February 25, 2024

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Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính emphasised the need for public security agencies to adopt a proactive approach to understanding and forecasting situations to prevent unforeseen challenges related to strategy, political security, and social order and safety in 2024. This call to action came during the 79th Conference of Public Security convened by the Central Public Security Party Committee and the Ministry of Public Security.

Image credits: VNA/VNS

In his remarks, PM Chính commended the achievements of the People’s Public Security forces, highlighting their contribution to administrative reform, e-government initiatives, and national digital transformation, underscoring the sector’s pivotal role in these endeavours.

The Prime Minister called for continued administrative reforms, adequate resource allocation, and investment in infrastructure and frontline forces within the public security sector.

In line with this, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed a directive demanding stricter adherence to information security regulations and enhanced level-based information system security measures. The directive underscored the critical role of level-based information system security, emphasising its alignment with the existing Law on Cybersecurity.

The PM asked ministers, heads of ministerial-level and Government agencies, Chairpersons of the centrally-run municipal and provincial People’s Committees, Chairs of the Boards of Directors and Members’ Councils, General Directors of State-owned corporations, groups, commercial State-owned banks, the Vietnam Development Bank, the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, the Cooperative Bank of Vietnam and other State-owned credit and financial institutions nationwide to take direct responsibility for information security in their respective agencies or localities.

Under the directive, they were assigned to ensure that all operational information systems, ranging from level 1 to level 5, receive proper security clearance no later than this September. They would be held accountable to the PM and the law should any breaches or security incidents occur within their purview.

The Ministry of Information and Communications was tasked with issuing and disseminating a handbook on compliance with legal regulations and strengthening information system security according to the level. At the same time, it must strengthen inspection and examine compliance with information security regulations.

Other specific tasks were also assigned to IT security companies, telecom and Internet providers.

Vietnam has demonstrated successful cybersecurity initiatives, bolstering its digital resilience and safeguarding against cyber threats. OpenGov Asia reported that the country’s recent strides in cybersecurity have yielded promising results, with January witnessing a notable 33% decrease in cyberattacks compared to the previous month of December 2023.

This decline, coupled with a 23% decrease from the same period in the previous year, reflects the effectiveness of ongoing efforts by various agencies and units to bolster cyber safety and security across the nation’s information systems.

Notably, these initiatives have entailed increased investments in advanced monitoring systems, proactive problem-detection mechanisms, and robust warning systems, demonstrating a proactive approach to safeguarding against digital threats.

Despite these positive developments, information security experts continue to stress the imperative for agencies, organisations, and businesses to remain vigilant and proactive in ensuring information security.

Authorities advise comprehensive reviews and examinations of sensitive server devices before major holidays or campaigns, aiming to swiftly identify and eradicate any signs of potential attacks or malicious code, thus fortifying defences ahead of potential cyber onslaughts.

Moreover, as technology evolves, cybercriminals adapt their tactics accordingly, posing an ongoing challenge for both individuals and organisations. Essential cybersecurity practices, including maintaining cyber hygiene, regularly updating antivirus software, and educating users about potential risks, remain paramount.

By fostering a culture of proactive defence and continuous improvement, Vietnam endeavours to stay ahead of emerging threats, safeguarding critical data, infrastructure, and the overall stability of its digital ecosystem in an ever-evolving cyber landscape.

Amidst the swiftly evolving technological landscape, Malaysia stands at the forefront of a dynamic and transformative era. With a forward-looking approach spanning sectors such as banking, healthcare, and education, the country has embraced innovation through six pivotal measures to propel its digital advancement.

These include enhancing cybersecurity, facilitating digital transformation, advocating for digital literacy, promoting innovation and research, undertaking e-government transformation, and fostering digital entrepreneurship and startup initiatives.

Malaysia is strategically focused on catalysing digital transformation in the public sector, enhancing economic competitiveness through digitalisation, and building robust digital infrastructure. Additionally, the nation is committed to preparing a skilled workforce for the digital age, fostering inclusivity in the digital society, and establishing a secure and ethical digital environment. Through these initiatives, Malaysia aims to assert itself as a leader in the global digital arena.

Leveraging a unified platform for digital transformation offers organisations numerous advantages, fundamentally reshaping operations and fostering innovation. Key benefits include increased productivity and enhanced visibility. By embracing an integrated platform that minimises redundancy, streamlines manual efforts, and amplifies automation, teams can prioritise strategic initiatives over routine tasks.

Furthermore, integrating AIOps with machine learning is a powerful technique for optimising the management of enterprise-distributed settings. The fusion of AIOps and ML enables organisations to cultivate a more adaptable and agile IT environment, ensuring operational excellence amid the evolving dynamics inherent in distributed systems.

Enhanced observability significantly improves operational efficiency by empowering organisations to streamline processes, reduce downtime, and rationalise operations through a comprehensive understanding of system behaviours and potential areas for enhancement.

Observability is also crucial for cybersecurity compliance, offering quick threat detection and real-time monitoring. It enables prompt threat identification and proactive responses by analysing network traffic, records, and user actions.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the imperative for observability has become more critical than ever. Organisations must adhere to regulatory compliance, elevate customer and citizen experiences, enhance operational efficiency, and fortify security measures.

Enterprises must integrate on-premises and cloud technologies for improved visibility in today’s tech-driven environment. This integration enables businesses to monitor digital operations, discover performance issues, manage resources, and predict challenges with deep visibility.

AI/ML significantly improves IT resource management and operations in hybrid cloud environments by addressing issues like tool sprawl and resource constraints. This enables IT professionals to prioritise client experience, potentially boosting revenue through enhanced client satisfaction and loyalty.

AI/ML is crucial in swiftly identifying and resolving issues, reducing remediation time, and optimising value delivery in dynamic hybrid cloud environments. Integrating AI and ML enhances operational efficiency, empowering organisations to prioritise customer-centric activities, leading to positive outcomes and potential revenue growth.

The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 23 February 2024 at Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara delved into the dynamics of the transformative epoch and the potential of AIOps in enhancing IT management.

This gathering convened various experts in Malaysia, fostering the exchange of experiences and the generation of innovative ideas for future strategies to empower IT executives to proactively identify and resolve potential issues, minimising disruptions to critical services.

Opening Remarks

Mohit Sagar∶ Organisations that employ observability are better positioned to improve user experiences and encourage a culture of continuous improvement

Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session by extending a warm welcome to all attendees. He expressed gratitude to both the attendees and panellists for their active participation, acknowledging their role as catalysts for change in the future digital transformation era.

Mohit then encouraged participants to share their real-world experiences of integrating AIOps into their organisations, fostering meaningful dialogue and exchanging insights on its impact on their journeys.

“As many of you have incorporated observability and artificial intelligence (AIOps) into your organisations, I request you to share your real-world experiences and their impact on your digital transformation journey,” Mohit asked.

