtual Machines. While it was predicted to increase from 32% to 41% over 2 years, actual usage is already at 47% currently and projected to be 52% (a 11% gain over and above the gain realised in the last year).

An area of increasing concern is ransomware, against which protection is of vital importance – as can be seen from the numerous high-profile cases in recent times. Veeam’s strategy is to protect, manage and unleash so that users can leverage their data through data portability, cloud mobility and instant recovery. By ensuring data availability and agility, business acceleration can take place.

From his experience, he concludes that utilising Veeam offers a better data experience that, in turn, improves the customer experience. Overall,  it enables organisations to deliver new customer and partner products and services while retaining and upskilling staff and optimising costs.

Protecting data and extracting maximum value from your data

Matt Taylor: Modernising backup and restore capabilities

Matt Taylor, Head of Partner Success Solution Architecture, Amazon Web Services, Asia-Pacific, and Japan, elaborated on protecting data and extracting the most value from Amazon Web Service (AWS) Storage.

AWS has been helping enterprises (governments and businesses) increase agility, accelerate innovation, drive new revenue streams, strengthen security and reduce costs for 13 years. With AWS, customers are building backup and restore capabilities, archival and compliance, home directories, data lakes, modern apps and business-critical applications.

In the current model, organisations likely have a server that they need to backup via a storage array and a backup appliance. Thereafter, the data gets sent to an offsite tape vault. However, this model does not scale very well – organisations will need to estimate how much storage space is needed and purchase the capacity ahead of time.

For Matt, they are complicated to maintain and they have inflexible recovery options making it difficult to recoup. Additionally, the system leaves the data siloed and difficult to access or derive value from.

With an existing backup solution such as Veeam, data gets moved into storage and into a Tape Gateway which will send the data to Amazon S3 – which is available, durable and scalable. With a system like this, organisations no longer need to maintain the tape or move that data to a tape facility.

Matt explained that AWS and Veeam are reliable when it comes to disaster recovery. If organisations backup the data over Amazon S3 using Veeam, data can be rehydrated using EC2 Instance in the cloud. Once on-premises infrastructure returns organisations can also stay in the cloud – it would also be a great way to migrate the data to cloud.

“Customers want more value from their data,” Matt asserts. “Because the data is growing exponentially from new sources, increasingly diverse data formats, used by many people within the organisations and analysed by many applications.”

Many organisations have traditional data warehousing approaches that do not scale well. While most businesses claim to have a data warehouse, what is typically observed is a data silo with existing systems (OLTP, ARPs, CRMs etc.) and they run analytics and business intelligence. They may have another data silo by another team in another part of the business taking data from various sources, Matt concedes. But the fact is, in such a scenario, organisations do not have a full view of data about their customers.

For Matt, this is where a data lake comes into the picture. Backing up data with Veeam over S3 into a data lake allows organisations to collect, centralise and cleanse their data so that they can run full data analytics across the whole organisation and extract data. That data can also be used to train machine learning models by automating tasks.

Amazon has been doing this for over 20 years. Through recommendation engines and personalised services, they can sell 4000 products per minute; robotics in the fulfilment centres and logistics has allowed them to ship 1.6 million packages every day.

According to a study, if a typical Fortune 100 company made more than 10% of their data more accessible, the company would see a 65 million increase in net income, 415% RoI and 48% reduction in the total cost of operations.

In summary, Matt shares three core business outcomes that AWS can deliver:

  • Improved operational efficiency: Increase agility, run the business more efficiently and provide a better experience for customers by moving data to the cloud
  • Make more informed decisions: Inform business decision making with more meaningful insights by bringing together the full picture of data across the organisation.
  • Accelerate innovation: Unlocks opportunities that were either too difficult or impossible to do before by automating processes with AI and machine learning.

Matt concludes by stating that AWS improves operations, marketing optimisation, customer experience and application development – all of which are based on the experiences of Amazon’s own use cases that have accelerated the growth of their e-commerce platform.

Interactive Discussions

After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.

In the first poll, delegates were asked about their organisation’s expectation on recovery time and recovery points, should there be a cyberattack, disruption, corruption or disaster. An overwhelming number of the delegates (68%) indicated that they want to get back in less than 1 hour without any loss of transaction or data, while the rest could accept waiting for up to 4 hours with data losses and downtime (32%).

Dave remarked that the number of applications required to keep business alive is tremendous; in fact, applications that have become mission-critical have tripled or even quadrupled. Today, if email were not available, people would lose their minds – something that was unthinkable 15 years ago.

In that case, Matt adds, making these applications exceptionally durable and secure becomes key. With the right architecture and infrastructure, some recovery can be done almost immediately.

Andrew added that while having the technology to recover is paramount, the maturity of the business to understand what is the most critical to recovering, with the greatest impact on the business is as important.

