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ADEX: Singapore’s Secure Data Exchange

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The effectiveness of GovTech’s Asynchronous Data Exchange (ADEX) in enabling the safe transmission and reception of real-time, lightweight data for both Whole-of-Government (WOG) and local businesses has been recognised on a worldwide scale. API Exchange (APEX) and Cloud File Transfer (CFT) are other important elements of the Communications Pillar of the Singapore Government Tech Stack (SGTS), which also includes ADEX.

The Sensor Data Exchange (SDX), which was later merged into the Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP), was the original name of ADEX. It has since changed, though, to facilitate the sharing of both sensor and non-sensor data. In this context, processed sensor data, such as raw sensor data that has undergone processing and analysis, may be considered non-sensor data.

ADEX makes it easier to find and share event data over the Internet and Intranet, including real-time status updates and event streams. Publishers have the freedom to choose who receives these updates, while subscribers receive them immediately when the events are published.

Data up to the “restricted” classification level can be shared via the Government on Commercial Cloud (GCC)-deployed ADEX system without being considered sensitive. Through a self-service portal on the Internet and Intranet of the GCC, it enables government agencies to post and subscribe to real-time data.

The ADEX team has determined that the most frequent and pervasive security issues for an event streaming platform are “Insider Threats” and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) assaults. When a user improperly or unintentionally uses the platform, insider risks become a problem.

The team put multi-factor authentication and role-based policies in place to lessen this risk. To further guard against DDoS assaults disrupting the system, they have defined utilisation threshold limits and continually monitor them.

To guarantee that users have accurate control over the data stream access, user profiles must be maintained properly.

The platform uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) channels for communication and is compatible with widely used data protocols. To guarantee that users have accurate control over the data stream access, user profiles must be maintained properly.

The ADEX team highlights how important it is to examine the immediately accessible data, confirm the source of the data, and comprehend where and how the data is extracted in addition to the information, such as descriptions and tags, provided by the data source. It is crucial to employ validations to make sure the data is secure and to be watchful for problems when consuming the data.

As with any other sort of platform, it is crucial to include secure user passwords, multi-factor authentication, and reliable encryption solutions for data in transit and at rest. Users must routinely update their software and systems with the most recent security patches and updates to protect themselves from exploitable flaws. They should also follow accepted security procedures and implement as many security measures as their finances would allow.

The group looked at the differences between APEX and ADEX. They disclosed that APEX is an API platform created for centralised, secure government service access that largely uses HTTP REST to make this access possible.

Although ADEX is the government’s centralised event data exchange, it provides more freedom in how government institutions transmit real-time data. It makes it easier to find and subscribe to real-time data from various sources. Additionally, an approval procedure gives data access more precise control by guaranteeing that only approved people may view data.

The team gains from using analytics since they must examine usage numbers and patterns for messaging, which enables them to continuously enhance the system’s functionality and better serve users. They may make wise decisions and gradually improve ADEX by gathering knowledge of system performance and user needs.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) can exchange vital environmental information with stakeholders through ADEX, which is now functioning and serving the needs of numerous government entities. By making updated environmental data like rainfall, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction available to the public, NEA can increase stakeholder participation and information distribution.

It takes persistence and time to create and foster a collaborative culture within government organisations. Although agencies are experts in their fields, it’s possible that they are not aware of the ways in which their data might benefit other agencies.

The team is hopeful that agencies will be open to sharing their data on ADEX, enabling other agencies to independently scout the market and find new prospects. Public organisations may improve their overall operations and service delivery, make better judgements, and respond to emergencies more skillfully with real-time access to reliable data.


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