“Integrating AIOps has been a game-changer for us. The predictive analytics and automated response capabilities have significantly reduced our mean time to resolution,” said a representative from a technology company. “It is not just about fixing issues faster but also about identifying and addressing potential problems before they impact our operations. This proactive approach has saved us both time and resources.”

Mohit considered observability in today’s world an important component, providing a framework for this progress and an in-depth knowledge of the intricacy of digital systems. Businesses can acquire real-time insights into their digital operations by utilising tracking and data collection solutions, allowing for proactive issue identification and resolution and making it more efficient in operating its system.

“In today’s world of rapid technology breakthroughs, Digital Evolution through Observability offers a long-term strategy to promote organisational growth and innovation,” Mohit said. “However, the shift toward observability is more than periodic troubleshooting; it represents a broader transformational journey.”

Organisations that employ observability are better positioned to optimise efficiency, improve user experiences and encourage a culture of continuous improvement. In essence, Digital Evolution through Observability highlights the nature of staying ahead in the digital age by embracing a proactive and adaptive approach based on full system visibility.

Malaysia has embraced a strategy that underscores the rapid adoption of digital technology across all sectors of the economy. The government actively invests in developing digital skills, innovative ecosystems, and infrastructure in collaboration with private businesses.

Mohit believed Malaysia must have a system that navigates seamlessly through the dynamics of digital transformation and advocates for the adoption of observability and AIOps as the solution.

“Public and private sector organisations can modernise their IT systems using AIOps. Real-time monitoring of data sources is made possible by observability, which ensures that information will be accessible when needed,” he asserts “It ensures that services can rely on accurate information by assisting in the identification and resolution of problems with data availability, quality, and system integrations.”

Mohit shares that observability and AIOps also help to discover areas for process automation, resource optimisation, and service level enhancements – all of which lead to more effective and efficient services. It can lead to a significant improvement in overall operational efficiency.

“By proactively addressing performance concerns through observability and AIOps, organisations can identify and rectify potential issues before they escalate and ensure a seamless experience,” Mohit explains. “This approach leads to quicker response times, allowing teams to swiftly anticipate and address challenges, resulting in an enhanced user experience with minimal disruptions and efficient, reliable service delivery.”

Welcome Address

Bharat Bedi∶ AI incorporation can minimise reliance on speculation and avoid simple errors and confusion

Bharat Bedi, Managing Director for Asia Pacific & Japan at SolarWinds Inc., stressed that ” artificial intelligence is all-encompassing,” highlighting the transformative influence of AI on the future of technology and its significant impact across diverse industries.

He explored the importance of AI-driven solutions, emphasising their role in revolutionising processes, fostering innovation, and reshaping the landscape of the Asia Pacific & Japan region.

“Investing your energy and efforts in strategic endeavours is more crucial than engaging in repetitive tasks, which lack productivity,” Bedi believes, “In today’s dynamic business environment, leveraging AI is essential. AI-driven solutions not only streamline processes but also pave the way for innovation in new frontiers.”

Bharat urged the audience to recognise AI as a fundamental element for future success in the region, playing a crucial role in efficient resource allocation, promoting innovation, and maintaining a competitive edge in a swiftly evolving business environment.

SolarWinds has improved its monitoring and observability products by integrating advanced AI capabilities. This ensures that customers no longer need to spend excessive time reviewing logs, monitoring performance metrics, or addressing disruptive, low-value alerts.

Their tools autonomously detect anomalies and uncommon patterns amidst the extensive stream of constantly generated data. This empowers customers to focus on tasks delivering significant value to their organisations.

Bedi shared that SolarWinds can provide comprehensive solutions to help organisations enhance system efficiency.

  1. SolarWinds Observability: Provides integrated and extensive visibility for cloud-native, on-premises, and hybrid custom and commercial applications, ensuring optimal service levels and user satisfaction with critical business services.
  2. IT Service Management: Aids in streamlining help desk ticketing, managing IT assets, and supporting end-users.
  3. IT Security Management Tools: Tailored solutions geared towards achieving quicker time-to-value, assisting organisations in maintaining a secure operating environment without needing a fully established security operations centre (SOC).
  4. Database Management: The database solutions aid in overseeing, analysing, diagnosing, and enhancing both database performance and data operations essential for driving critical business applications. They also seamlessly integrate on-premises and cloud database visibility, control, and management across various vendors.

“The current goal is extracting valuable business insights from data to enhance data-driven decision-making, all while minimising reliance on speculation and avoiding misleading leads,” Bedi concluded. “And overcoming this challenge is notably more feasible with the incorporation of AI.”

Power Talk

To stay competitive amidst the rapid shifts in today’s technology landscape, organisations must possess the capability to adapt and evolve. An integral component of effective change management involves ensuring observability and visibility across many domains, spanning infrastructure, applications, IT operations, and data.

A meticulously integrated observability strategy empowers IT professionals to pinpoint the root causes of issues, enhance performance, and make informed decisions that align with business objectives. Moreover, it facilitates seamless collaboration between development and operations teams, cultivating a culture of ongoing enhancement.

Jacky Cheong∶ Cloud services offer features that can enhance data visibility and control

Jacky Cheong, Head of Enterprise, Data Governance (EDG) at CelcomDigi Berhad, emphasises that maintaining robust data governance practices is paramount for organisations in today’s data-driven landscape, and leveraging the scalability and flexibility of cloud services can be instrumental in achieving this goal.

“Cloud services offer a range of features that can enhance data visibility and control, including robust access controls, comprehensive audit trails, and sophisticated encryption protocols,” he says. “By leveraging these capabilities, organisations can effectively monitor and manage their data, tracking who accesses it and how it is utilised.”

Jacky illustrated his point by sharing that cloud providers frequently furnish user-friendly tools allowing organisations to monitor and oversee their data in real-time, thereby ensuring its security and compliance with regulations. This increased visibility empowers organisations to preemptively detect and resolve potential data process issues, mitigating risks and upholding data integrity and dependability.

Moreover, cloud-based data analytics tools can be invaluable in monitoring data quality and flagging anomalies or errors as they occur. This capability enables organisations to take prompt corrective action, ensuring the data remains accurate and trustworthy for informed decision-making.

“Cloud services often include robust disaster recovery and backup solutions, ensuring that data remains available and reliable despite unforeseen events. This can be particularly beneficial for organisations seeking to mitigate the risk of data loss or downtime,” he elaborated.

Vincent Leo∶ Observability helps DevOps teams quickly detect and respond to security incidents meticulously

Vincent Leo, Head of Digital Initiative Studio (IT) at Plus Malaysia Berhad, agrees that observability plays a pivotal role in shaping the customer experience within digital environments, and it offers comprehensive insights into the performance of applications and infrastructure. This visibility empowers organisations to proactively identify and resolve issues, ensuring a reliable and seamless customer journey.