Mohit agreed with Andrew and says that while applications have become more critical, not everything is 100% critical – there has to be prioritisation.

The next question inquired what delegates thought was the most concerning (potential) impact of downtime. Most of the delegates selected reputational damage (47%), followed by loss of customer confidence (41%) and regulatory action (12%).

“Customers have many options today,” Mohit warns delegates. “If a business is down or unavailable, customers will readily explore other options to get what they want.”

Dave concurs that with customers, reputational damage is the first concern. The perspective that organisations must have though, is that the “customer” is internal, external and partners. “You have to satisfy requests fast or suffer,” he opines.

On how confident delegates are that their organisation’s data/workload can move securely across platforms/cloud, most delegates selected fairly sure (67%). The rest of the delegates were divided between very confident (17%), not confident (11%) and uncertain (5%).

For Mohit, the move to the cloud is inevitable and believes that IT is the best investment that people can do, “It is going to be a multi-hybrid cloud strategy that you have to deploy and keep secure; you will need the right tech and the right people to do it well.”

Dave believes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Matt added that organisations can leverage solution architects who know how to manoeuvre to help organisations. A lot of the tech built is because Amazon needed the use case; now they know how to solve problems.

When asked about the most concerning factor for delegates when they are in a vendor lock-in situation, most delegates selected limited technology options and were unable to adopt best-of-breed available in the market (36%), portability and agility of data/workload (21%), inability/difficult to exit when technology reaches “End of Life” (22%), and commercial disadvantage during the negotiation (14%).

Matt acknowledges that organisations are worried about getting locked into propriety technology that they cannot move away from. He advises putting data into platforms where organisations can control and move data in and out as they wish.

Andrew added that things are changing so rapidly that making a three-to-five-year infrastructure decision that is locked in will not allow organisations the agility to change and may hold an organisation back in adopting new technology.

On the area of interest for delegates’ organisation and what delegates value the most, an overwhelming majority selected delivering business resiliency through highly available applications and workloads (79%), the rest of the delegates selected visibility into cross-system data and infrastructure to identify unexpected changes and potential risks (7%), ease of doing business through simplified technology consumption model (7%) and tools that can delivery automation in areas like compliance and data classification(7%).

Habisanti: New strategies, models and tech are part of the fabric of current reality

Dave shared that staff in Veeam’s support centres are constantly managing situations where organisations are hit by cyber-attacks.

“It will not diminish over time,” Dave says. “It is not a question of ‘if’ but ’when’. Organisations must pre-empt and prepare for cyber threats.”

On being asked what they thought will be their organisation’s biggest challenge when faced with a ransomware attack, most delegates were concerned about their customers’ confidence in the company (46%). The rest of the delegates were split between the challenges of backup copy being compromised (36%) and the long time required to recover data from backup (18%).

Mohit feels that the loss of customers’ confidence is a result of the backup copy being compromised and the long time taken to recover data. Customer confidence is the driver, and data protection and recovery strategies are vital.

Conclusion

In closing, Habisanti, Country Manager, Veeam Indonesia thanked all the delegates for their participation and insights on the topic. She reiterated the importance of data protection and recovery for operations as organisations embrace digital transformation. The needs of the time require new strategies, models and technological adoption – it is part of the fabric of current reality.

Before signing off, Habisanti encouraged delegates to continue to have conversations about the ever-evolving technology landscape. She invited the delegates to reach out to her and the team if they had any queries or wanted to explore ways to collaborate.


Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Movement restrictions designed to help the spread of the virus has forced almost everyone online for work, education, health and commerce. With this transition, cybercrime has surged to more than PHP1 billion this year alone as more individuals turn to digital financial transactions. The figure from frauds and unauthorised withdrawals is estimated on BAP members’ reports alone, according to the vice-chair of the Bankers Association of the Philippines’ (BAP) cybersecurity committee at a virtual briefing.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) recently launched its Anti-Scam Campaign, a multi-partner information campaign aimed at promoting cybersecurity, cyber-safety, and awareness among Filipino banking customers. The launch coincides with the International Fraud Awareness Week, which emphasises the importance of cybersecurity and cyber education in individuals’ lives all around the world.

In its efforts to raise cybersecurity awareness in the Philippines, the BAP is collaborating with a variety of stakeholders, including social media influencers, government organisations, and the media.

“Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. With this partnership with KBP, we can keep the public informed and educated on the latest trends and scenarios on cybercrime, considering the growing threats of cybercriminals. They have stepped up their game as they try to take advantage of the rapid online migration of essential activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said BAP President, Wick Veloso.

The BAP and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help promote awareness on cybersecurity and data protection. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be formed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), with the goal of training cybercrime enforcers and prosecutors in making cybercriminals accountable for their acts. “We believe that this collaboration project will result in a more intensive consumer awareness and education as a strong first line of defence against cyber threats”, the KBP Chairman said.

The Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP) will also serve as an official partner in coordinating the execution of the Anti-Scam campaign on social media by BAP’s member banks. In addition, on November 14, the BAP launched the BAP #Cybersafe Facebook page, which aims to improve cybersecurity awareness by encouraging the public to be attentive against all sorts of cyberattacks.

“The Philippines is currently a cybercrime hotspot, underscoring the need to increase awareness and vigilance against the increasing prevalence of cybercrime in the country. The BAP, together with its partners, will work towards equipping Filipinos with the necessary information and tools they need to stop cybercriminals from harming the public and stealing their hard-earned money,” BAP president Wick Veloso said.

OpenGov Asia reported, the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Cybersecurity Bureau had recently announced a National Cyber Drill Exercise that will be taking place, aimed at raising public awareness about cybersecurity and measuring the public’s ability to protect themselves from cyber threats and cyberattacks.

The two-day exercise will involve several activities aimed at assessing and improving the incident response skills of participating organisations and individuals to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

The rapid advancement of information and communication technology (ICT) has affected every way of life dramatically. Critical functions of industries and industrial control systems are becoming increasingly reliant on these technologies. The National Cybersecurity Strategy Framework, developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology and its affiliated agency, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC), adapts to the new paradigm.

The Framework’s implementation will enable the adoption and implementation of Information Security Governance and Risk Management methodologies to be institutionalised. These internationally acknowledged standards will offer the government a rigorous and systematic approach to safeguarding the security of our mission-critical and non-critical information infrastructure. The government will form the National Computer Emergency Reaction Team to improve its capability and capacity for swift response and recovery (NCERT).


Image Credit: Pixabay.com

According to Airlangga Hartarto, the coordinating minister for Economic Affairs, the period of industrial revolution 4.0 necessitates a new generation that is creative, adaptable, and innovative. The Minister of Economic Affairs stated that the younger generation has a vital role to play in the development of the country’s economy.

Generation Z, aged 8 to 23, makes up most of Indonesia’s population, accounting for 27.94% of the overall population and having a high level of digital adoption and financial sector awareness. In the next 15 years, Indonesia’s demand for digital skills is expected to surpass nine million people. Furthermore, workers with digital skills have the potential to contribute Rp4,434 trillion to Indonesia’s GDP in 2030, accounting for 16% of the country’s overall GDP.

Young people, who are creative, adaptive, and innovative, must continue to be nurtured and developed to become competitive in entering the era of the industrial revolution 4.0 and the digital economy.

– Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs

Technology- and digitalisation-based industries are predicted to become the next engines of growth, necessitating skilled human resources and entrepreneurial technopreneurs. To get the most out of current circumstances, this potential must be combined with greater production and educational quality.

“The government hopes that this opportunity would be utilised by young people to optimise creativity and innovation, as well as to be an inspiration and explore their potential to improve their knowledge and skills,” Hartarto noted.

According to Dr Hary Budiarto, head of human resources research and development at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) is one of the government’s attempts to prepare and improve national digital talent.

The government, through the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, is engaging with all stakeholders to expand the digital talents development programme under the Digital Talent Scholarship, which synergises ideas.

The Minister claimed that by 2021, the government hopes to have produced 100,000 digital talent. Participants who complete the DTS programme would get certifications on a national and international level. According to him, the sector today has an urgent need for many qualified and skilled digital personnel to satisfy current and future demands. He added that Indonesia needs to develop 600,000 digital skills every year, with a goal of 9 million by 2030.

The ministry, therefore, is cooperating with various parties, including the technology company that will hold the Seeds for the Future 2021 again from November 8 to 15 for skilled and talented students from Indonesian universities. This year’s programme focuses on preparing digital talent for the changing trend in the future of work, particularly post-pandemic, and gives participants the opportunity to build worldwide networks, he noted.

OpenGov Asia reported, one part of the digital transformation roadmap that gets attention is the demand for digital talent. Minister Johnny remarked that Indonesia will require 9 million digital talents over the next 15 years to support the country’s digital transformation. According to World Bank research published in 2018, Indonesia would face a digital worker shortage of 9 million skilled and semi-skilled workers between 2015 and 2030.

This requirement comes from the rapid changes inflicted by the significant impact of the digital domain to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. Numerous jobs have been rated as the most in-demand in Indonesia. Artificial intelligence experts, Big Data Analytics specialists, process and Internet of Things specialists, digital marketing specialists and renewable energy technicians, data analysis specialists, digital transformation specialists, business management analysis specialists, and business development specialists are just some of the positions available.

According to the Minister of Communication and Information, fostering digital talent is especially important for those living in rural regions who want to learn how to use technology. The Ministry will offer a digital leadership academy at the higher levels, with the goal of shaping future leaders in the public and commercial sectors.