For instance, real-time anomaly detection facilitated by observability enables organisations to rectify errors swiftly before they impact decision-making processes. However, achieving such seamless observability comes with challenges, including the intricate nature of modern applications and the imperative of a cohesive approach between DevOps and security teams.

Vincent acknowledges that security is a paramount concern in digital and cloud realms, given the looming risks of data breaches, financial fraud, ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. Observability can substantially enhance security postures by furnishing a holistic view of the customer’s digital journey, fortifying customer data protection, and actively thwarting malicious attacks.

Through meticulous data collection and analysis across every system, application, and infrastructure component, observability enables DevOps teams to promptly detect and respond to security incidents at any juncture during the customer journey. Integrating automated testing tools further assures quality maintenance across the entire customer experience development lifecycle.

Nonetheless, he also expressed apprehension that for organisations to harness observability optimally, they must guarantee that data is not solely accessible and precise but also analysed promptly. This instantaneous analysis is pivotal in delivering the necessary level of observability to improve customer experience and reinforce security measures.

Bharat Bedi∶ Organisations can leverage tools and technologies to achieve visibility throughout their IT business

Bharat Bedi, Managing Director of Asia Pacific & Japan at SolarWinds Inc., explained that organisations could proactively align their observability and visibility strategies to effectively manage and navigate change, especially in the context of evolving IT operations and cloud environments, by adopting several key practices.

Firstly, organisations should prioritise establishing a unified approach to observability, ensuring that all relevant teams have access to the same tools and data. This can help streamline communication and collaboration, enabling teams to identify and address issues as they arise quickly.

Additionally, they should invest in technologies that provide comprehensive visibility across their entire IT landscape, including cloud services, hybrid environments and on-premises infrastructure. This holistic approach can help organisations better understand their IT ecosystem, allowing them to make more informed decisions and better manage change.

Organisations can leverage tools and technologies to achieve visibility throughout their IT business. This may include deploying monitoring solutions that provide real-time insights into their IT systems’ performance and implementing analytics tools to help identify trends and patterns in their data.

Moreover, organisations should focus on data integration and interoperability, ensuring their various IT systems can communicate and share data effectively. By adopting these practices, organisations can gain a more comprehensive view of their IT business, enabling them to manage change better and drive productivity gains.

Bharat is convinced that organisations can achieve productivity gains through observability by embracing automation and machine intelligence and eliminating organisational. Automation can streamline repetitive tasks and processes, freeing time for IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

“Machine intelligence can help organisations make sense of the vast amounts of data generated by their IT systems, enabling them to identify patterns and trends that may not be apparent to human analysts,” he opines. “By breaking down organisational styles and fostering a culture of collaboration, organisations can ensure that their IT teams work together towards common goals rather than in isolation.”

Closing Remarks

Bharat expressed gratitude to the participants actively engaged in discussions on this topic, acknowledging their valuable contributions and perspectives that significantly enriched the dialogue. Their enthusiastic participation fostered a productive and practical environment, while their collaborative spirit enhanced collective understanding, providing valuable insights to lay the foundation for future steps in Malaysia.

Bharat reiterated that AIOps, with its artificial intelligence, has the potential to optimise system monitoring and detect anomalies more quickly and accurately. Concurrently, observability, which centres on a thorough comprehension of systems and applications, furnishes a holistic and comprehensive perspective of the entire IT environment.

Amidst the intricacies of the present technological landscape, the significance of integrating AIOps and observability becomes more pertinent. A good understanding of the interconnection between these two tools can serve as a strong foundation for improving operational performance and efficiency.

“We know that cyberattack is possible to occur anytime, and I believe AI will be the solution for it,” Bharat believes. “By harnessing observability, organisations can identify potential issues earlier, reduce downtime, and enhance the user experience.”

Observability, with its focus on gaining in-depth insights into the functioning of systems and applications, becomes a crucial tool in maintaining operational efficiency. Its capability to identify and analyse real-time patterns empowers organisations to proactively address issues, fostering enhanced system reliability and minimising disruptions.

Bharat was delighted that the forum had provided valuable food for thought and ideas for participants from both the private and public sectors. He remains optimistic about the continuity of this constructive spirit, anticipating ongoing engagement and the exchange of innovative ideas in future OpenGov Breakfast Insights.

“It is truly an honour to be among such incredible folks, all united by a common vision and mission in digital transformation preparedness,” Bedi said. “I am confident the insights we have gathered during this forum can seamlessly translate into practical implementation within our respective spheres.”

In combatting cyberattacks, standing alone in one nation is not enough. Cyber threats originate from diverse sources, including criminal groups, state-sponsored actors, and non-state actors. Many of these threats are transnational, meaning they cannot be effectively addressed by a single country acting independently.

Collaboration among nations helps to enhance situational awareness, share best practices, and foster joint responses to cyber threats. By pooling resources and expertise, countries can better defend themselves against sophisticated adversaries and minimise the damage caused by cyber incidents.

New Zealand has recognised the escalating threat of cyber warfare by taking multiple steps to address it. The country recently joined an international alliance, the Pall Mall process, specifically focused on countering hackers-for-hire activities. This significant move underscores New Zealand’s commitment to collaborating with the global community in combating cyber threats. The inaugural conference in the UK saw the participation of 34 countries, highlighting the widespread concern and the need for coordinated action in this domain.

The primary goal of the Pall Mall process is to diminish the commercial market for malicious cyber activities, particularly those carried out by hackers-for-hire. By targeting this aspect of the cyber ecosystem, the alliance aims to disrupt and curtail the operations of entities that engage in cyber warfare for financial gain. This multifaceted approach involves not only enhancing defensive measures but also actively working to undermine the economic incentives driving illicit cyber operations.

The National Security Group clarified that New Zealand’s participation in the Pall Mall process does not impose any specific obligations but requires the country to engage in multilateral talks to understand and mitigate cyber threats.

In a comprehensive statement, the National Security Group provided an in-depth overview of the objectives and scope of the Pall Mall process, emphasising its pivotal role in addressing the escalating challenges posed by cyber warfare. The alliance is steadfast in its commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of the risks associated with commercially available cyber intrusion capabilities, recognising the urgent need to assess and mitigate these threats effectively. By shedding light on the intricate landscape of cyber threats, the Pall Mall process aims to equip participating nations with the knowledge and insights necessary to fortify their cyber defences and resilience.

Furthermore, the alliance is dedicated to developing guiding principles and policy frameworks that can serve as robust foundations for countering malicious cyber activities. This approach underscores the significance of not only reactive measures but also preemptive strategies aimed at deterring and disrupting cyber warfare. By delineating potential policy options, the Pall Mall process seeks to empower its member states with a comprehensive toolkit for addressing diverse cyber threats in a cohesive and coordinated manner.

The Pall Mall process is characterised as a multistakeholder initiative that strongly emphasises the indispensable role of public-private partnerships and collaboration with civil society and academia. This inclusive approach is essential for safeguarding collective interests in a free, open, and secure cyberspace.