The New Normal after COVID-19 caused a massive change to our daily lives and fueled the developments of emerging technology applications. To address the post-pandemic trends, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) co-organised to present twelve technological achievements based on the topics in semiconductors, COVID-19 detection, and AI.

Since the signing of an MoU in 2005 between the two parties, both have taken turns every two years to host the joint symposium. The event provides a good opportunity for researchers to exchange opinions and explore mutually interesting topics to launch new collaborations. This can contribute to developing innovative technological solutions to take on new challenges in the post-pandemic era, such as digital transformation and the global chip shortage.

– Edwin Liu, ITRI President

ITRI has fostered entrepreneurship in the development of Taiwan’s industry in the post-pandemic era.  The Executive Officer of AIST then presented the fifth medium-to-long-term plan which started from 2020 to address solving social problems, an undertaking that calls for government, industry, research institutes and universities to collaborate.

Other than presenting the joint research achievements of ITRI and AIST, various labs from ITRI also shared their perspectives on advanced technologies in semiconductors, the detection of COVID-19, and AI technologies. These exchanges are expected to inspire innovative ideas, allowing both parties to have a good grasp on the technology needed in Taiwan and Japan.

As important research institutes of Taiwan and Japan, ITRI and AIST play crucial roles in delivering R&D results for industries. Both parties value and hold a high expectation for their strategic collaboration partnership. Based on the solid foundation established, it is believed that ITRI and AIST will continue to exchange industrial technology information and launch collaborative projects, while senior executives will pay reciprocal visits and bilateral seminars will be held on a regular basis. All these efforts will enhance business collaboration and create win-win opportunities for Taiwan and Japan.

ITRI is a world-leading applied technology research institute that has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan’s economy from a labour-intensive industry to a high-tech industry. Its mission is to drive industrial development, create economic value, and enhance social well-being through technology R&D. ITRI is also developing personalised devices and services, autonomous mobility systems, and smart industries and services for the Smart Living domain.

AIST is one of the largest public research organisations in Japan, focusing on the creation and practical realisation of technologies useful to Japanese industry and society, and on bridging the gap between innovative technological seeds and commercialisation. AIST is also actively building a global network by, for example, signing memorandums of understanding for comprehensive research cooperation (MOUs) with major research institutes around the world, such as ITRI.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, ITRI earlier partnered with a U.K. manufacturing and research company signed a cooperative research project on the development of next-gen compound semiconductors. This agreement will help develop a new industry chain for compound semiconductors in Taiwan to create new opportunities in the global market as well as complement the R&D capacities of both sides. ITRI and the U.K. manufacturing company began cooperation on precision testing analysis 15 years ago and have achieved excellent results in multiple fields

This collaboration will enhance the growth of the next-gen semiconductor supply chain in Taiwan, allowing research and development to be implemented in system integration and multidisciplinary innovation. This will further boost the industrial transformation and economic development of Taiwan. This collaboration in compound semiconductors will open the door to some really exciting advanced technologies including electric vehicles, 5G and other wireless technologies, and even the power converters on wind turbines.


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A local firm is launching its mobile platform which can be downloaded for free via the mobile app store to empower small businesses, freelancers and people with digital tools to assist them to manage their businesses.

The mobile app has four core functions at launch: real-time recording of sales and expenses with automated total profit calculation accounts payable transaction documentation with regular billing reminders and due dates sent to both customers and suppliers via messaging apps, separate bookkeeping for multiple businesses or branches, and enterprise-grade security for users’ business financial data.

In a survey of 300 microentrepreneurs conducted by the start-up, 64% still use traditional and manual methods to track income, expenses, and customer’s debts, while 26% are unable to track these at all. The app has processed more than P75 million in receivables, tracked debts, recorded transactions, and issued invoices to date.

“Helping Philippine MSMEs was advocacy close to my heart. Growing up, I saw the challenges my family endured in running a sari-sari store. I spent almost a year just talking to various MSMEs in the province and trying different ideas to help them grow. And that’s when I realised that the first thing to do to help them grow is through digitisation and replacing pen and paper with easy-to-use tech,” shared co-founder of the local startup.

Since its September launch, an average of P3,800 has been paid per user. The platform is funded by several investors that acknowledge that financial literacy and inclusion remain a major issue in the Philippines, with the main causes being a lack of appropriate tools and insufficient tracking.

In addition, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is relaunching its SETUP initiative as SETUP 4.0 to include industries in the Department’s priority areas. SETUP 4.0 will not only aid MSMEs in enduring the pandemic’s challenges but will also prepare them and their respective industries for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, which will be marked by the widespread adoption of emerging technologies such as automation, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Under SETUP 4.0, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, underscored “DOST’s interventions will not only benefit the individual firms. We will also be providing industry-level interventions, making sure that each industry under our priority sectors is following a set roadmap that is directed towards transitioning to the fourth industrial revolution.”

OpenGov Asia reported the vast majority of businesses in the Philippines are classified as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). While many people are still trying to find their place in the large market, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have made things more difficult for them. Brick-and-mortar stores are particularly hard hit, as they must now take their operations online to stay afloat.

Going digital and the complexities that come with it are one more problem that many MSMEs do not need. Particularly when they have other aspects of the business to focus on to gain market access and grow, such as funding, production, supply sourcing, and skill training. The Philippine telecommunications provider understands MSMEs’ needs and encourages them to invest in ICT solutions capable of meeting the digital demands of the next normal.

The telecommunications provider is prepared to provide MSMEs in retail, manufacturing, and logistics with cutting-edge ICT by enlisting the assistance of several of its most valuable business partners: a logistics firm that specialises in parcel collection and door-to-door delivery, one of the country’s leading e-commerce platforms, and another firm that assists businesses in exporting to new and exciting markets followed by a one-stop online shop for everything fashionable.

As digital technology and connectivity evolve, Indonesia, which is well known for having the world’s fastest growth in internet users, faces both huge opportunities and major risks. The nation has been on a digital transformation journey for some time and has made major strides in policy, infrastructure and programmes.

The pandemic has accelerated these plans and forced a rethink of strategies. Nonetheless, the public sector has done a credible job in going digital to continue citizen services and operation in a VUCA environment and in the face of ever-changing citizen expectations.

Part of the digital transformation that the Indonesian public sector has successfully implemented is the modern and remote workplace. Access to the latest technology and collaborative tools has helped public sector officials maintain their work productivity while ensuring optimal resource utilisation.

While the government has quickly adapted and come to terms with the new reality of remote working, there are numerous challenges that governments across the world face. Paradigm shifts in culture and thinking, policy, safety, infrastructure and skillsets are a few areas that need attention.

Additionally, the government must build a solid cyber security system to ensure that its digital infrastructure is secure, especially as machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing advancement continue to make these agencies more vulnerable to a range of cyber-attacks. The mounting security concerns require the implementation of an appropriate security plan that is both realistic and cost-effective eventually.

The focus of OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 17 November 2021 was on how a secure infrastructure within the public sector can be built for a digital and remote workforce. The was a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with senior digital executives from the Indonesian public sector.

Remote working as the mainstay of businesses, agencies, and organisations

Mohit Sagar: Strategising and planning for the future of work is vital

Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.

Remote working is here to stay and there is no escaping it, Mohit asserts. “The world has been forced to adapt to the new reality.”

Virtual culture has taken centre stage in the past two years of living with a pandemic and there is no turning back. What is pertinent for both the private and public sector is how they view technology. “Will technology be seen as an enabler or as a hindrance?”

As organisations find their footing in this new normal, the benefits of remote working should be acknowledged and harnessed. Working remotely can increase productivity, engagement and collaboration more effectively than in typical offices. However, with employees working from home on their devices, how can the security risks be mitigated?

For Mohit, that is a problem that can be resolved but should not be the reason to prevent the embracing of remote working. Security, like all other endeavours, is a risk. Risks come with every decision that is made because nothing is 100% certain, there is always an element of the unknown.

He urged delegates to not “hide behind security” as the reason not to modernise. Precisely because it is inevitable, organisations need to “understand it and plan for it.”

Developing a virtual culture is no longer an option but a necessity that entails intentional thought in several key areas:

  • Building team communication and working relationships
  • Emphasising the importance of employee contribution to a strong team culture to business success
  • Encouraging collaboration
  • Scheduling regular catchups and informal meetings
  • Asking people to create meeting content with a clear agenda and context

Governments around the world are adopting quickly to a remote working model. The aspects to consider include strategising ways to increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and culture, harnessing more possibilities for continuous learning, fostering better collaboration and work relationships and improved mental health.

Hybrid is the future, Mohit believes, and the focus should be on what plans and technology are needed for the secure development of a hybrid workplace. To be effective strategy and platforms must have constructive synergy.

Mohit advises delegates to work with partners and is firmly convinced that the transformation need not be done alone. Partners bring a wealth of expertise and experience that will make the journey far easier to manage and navigate.

Staying secure in the “new normal” of remote working

Garry Ng: Securing the remote workforce is vital to sustainable operations

Garry Ng, Asia-Pacific Director, Lenovo, elaborated on Lenovo’s secure solutions for remote workforces.

“Cybersecurity is harder than ever,” Garry opines. “With a wide cyber surface and more access points, the exposure is magnified. Attacks have been on the rise year on year.”