Despite joining the international alliance, New Zealand also maintains that it already has a robust range of measures to tackle threats from malicious cyber activity. The country’s cybersecurity efforts are envisioned to be enhanced by participating in the Pall Mall process, providing a platform for sharing best practices and coordinating responses to cyber threats globally.

By collaborating with other nations, New Zealand can gain access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise, enabling it to stay abreast of emerging cyber threats and adopt best practices in cybersecurity. This will be particularly important given the rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats, which require constant vigilance and adaptation. As the cyberthreats expands, these collaborative efforts are crucial for safeguarding digital systems against an ever-evolving spectrum of threats.

In the dynamic realm of cybersecurity threats, organisations face the formidable challenge of recognising, assessing and addressing system vulnerabilities. This underscores the essential need for adopting a pragmatic prioritisation framework.  

Existing vulnerability assessment processes within organisations often offer less-than-optimal resource allocation and heightened vulnerability to security risks with substantial consequences and, as such, require a systematic overhaul. 

Amidst the surge in digital business transformation, organisations face significant changes in their daily IT operations. This transformation brings about a proliferation of new applications, services, and tools, thereby escalating the complexity of digital assets. In the current landscape of helpdesk operations, various challenges pose a threat to overall productivity. 

From an IT operational standpoint, service desks bear a significant burden in addressing increasing queries, requests, incidents, service tasks, and change request tasks. In instances where automation is present, it may be confined to silos, lacking reusability and standardisation across teams. 

Additionally, a robust knowledge management system is necessary to avoid the loss of valuable tacit knowledge exacerbated by high employee attrition rates. This dependence on human expertise introduces inconsistencies and variabilities in operational quality due to potential human errors. 

Organisations require efficient mechanisms to promptly address vulnerabilities, yet there exists a significant misalignment in the goals, tools, and processes between security and IT operations. This misalignment results in delays in resolving critical vulnerabilities, thereby posing a risk to the overall security of the enterprise. 

To overcome these challenges, it is essential to implement a resilient and flexible vulnerability prioritisation framework. This framework should include thorough criteria, account for resource limitations, integrate real-time threat intelligence, utilise dynamic assessment methods, consider business impact, and foster collaboration across departments.  

Under these circumstances, the helpdesk ecosystem demands advanced AI solutions to mitigate delayed response times, relieve agents of repetitive tasks, and guarantee an optimal customer experience. The goal is to establish a proactive and risk-aware approach to vulnerability management, aiming to minimise exposure to potential security threats. 

The OpenGov Breakfast Insight at the Voco Orchard Singapore on 22 February 2024, explored cutting-edge security capabilities and recent AI-powered IT automation to enhance customer experience. IT experts and decision-makers were invited to gain insights into fortifying the digital realm against cyber-attacks. 

Opening Remarks 

Mohit Sagar∶ AI offers pertinent suggestions and recommendations, elevating response accuracy and efficiency

Singapore, as a prominent digital nation and technological force in Asia, stands out with its resilient and vibrant IT sector. The country’s strategic geographical location, business-friendly ecosystem, and dedicated initiatives for digital transformation have enticed numerous global tech companies and startups to establish their operations in Singapore. Through its Smart Nation Initiative, Singapore has demonstrated a pivotal role in fostering connectivity and innovation to enhance various aspects of society. 

Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia underscores that in today’s complex technology landscape, success relies heavily on digital transformation, with a strong emphasis on security. Whether reinforcing cybersecurity or augmenting infrastructure with artificial intelligence (AI), the goal is to prevent organisations from incurring irreversible damage. AI facilitates thorough system scans, early threat detection, and more efficient streamlining of security tasks compared to human counterparts. 

Mohit explains that addressing vulnerabilities and implementing efficient patch management is crucial for safeguarding organisations against cyberattacks. Studies reveal that leaving well-known vulnerabilities unpatched and delaying remediation heightens cyber risks, increasing the likelihood of data breaches and ransomware attacks. 

“Utilising AI enables support organisations to offer pertinent suggestions, recommendations and solutions during customer interactions, enhancing response accuracy and efficiency,” elaborates Mohit. “This enhances the help desk experience, leaving customers satisfied with the prompt assistance they receive.” 

In the financial sector, considered one of the most critical industries in a country, maintaining resilience during the transition to the digital landscape is imperative. Mohit believes that prioritising customer experience in the Financial Services Industry (FSI) is crucial, given its direct influence on customer satisfaction and loyalty. In an era with numerous consumer choices, providing a seamless and positive experience is essential for retaining existing clients and attracting new customers. 

The key to gaining a competitive edge lies in the effective collection, breakdown and comprehension of customer data. AI algorithms are adept at analysing vast amounts of customer data, deciphering individual preferences and behaviours, and empowering FSIs to enhance the overall customer experience. 

By harnessing the power of AI to comprehend, shape, customise and optimise the customer journey, financial service institutions (FSIs) can provide individualised offerings like tailored product recommendations and customised financial advice.  

AI’s impact extends to customer interaction with the deployment of chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-powered entities offer instant and efficient customer support, addressing queries, managing routine transactions, and guiding users through various processes.  

Such tools, solutions and platforms not only ensure a smooth and seamless experience for customers but also showcase the transformative potential of AI in enhancing service delivery, personalisation and safety in an increasingly digital financial sector. 

 The OpenGov Breakfast Insight will highlight Singaporeans’ commitment to merging proven tradition with cutting-edge technology to navigate the dynamic digital realm more effectively. This shift reflects a forward-looking approach, embracing the opportunities presented by the ever-evolving cyber landscape. 

“Singapore’s pioneering efforts in smart governance, the digital economy and citizen experience reflect a paradigm shift in approach to the digital era. The global community stands to learn from its journey,” Mohit shares. 

Welcome Address 

Saranga Rajan∶ Navigating an evolving threat landscape requires continual adaptation and enhancement of cybersecurity protocols

Saranga Rajan, the Associate Vice President & Head of BFSI Endpoint Security at HCL Software, warmly welcomed the participants, speakers, and OpenGov Asia to the valuable discussion. 

Digital security and digital transformation are intricately linked, with one significantly influencing the other. As organisations leverage advanced technologies to enhance operations, streamline processes, and improve overall efficiency, the need for robust digital security becomes paramount.  

Moreover, as systems become more interconnected and reliant on digital platforms, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data becomes a critical aspect. In this transformative journey, the critical role of digital security in the evolving digital landscape cannot be overstated 

Collaboration between diverse entities, spanning both the private and public sectors, is essential for fostering knowledge exchange and addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the ever-changing digital ecosystem. This collaborative approach recognises the interconnected nature of the digital landscape and emphasises the need for a unified front in navigating its complexities.  