Government institutions are common targets because of the sheer amount of data they collect and store, the vast and diverse networks they maintain and the massive employee base.

By the very nature of the service they offer and the history they need to have of citizens, they have complex, linked personal data sets – a goldmine for cybercriminals. Further, the distributed workforce and the variety of devices that end-users utilise to access services and digital offerings, make security even more difficult to manage.

Attacks are so fast, so often and so sophisticated that most are never even noticed by IT departments until they are long done.

Garry feels that a distributed and remote workforce is fast becoming the norm. Since 2020, many people started working from home and it seems unlikely that returning to the office full-time will happen. With a VUCA future, many businesses will retain the current status quo, having only necessary employees in the office or using some version of a rotating workforce.

With this remote working situation, organisations have to (and had to) provide devices for their staff. However, each of these devices could be vulnerable to attacks. That is the single most difficult thing to trace, he says.

IT departments are losing control of the devices because there is no clarity on where devices are actually being deployed or used. They have no idea if data is being downloaded from devices. Do organisations know if /when devices are lost, attacked or compromised?

“Against that backdrop, how can organisations protect their employees outside of a safe (office) infrastructure? How can organisations manage devices and networks, patch them and make sure they are secure?” he asks.

For Garry, a robust plan to manage and secure devices outside the office is the key. This includes:

  • Endpoint security
  • Device and application control
  • Device management
  • Data protection in case of theft/loss
  • Mobile threat detection – across both mobile and PC devices
Credits: Garry Ng

With the fundamental shifts in IT structure from perimeter-based network to perimeter-less network, the attack surface has also changed from having every in-network device that links with the outside world to having every endpoint at unknown networks and devices. Consequently, the security focus has changed from filtering, monitoring and restricting network inflow and outflow, to protecting, managing and servicing every endpoint.

The problem has changed, especially for the government, he believes. Cybercriminals know that both risk and reward are high when it comes to governmental institutions. They will attack the most well-known, hard to protect vulnerabilities in the system – parts and pieces that have not even entered the system yet – and inject themselves as “amicable” parts of the system (such as firmware, BIOS, HW, OS, common applications, etc.).

What is clear is that this shift from a closed-protect network to an open-distributed network has happened and is expected to only accelerate in the future. As such, cybersecurity solution needs to be applied to the entire lifecycle of every piece of the system.

Garry acknowledges remote work is here to stay and that organisations need to be committed to tackling the challenges of security in this new model. He reiterated that the solution is not one-size-fits-all because every organisation is different. There is, therefore, a need to tailor-make or, at the very least, tweak solutions for each organisation.

Lenovo’s end-to-end security offers OS-to-Cloud security, below-the-OS security and supply chain security that can provide safety for organisations pivoting to the new reality of work.

Pivoting to remote working as the “new normal”

Setiaji: The future of secure remote working for Indonesia public sector

Setiaji, Chief of Digital Transformation Officer, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, spoke next on strategies Indonesia’s public sector have taken when implementing remote working.

“We are faced with the new normal,” Setiaji concedes. “With employees working away from the office, the nature of activities that employees engage in has also changed – remote Access, Video Conference, Digital Signature, Office Online Tools, Emails, Voice Calls.”

Work-from-home or remote working means managing the accompanying issues of data security, connectivity, digital literacy and deploying effective working tools. The trend towards greater digital dependency will only rise, he contends. As it stands, there are more than 170M internet users currently and they are only set to grow.

What is concerning, is that the more than 811 million cyber-attacks that took place between January to August this year alone – the most being malware, trojans and information leaks.

He acknowledged that these challenges in security ought to be confronted, not swept away or trivialised. Against that backdrop, what should organisations be doing?

For Setiaji, the key is to adopt collaborative tools so that employees will be able to work from home anytime, anywhere, from any device over a web browser. They must also be more efficiently supported and better secured.

In the end, in an increasingly digital landscape, technology is here to stay and will be foundational to any strategy. Organisations need to embrace technology to survive, thrive and stay relevant.

Interactive Discussion

After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.

In the first poll, delegates were asked about challenges they face when the remote work concept was initiated in their ministry or department. Most delegates (40%) expressed that a lack of focus and productivity was an issue followed by security (30%) and poor communication (20%).

Delegates expressed concern about work culture and productivity as it is difficult to know what employees are doing.

Mohit agrees that this was an initial challenge but, for the most part, has been overcome using the tools available in the market. Combined with solid SOPs, appropriate accountability measures and performance metrics, these early setbacks were laid to rest.

“The rest of the world is using the pandemic as a catalyst for change,” Mohit observes. “The private sector has pivoted and government institutions need to follow;  if not, their employees will begin to work for people who will give them what they want.”