“Partnerships are vital in confronting today’s issues amidst technological advancements,” Saranga believes. “Collective efforts across sectors are crucial for developing robust cybersecurity frameworks, policies, and strategies that can effectively mitigate risks and bolster the overall resilience of the digital ecosystem.”

Singapore has placed a significant emphasis on enhancing the cybersecurity resilience of its banks and financial institutions (BFSI). The industry has introduced “second-generation” cyber regulations to deal with the evolving landscape of cyber threats. These regulations signify a proactive response to the escalating challenges, underlining the importance of cyber resilience and the timely reporting of incidents within the financial sector. 

Saranga shares that HCLSoftware’s expertise in delivering enterprise software solutions, coupled with a focus on driving the digital economy and addressing transformative client requirements through AI and Automation, positions the company as a key player in fortifying organisations against cyberattacks. 

Acknowledging the heightened vulnerability within the Financial Services Industry (FSI), HCLSoftware is dedicated to addressing the need for robust resiliency and stands ready to provide tailored solutions to address these specific challenges. 

With a commitment to cutting-edge technologies and comprehensive security measures, HCLSoftware aims to empower FSI organisations with the capability and adaptability to navigate and mitigate cyber threats effectively. 

The importance of adapting security measures to the evolving threat landscape and the necessity for continuous improvement in cybersecurity protocols must be stressed. By remaining vigilant and responsive to emerging threats, the financial sector can proactively fortify its defences and maintain a resilient posture against cyber adversaries. 

In this VUCA environment, next-gen AI becomes a powerful ally in fortifying cyber resilience by offering enhanced threat detection, rapid response, and continuous adaptation to emerging cyber threats. 

Saranga was confident that the discussions and insights shared would significantly contribute to enhancing digital security practices and strategies. These knowledge-sharing forums play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of digital security, particularly within the dynamic realm of digital transformation. They create an environment where industry experts, thought leaders, and practitioners can exchange valuable perspectives, innovative ideas, and best practices.  

“Cyber resilience can be enhanced by adopting a holistic and proactive approach that combines technological solutions, employee education, and collaboration within the industry,” concludes Saranga.  

In Conversation With 

Mohit, alongside Dr Chandra and Saranga, looked at strategies to bolster cybersecurity that would ultimately enhance consumer satisfaction. They explored innovative techniques, best practices and industry insights to create a resilient framework that not only safeguards digital assets but also fosters a heightened sense of trust and satisfaction among consumers.  

Addressing the dynamic challenges within the cybersecurity landscape yields valuable insights and practical solutions. These outcomes serve as a guide for organisations, offering implementable measures to ensure a secure and satisfying experience for consumers in the ever-changing digital environment. 

Dr Ashish Chandra∶ Businesses can leverage cutting-edge technologies to achieve smooth integration and streamline workflows

In the rapidly evolving landscape of massive digital technology transformation, Saranga concurs that addressing vulnerabilities in cybersecurity must be an ongoing priority. Strengthening these aspects not only provides security for the organisation’s systems but also enhances consumer satisfaction. 

Through the analysis of extensive data, AI empowers highly tailored and context-specific interactions for customers engaging with businesses. GenAI, with its capacity to anticipate and respond to user needs in real-time, ensures a seamless and intuitive experience, setting new standards for service excellence.  

While integrating these capabilities empowers businesses to receive personalised recommendations, predictive support, and unprecedented responsiveness, the primary challenge revolves around security concerns when incorporating GenAI into the customer experience.   

Dr Ashish Chandra, Head of Technology Innovation and Group Functions at Standard Chartered Bank, emphasised the vulnerability of Singapore’s FSI sector to a range of cybersecurity threats. This susceptibility is attributed to the growing digital and technological integration within the industry. 

In 2023, key security challenges within the Financial Services industry included: 

  1. Cloud-based attacks: The cloudification of FSI systems has resulted in risks from malware and advanced threats. 
  2. Island hopping: Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the interconnectedness of the financial system and turning to island hopping campaigns, which involve infiltrating an organisation’s more vulnerable third parties 
  3. Remote work risks: The shift to remote work has introduced new risks for FSI companies, such as implementing safeguards in outsourcing arrangements, security controls, and cybersecurity measures for remote working infrastructure, including personal devices. 

To address these challenges, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) have issued guidelines on managing remote work risks for businesses in the FSI. These guidelines emphasise the importance of implementing safeguards in outsourcing arrangements, including personal devices. 

Within the business context, leveraging cutting-edge technologies offers various avenues to achieve seamless integration and streamline workflows, ultimately resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations. Some of the key approaches encompass: 

  1. AI and ML for Process Optimisation: Chatbots enhancing customer support and predictive analytics optimising supply chain management are examples of how AI and ML can play a pivotal role in streamlining workflows and enhancing efficiency 
  2. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs): Implementing DAPs can help businesses streamline customer management, ensure smooth digital transformations, and protect data assets, ultimately leading to greater scalability and efficiency 
  3. Cloud, AI, and Automation for Operational Resilience: Leveraging cloud, AI and automation technologies can improve business resilience, operational efficiency, and client engagement, ultimately leading to optimal business outcomes 

“By harnessing the power of interconnected emerging technologies, businesses can unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth, efficiency, and competitiveness,” he says. “The integration of technologies such as AI, blockchain, and the IoT forms a synergistic ecosystem that not only streamlines operations but also paves the way for innovative business models.” 

Saranga Rajan∶ Real-time tracking and improved prediction capabilities driven by AI facilitate faster and better decision-making

Saranga Rajan, Associate Vice President & Head of BFSI Endpoint Security at HCLSoftware, recognises that AI empowers businesses to enhance decision-making through various avenues.  

Firstly, real-time tracking and improved prediction capabilities, driven by AI technologies, facilitate faster and more informed decision-making by providing insights into various scenarios based on real-time data.  

Another crucial aspect where AI excels is Big Data Analysis, enabling the analysis of vast datasets to identify trends, patterns, and insights. This capability empowers businesses to make informed decisions that drive sustainable growth and maintain a competitive edge in dynamic market landscapes. 

Furthermore, AI facilitates scenario modelling and simulations, predicting outcomes for different choices. This capability allows businesses to evaluate alternative strategies, optimise resource allocation, and minimise risks associated with decision-making.  

In strategic planning, AI’s proficiency in processing extensive data sets and identifying trends significantly enhances strategic preparation, enabling businesses to formulate data-driven decisions and develop winning strategies. 

Additionally, AI contributes to personalised customer interactions, optimising inventory management, and providing data-driven insights. It enables businesses to concentrate on strategic decision-making and foster growth by automating processes, reducing manual work, and increasing efficiency. 

“By embracing intelligent automation and adopting a strategic approach that prioritises efficiency, innovation, and cybersecurity, businesses can achieve seamless integration, streamlined workflows, and optimal business outcomes,” Saranga is convinced. “This can be achieved by investing in the right technologies, fostering a culture of innovation, and striking the right balance between AI insights and human expertise.” 

“With its expertise, HCLSoftware can enhance cybersecurity and elevate customer experience by leveraging AI, automation, and enterprise security.  HCLSoftware integrates AI-powered cybersecurity measures to detect and respond to cyber threats in real-time, embodying a proactive approach to safeguarding digital assets,” elaborates Saranga. “HCLSoftware analyses vast datasets to identify trends and patterns, facilitating informed decision-making for sustainable business growth.” 

HCLSoftware offers cloud-based solutions that optimise cloud usage, accelerate innovation, and enhance agility at scale, resulting in a superior customer experience. Through digital transformation solutions, the company aids businesses in adapting to the digital age, improving operational efficiency, deepening client engagement, and enhancing overall business resilience. 

“I believe that if companies prioritise cybersecurity, innovation, and customer experience, HCLSoftware can help ensure seamless integration, streamlined workflows, and optimal business outcomes,” Saranga opines. “This strategic approach involves investing in the right technologies, fostering a culture of innovation, and finding the optimal balance between AI insights and human expertise.” 

Closing Remarks 

Saranga expressed his gratitude for the active participation, as participants shared their experiences and ideas, enriching the discussion. Bringing together diverse entities to discuss the issue of cybersecurity vulnerabilities needs such collaborative efforts. Involving both the public and private sectors, along with other pertinent stakeholders, to collectively address challenges is vital for ensuring a safe digital landscape. 

He acknowledges that cyberattacks know no boundaries and can impact various sectors of life, ranging from government to business and the general public, and as such, the imperative for collective efforts to build robust cybersecurity resilience remains.  

Saranga encouraged all parties to actively share information about cybersecurity threats and their experiences in dealing with them. By fostering an environment of open communication and collaboration, communities can learn from each other’s insights and swiftly identify and respond to potential cyberattacks.  

This collective sharing of information plays a crucial role in building a united front against evolving cyber threats, promoting proactive measures, and strengthening overall cybersecurity resilience.  

A common understanding can lead to several concrete steps that can be taken to enhance cybersecurity: 

  1. Strengthening regulations governing data protection and information security 
  2. Increased investment in innovative and effective cybersecurity 
  3. Capacity, capacity building through training and development of human resources in cybersecurity 

Highlighting the importance of cybersecurity awareness across all layers of society, from ordinary internet users to IT professionals and decision-makers at the executive level, Saranga emphasises that a holistic approach is key to creating a secure ecosystem against cybersecurity threats.  

This inclusive awareness strategy ensures that individuals at every level understand their role in maintaining cybersecurity, contributing to a collective and proactive defence against evolving threats. 

 Saranga is convinced that any nation can attain a higher level of cybersecurity through strong collaboration and collective commitment. He foresees that forums like the one at hand will continue to serve as platforms for exchanging ideas and strategies, allowing people to collectively address the complex challenges posed by the continually evolving digital world. 

This is an era where inclusivity is a currency, and its value extends across various domains, from business and technology to social and cultural realms,” he explained. “Diversity and partnership foster innovation and better decision-making and inclusive approaches are more adaptable, creative and better reflect varied markets.” 

The Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) convened a briefing session, where they encapsulated the information security landscape in Hong Kong for 2023 while also unveiling projections for 2024. As technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) continue to proliferate, they offer immense benefits to businesses. However, this advancement is accompanied by a surge in cyber-attacks, underscoring the need for heightened vigilance. Organisations and individuals must not underestimate the complexity of modern cyber threats but instead strive to bolster their understanding of cybersecurity and fortify their response capabilities.

Throughout 2023, HKCERT grappled with a total of 7,752 security incidents. Notably, phishing emerged as a dominant threat, constituting nearly half of all cases (3,752 instances, 48%), marking a significant double-digit increase from the previous year. The surge in phishing attacks underscores a pressing concern, with the number of related links exceeding 19,000—a double-digit annual escalation reflecting a worrying trend over four years. Predominantly, phishing activities targeted sectors like banking, finance, electronic payments, and e-commerce.

Mr Alex Chan, General Manager of the Digital Transformation Division at the Hong Kong Productivity Council and spokesperson for HKCERT emphasised the alarming pace at which hackers leverage AI to outstrip cybersecurity measures. He highlighted the proliferation of generative AI tools, significantly amplifying phishing scams’ prevalence.

These sophisticated techniques blur the line between authentic and fabricated content, posing challenges for both organisations and individual users. As the threat landscape evolves, the adoption of robust security protocols aligned with international standards becomes imperative.

Further insights were provided by Mr. Frankie Wong, Vice Chairman of the Professional Information Security Association and representative of the HKCERT Critical Infrastructure Cyber Security Watch Programme. He delved into the analysis of LockBit ransomware and underscored the importance of proactive measures against ransomware attacks, stressing the need for comprehensive network security reviews and prompt mitigation strategies.

Looking ahead to 2024, HKCERT outlined five key information security risks demanding attention:

  1. Weaponisation of AI: Hackers harness generative AI to orchestrate sophisticated cyber-attacks, manipulating AI-generated disinformation to circumvent conventional security measures.
  2. Next-Level Phishing Attacks: Phishing techniques evolve to include fake videos, social media impersonations, and SEO-driven phishing websites, expanding the scope of deception and victimisation.
  3. The trend towards Organised Cybercrime: Ransomware attacks and malicious app threats underscore a global trend towards organised cybercrime, necessitating proactive security measures.
  4. Attacks Arising from Smart Devices: The proliferation of smart devices amplifies cyber vulnerability, with varying security standards rendering them susceptible to intrusion and manipulation.
  5. Third-party Risk: Reliance on third-party IT services heightens the risk of supply chain attacks and insider threats, necessitating robust verification mechanisms.

In response, Mr Chan called for heightened awareness across all sectors, stressing the importance of understanding and mitigating AI-related cybersecurity risks. He urged vigilance against emerging phishing tactics and emphasised the severity of cybercriminal activities.

HKCERT pledged to bolster public awareness and cybersecurity measures through incident response strategies, proactive vulnerability analysis, and collaboration with international counterparts. Efforts will also include public education initiatives like Cyber Security Week and interactive campaigns to reinforce cybersecurity consciousness.

HKCERT’s proactive stance underscores the urgency of collective action to combat evolving cyber threats, emphasising the critical role of public awareness and collaborative cybersecurity efforts in safeguarding Hong Kong’s digital ecosystem.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) has unveiled a comprehensive set of measures to strengthen the management of large-scale and high-risk information technology (IT) projects within government entities. These are in alignment with the evolving cybersecurity landscape highlighted by HKCERT’s briefing session. The OGCIO introduced initiatives spanning project initiation to stress testing to ensure public trust and smooth IT system operations, aiming to bolster accountability, transparency, and efficiency in managing government IT projects and safeguarding Hong Kong’s digital ecosystem

Law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity authorities have noted a recent surge in cybercriminals exploiting compromised online payment accounts for illicit transactions. Over a period spanning from 01 January to 09 Februarythis year, authorities received reports of 27 such cases.