When asked which virtual working method their ministry is planning to implement after this pandemic to embrace digital transformation in remote working, an overwhelming majority of the delegates voted in favour of a hybrid working model (74%). The rest of the delegates indicated a physical working model (26%).

Mohit believes that the minority who want to move back to a physical space may well get what they want because that is the easier, more familiar model. Organisations may want to hide behind the excuse of “security”’ to bring back the old, but that is not forward-thinking, he contends.

“Moving backwards is easy, but the future is not behind us; the future is ahead.”

Some organisations are at a crossroads, looking to make a hybrid work sustainable – and this is an inevitable journey, Mohit assures the delegates. If there is good productivity in the current model of hybrid work, it is important to leverage that. If safety is an issue, then work with partners that can help to keep data secure.

Concerning nervousness around security, Garry points out that it is a fine balance between the security organisations want to have and productivity. The moment it frustrates and affects productivity, it becomes a problem, he firmly believes.

The world is in the thick of the digital revolution, says Mohit. People can work from anywhere anytime. We only need to change the culture and the perspective. It is much the same as cloud adoption; people eventually overcame their initial nervousness and is now a preferred option.

“Like there are the options of private cloud, public cloud and multi-hybrid cloud, organisations need to move into a ‘multi-hybrid work capability’,” Mohit is convinced.

The next poll asked delegates to indicate challenges they face in managing the data on the cloud in the context of employees working remotely. A huge majority indicated that control or governance is the main challenge (73%). The rest of the votes were split between lack of expertise (11%), multiple cloud management (11%) and cost management (5%).

When asked about the importance of cybersecurity practices in remote workspaces, most delegates indicated that it is extremely important (81%) followed by important (19%).

Mohit emphasised that cybersecurity is an outside defence perimeter that is a “must-have,” just as “cloud is a must-have.” The key to managing this inevitable future is to pre-empt it with good policy and governance.

On whether delegates have a solid cyber security system to ensure that the digital infrastructure is secure, most delegates indicated that their ministry has a moderate security system (53%), followed by delegates who felt that their ministry has a solid cybersecurity system (43%).

A delegate pointed out that cyber threat is always evolving. The question of security is a conversation that never ends. The best thing to do is to constantly monitor, test fresh solutions, review and employ innovative technologies.

The final poll inquired what delegates thought is the step to be taken to keep the focus on cybersecurity while working remotely. Most delegates (42%) felt installing and updating anti-virus was key, followed by avoiding clicking on suspicious links (36%). The remaining delegates were split between others (11%) and keeping work and home devices separate (11%).

Mohit opined that cybersecurity is about doing all the above; it is much bigger than can be imagined –  people have to do everything.

Conclusion

Wrapping up the session, Garry emphasised the importance of recognising the new challenges in remote working. The drive towards the next digital wave must be done securely and cost-effectively in a flexible digital environment.

He encouraged delegates to consider the cost of compromise when it came to adopting technologies to cope with the future of work.

Before bringing the session to an end, Garry thanked everyone for their participation and the robust discussions. He encouraged the delegates to keep the conversations about data security alive and to connect with him and the team if they would like to explore how Lenovo could help in their journey.


Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Over the next three years, 1,000 local businesses will receive support in their digital transformation efforts, including access to technology and training partners, the development of new capabilities, and job redesign.

JTC Corporation recently developed the Industry Connect Office located at Jurong Innovation District (JID) as a one-stop shop to assist more manufacturers, particularly local small and medium-sized businesses, in accelerating their transformation. Companies can learn more about Industry 4.0 – the digital transformation of manufacturing and production processes – at the new office, according to JTC, through sharing sessions and seminars. To adopt new technologies and upskill their employees, 300 of the 1,000 enterprises targeted are expected to undertake diagnostics, consulting, and training services.

The location of the office in JID, which is an advanced manufacturing ecosystem comprising research institutions, technology and training enablers, and future factories, will also benefit these companies, according to JTC.

“With this office, companies will be able to have access to one-stop assistance to start, scale and sustain their Industry 4.0 transformation.”

Manufacturing is an essential sector for Singapore, according to Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who spoke during the opening of the new headquarters on Tuesday. It accounts for roughly 20% of the Republic’s total domestic product (GDP). The industry employed 450,000 workers last year. While Singapore’s real GDP fell by 5.4% in the same year, the manufacturing sector increased by 7.3%.

“Manufacturing also helps to generate additional economic activity as investors extend out to perform research and development and headquarters activities such as supply chain management here in Singapore,” Mr Gan continued, describing the sector as resilient. According to him, the opening of the Industry Connect Office is a significant step forward in our Industry 4.0 transformation.

At the new Industry Connect Office, JTC will collaborate with the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy (AMTA) to provide consulting and advisory services on Industry 4.0 skills and training. “Companies that are keen to further their Industry 4.0 ambitions will be matched with technology and training partners to identify their problem statements, pinpoint suitable solutions, and participate in upskilling programmes,” JTC said.

The Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative will help enterprises adopt and expand their Industry 4.0 solutions as part of the Industry Connect Office’s outreach initiatives. They can, for example, identify the best partners to assist organisations in implementing customised solutions and training, upskilling, or reskilling their employees.

Workforce Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation have collaborated on the Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative. Tan Boon Khai, JTC’s chief executive, said his company wants to assist more businesses in Singapore and the region embrace digitalisation and seizing new growth prospects.

“The new collaboration with Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy (AMTA) will strengthen our network of Industry 4.0 partners and serves as a significant milestone to drive the next phase of business transformation,” he noted. Mr Lee Kok Choy, who is AMTA chairman, added, “To strengthen Singapore’s competitiveness in manufacturing, we have to embrace Industry 4.0 leading to advanced manufacturing.”

OpenGov Asia reported Singapore has left a true mark of success over the last few decades and is recognised around the world as one of the leading financial hubs with a thriving digital economy, successful commodity trading practices, and more. It is evident that the industrial realm in Singapore is playing a specific role and proactively generating productive results to support this cause.

Industrially, IIoT (Industrial IoT) and Automation technologies have paved the way for the establishment of Smart Factories in Industry 4.0 – where the physical and digital worlds come into contact. Despite the fact that technological advancements have greatly improved living standards, we will focus on how Singapore dreamt of industrial development and how they prepared to make their dreams a reality.

Singapore’s national research agency has established a new lab in collaboration with a local manufacturing software company to assist manufacturers in strengthening their Industry 4.0 capabilities. The S$ 18m lab, set up by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Singapore’s local manufacturing company, will imbue the latter’s manufacturing execution systems with artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) capabilities.

Bipartisan members of the house recently introduced legislation that would require the government to drastically modernise the United States’ digital identity infrastructure. This bill establishes the Improving Digital Identity Task Force to establish a government-wide effort to develop secure methods for governmental agencies to validate identity attributes to protect the privacy and security of individuals and support reliable, interoperable digital identity verification in the public and private sectors.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shall develop and periodically update a framework of standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes as a guide for federal, state, and local governments to follow when providing services to support digital identity verification. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall award grants to states to upgrade systems that provide drivers’ licenses or other types of identity credentials to support the development of highly secure, interoperable state systems that enable digital identity verification.

At the same time, lawmakers are calling on the Office of Management and Budget to examine the feasibility of a federal governmentwide digital identity verification system. A draft version of the Senate infrastructure bill, included $500 million for the Department of Labour to institute a grant fund to supply states with digital identity proofing tools that are compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to combat fraud in unemployment insurance benefits.

These efforts are long overdue. Unfortunately, the absence of secure, accessible, interoperable digital credentials increases security vulnerabilities, encourages online fraud and inhibits the expansion of digital public services. As agencies await federal guidance and standards, here are three things they can do now to ramp up their safeguards and begin to fix the nation’s “lagging” digital verification system.

If account credentials — such as a username, email address and password – are breached, federal IT administrators must know as soon as possible. Widely available on the dark web, credentials are one of the most sought-after data types by hackers

When a single email account is compromised or taken over, a hacker can access sensitive data, initiate social engineering attacks, propagate spam and malware and move laterally across an agency network. And, because most people use the same credentials for multiple systems, threat actors can easily use the same username and password to breach mission-critical applications. To stay one step ahead of credentials leaks, agencies must continuously monitor their email domains for exposure.

Enforce agency-wide access controls

Protecting every network endpoint with a digital verification mechanism would seem a logical approach to safeguarding federal systems. However, a lack of resources, funds and time means tools such as multifactor authentication are often reserved for critical entry points. But as the network perimeter widens and digital ecosystems expand to include cloud-hosted data, applications and services, agencies must prioritise checks and balances to ensure users can prove their identity.

Agencies can also better secure their growing network perimeter and cloud-based applications by layering in emerging technologies like secure access service edge. SASE is a cloud service that converges security and network technologies into a single platform. Taking a zero-trust approach, SASE prevents unauthorised access by layering security on top of the network. Using defined policies, SASE dynamically approves or denies access, eliminating the need for multiple point security technologies.

Focus on public-private partnerships

Building the government’s digital ID infrastructure also requires a collective effort. As malicious actors increasingly look to take advantage of the nation’s digital dependencies, a successful defence will require enhanced levels of public-private partnership.

This collective defence approach is being encouraged by The White House with Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity calls for the private sector to partner with the Federal Government to foster more secure cyberspace. What this partnership will look like is to be determined, but the executive order is an important step toward achieving a collective defence posture.

To sum up, let's not forget that camDown helps make you invisible to hackers and guard your personal data.