Victims typically receive automated notifications, purportedly from the payment platform, alerting them to various account activities such as profile alterations and transaction receipts. Upon investigation, victims often find unauthorised funds deposited into their accounts or transfers made to unfamiliar bank accounts added by cyber criminals. Subsequently, the perpetrators initiate chargeback requests, resulting in victims’ accounts being depleted.

Credential compromises stem from multiple factors, including weak passwords, interaction with phishing websites, downloading of unverified applications from unsolicited sources, and exposure to malware-infected websites or files.

To mitigate such risks, users are strongly advised to enhance the security of their online payment accounts by enabling features such as passkeys and two-step verification (2FA). Additionally, regular review of transaction activity for anomalies and installation of reputable antivirus software on devices are recommended. Implementing robust password practices, including the use of unique and complex passwords for each account, is also crucial.

Users should exercise vigilance against suspicious requests for personal or financial information, refrain from clicking on dubious links or downloading unfamiliar attachments, and promptly report any fraudulent activity to the relevant authorities or financial institutions.

For assistance or reporting of cybercrimes, individuals can reach out to the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or visit www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Further information on scam prevention can be accessed via www.scamalert.sg or by calling the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Effective collaboration and community vigilance are paramount in combating cyber threats and safeguarding online security.

Another tech solution provider has recently issued urgent security updates to address critical vulnerabilities found in their Access Rights Manager (ARM) product. These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could potentially enable attackers to execute remote code. It’s crucial for users and administrators utilising the ARM versions 2023.2 and earlier to promptly update to the latest version to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

In today’s digitally interconnected world, safeguarding personal data is more crucial than ever, as highlighted by Data Privacy Day on January 28. However, the ongoing dedication to fostering cybersecurity habits remains imperative throughout the year.

In the realm of cybersecurity, it’s vital to adopt a proactive stance to protect personal data from potential threats. There are common actions that may compromise data privacy, along with simple steps and strategies to mitigate them.

One crucial aspect is exercising caution when accepting cookies, particularly from unsecured sites. It’s essential to regularly review and adjust cookie settings to enhance data protection. Additionally, verifying website security is vital; always check for the lock icon and “https” in the URL. Beware of misspelt site names, as they may signal fraudulent sites aiming to compromise your data.

Promptly addressing password compromises is another key practice in maintaining data security. Upon receiving notifications from password managers about compromised credentials, it’s crucial to investigate and change passwords promptly. Leveraging password manager features for generating and managing complex, unique passwords adds an extra layer of security.

Moreover, exercising discretion in online sharing is essential to prevent exploitation by malicious actors. Reviewing and sanitising online posts can help avoid disclosing sensitive data that could be exploited for scams or cyberattacks.

Monitoring app permissions is crucial for minimising data exposure. Evaluate and restrict app permissions to essential functions, regularly reviewing and disabling unnecessary permissions, and uninstalling unused apps.

Singapore remains committed to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance citizen services while prioritising privacy and security. To combat the challenges posed by harmful online content, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has launched the Online Trust and Safety (OTS) Research Programme.

In a landscape increasingly shaped by digital innovation and cyber threats, the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) of Taiwan stands at the forefront of advancing cybersecurity technologies and strategies to safeguard its digital ecosystem. Addressing recent media reports, the moda reaffirms its unwavering commitment to enhancing cybersecurity defences and promoting collaboration both domestically and internationally.

Central to Taiwan’s cybersecurity efforts is the National Institute of Cyber Security (NICS), an executive agency supervised by the moda. Led by Minister Audrey Tang, the NICS plays a pivotal role in developing cutting-edge cybersecurity tools and technologies. Contrary to claims of reducing related personnel, the moda emphasises that the NICS has maintained its workforce and continues to actively recruit top talent to bolster its cybersecurity initiatives.

At the heart of the NICS’s mission is the development of innovative technologies for detecting fraudulent activities and analysing suspicious messages. Leveraging AI and deepfake analysis, the NICS works tirelessly to combat online threats and misinformation. Through collaborations with law enforcement agencies and third-party fact-checking organisations like the Taiwan FactCheck Center, the NICS provides critical traceability and consultation services to enhance response capabilities and protect against cyberattacks.

Moreover, the moda underscores its proactive approach to international cooperation in cybersecurity. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts with the United States and other friendly nations, Taiwan seeks to strengthen its cybersecurity defences and promote information sharing on a global scale.

The establishment of the Center of International Collaboration and Cybersecurity Governance further solidifies Taiwan’s commitment to fostering mutual trust and cooperation in cybersecurity initiatives.

In addition to its focus on technological innovation, the moda places great importance on cross-agency collaboration and coordination within Taiwan’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Through the Executive Yuan Cybersecurity Council platform, the moda facilitates cooperation among central government agencies, direct municipalities, and local governments to strengthen the overall cybersecurity environment in the country.

By promoting information sharing and joint defence measures, Taiwan aims to build a resilient cybersecurity infrastructure capable of mitigating emerging threats effectively. Furthermore, the moda is dedicated to enhancing public awareness of cybersecurity issues and promoting transparency in its cybersecurity efforts.

The monthly release of the “Cybersecurity Monthly Report” on the official website provides valuable insights into recent policy highlights, threat trends, and cybersecurity protection recommendations. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and transparency, the moda seeks to empower individuals and organisations to play an active role in safeguarding Taiwan’s digital landscape.

To complement its proactive stance on cybersecurity, the moda also prioritises capacity building and response readiness across government agencies. Through network attack and defence drills and government cybersecurity patrol seminars, the Administration for Cyber Security (ACS) identifies vulnerabilities and shares best practices to strengthen defence measures and improve incident response capabilities.

Taiwan is steadfast in its dedication to fostering cybersecurity both domestically and internationally, evident through its proactive initiatives and collaborations aimed at bolstering digital defences and promoting global cyber resilience.

OpenGov Reported on the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) workshop on cybersecurity in New Delhi which symbolised a significant step forward in international collaboration in the digital realm.

Organised by Taiwan, the United States, and India, the workshop addressed global challenges related to cybersecurity, AI, cybercrime, the digital economy and critical information infrastructure fortification, demonstrating a shared commitment to tackling pressing digital issues.

The Ministry of Digital Affairs of Taiwan remains committed to advancing cybersecurity technologies, fostering international cooperation, and promoting collaboration across sectors. With the NICS leading the charge in technological innovation and the ACS spearheading efforts to enhance response capabilities, Taiwan is well-positioned to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and ensure a safe and secure digital future for its citizens and organisations.

Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE) has announced a plan for 2024, designed to propel the nation’s digital transformation and elevate its competitive edge on the international platform. Spearheaded by Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, the Minister of DE, a comprehensive strategy targets seven pivotal domains. These include fostering innovation, enhancing public services, and stimulating economic expansion through the strategic implementation of digital technologies.

Image credits: mdes.go.th

One of the key initiatives is the Cloud First Policy, which envisions positioning Thailand as the premier Cloud Hub of the region. The policy advocates for the widespread adoption of cloud systems to revamp digital infrastructure, elevate the quality of government services, and facilitate the utilisation of Big Data. This strategic move is anticipated to significantly enhance the efficiency of public services while concurrently generating substantial cost savings, potentially slashing the country’s computing infrastructure expenses by as much as 50%.

Another major focus area is the AI Agenda, which aims to develop Thailand’s AI infrastructure. This includes the development of the National AI Service Platform and the Thai Large Language Model (Thai LLM). These initiatives will not only enhance the country’s AI capabilities but also promote ethics, governance, and regulation in AI.

The development of the Thai Large Language Model (Thai LLM) is a significant step towards enhancing Thailand’s natural language processing capabilities. Large language models, like the Thai LLM, can process and generate human language, enabling a wide range of applications such as machine translation, text summarisation, and chatbots in the Thai language.

This can benefit various sectors, including education, healthcare, and customer service, by enabling more efficient and effective communication and information processing. Additionally, efforts will be made to upskill and reskill personnel in AI and promote the use of AI in both the public and private sectors.

The 1 District 1 IT Man initiative aims to accelerate digital adoption in regional areas by establishing IT centres in 878 districts and 2,222 community digital centres. This initiative will provide public internet access in 24,654 villages, improving the quality of life and connecting digital data at the district level. This initiative will not only improve access to digital services but also promote the use of digital technology in everyday life.

Another key focus area is the development of digital workforce and manpower. The government aims to develop infrastructure for digital workforce and manpower development, attract global digital talent through the Global Digital Talent Visa, and increase the digital workforce by 50,000 people. This initiative will not only help meet the growing demand for digital skills but also promote the use of digital technology in the workforce.

The Cell Broadcast initiative aims to implement a modern warning system nationwide to send specific warning messages to designated areas. This initiative will help reduce the loss of life and property during emergencies, demonstrating the potential of digital technology to save lives and improve safety.

The ministry also aims to address online threats through initiatives such as upgrading the AOC 1441 Centre to use AI for detecting and preventing online dangers, launching the Call Alert app to notify at-risk telephone numbers, and establishing the PDPC Eagle Eye Centre to prevent personal data leaks and address online shopping issues. These initiatives will not only improve cybersecurity but also promote trust in digital technology.

Thailand’s comprehensive plan for 2024 demonstrates the government’s commitment to accelerating digital transformation and enhancing its competitiveness in the global digital economy. By focusing on key areas such as cloud technology, AI, digital workforce and manpower, and cybersecurity, Thailand aims to unlock new opportunities for economic growth and improve the quality of life for its citizens through digital technology.

Thailand is laying the foundation for a more competitive digital economy. This could lead to significant improvements in efficiency, innovation, and overall quality of life for its citizens in the future.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong emphasised the theme of ‘Building Our Shared Future Together’ during the presentation of the 2024 Budget statement. This budget marks the beginning of the #ForwardSG roadmap, aimed at propelling Singapore forward amid global challenges and uncertainties, empowered by technology.

Budget 2024 strengthens support for Singaporeans across diverse sectors, addressing immediate challenges, fostering growth and employment, enhancing equality and mobility, and ensuring security for families and seniors, laying the groundwork for a resilient shared future. For a comprehensive understanding of how these measures can benefit citizens, individuals are encouraged to visit www.singaporebudget.gov.sg, where they can also find more details about Budget 2024.

Credits: gov.sg

From a tech/ICT perspective, the Singapore Budget 2024 envisions a comprehensive set of initiatives aimed at addressing various issues and opportunities faced by Singapore, spanning areas such as technology, innovation, cybersecurity, sustainability, and energy transition.

It unveils plans for an SG$ 1 billion investment over the next five years in AI, alongside diversified investments in NAIS 2.0, RIE 2025, the National Cybersecurity Command Centre, and sustainability efforts including green finance and energy security.

Acknowledging the difficulties of the past year due to global instability and economic challenges, Mr Wong noted a mixed outlook for 2024, citing geopolitical risks alongside expectations of receding global inflationary pressures and higher GDP growth.

Investment in AI: The government is committing over SG$ 1 billion in funding over the next five years as part of the National AI Strategy 2.0. This investment will focus on AI, talent development, and industry initiatives to advance AI technologies and integrate them into different sectors of the economy. Goals include securing access to advanced chips crucial for AI development, establishing AI Centers of Excellence (CoEs) with industry partners, and fostering innovation and economic growth.

Broadband Network Upgrades: Additional resources are being allocated to upgrade the national broadband network to enable faster internet speeds, supporting the adoption of emerging technologies like AI and immersive experiences.

Investment in Research and Innovation: There’s a further investment in the Research Innovation Enterprise (RIE) 2023 Fund to promote research and innovation across various national priorities such as advanced manufacturing, sustainability, digital economy, and healthcare.

Cybersecurity Fortification: Recognising the increasing cybersecurity threats, there’s a focus on fortifying cybersecurity defences through the establishment of a new National Cybersecurity Command Centre and increased collaboration between industry, academia, and government.

Semiconductor Market Niche: Singapore aims to strengthen its position in the semiconductor market by leveraging its connectivity, stable business environment, and existing infrastructure. The focus is on niche areas like speciality chips and NAND flash memory chips, critical for automation and electric vehicles.

Sustainability Initiatives: The government is promoting sustainability through initiatives like enhanced support for green loans, expansion of energy efficiency grants, and additional support for companies aiming to reduce emissions.

Future Energy Fund: The establishment of the Future Energy Fund with an initial injection of SG$5 billion highlights the government’s commitment to addressing emerging security challenges related to energy transition and cleaner energy.

Singapore’s Budget 2024 reflects a strategic response to global challenges while prioritising long-term resilience and innovation. Its acknowledgement of the complexities ahead underscores the government’s commitment to addressing immediate concerns such as cybersecurity threats and economic uncertainties while laying the groundwork for sustainable growth.

Planned investments demonstrate Singapore’s proactive approach to navigating the evolving geopolitical and economic landscape. With a focus on enhancing infrastructure, fostering innovation, and promoting sustainability, Budget 2024 aims to position Singapore for continued success in an increasingly unpredictable world, looking to address cost-of-living concerns and advance Singapore’s agenda for the future.

In a major stride towards technological empowerment, the inaugural Digital India FutureSKILLS Summit unfolded in Guwahati, ushering in a new era of opportunity and innovation for Assam and the entire nation. The summit, attended by leaders from industry and academia, marked a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become a global leader in emerging technologies.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Jal Shakti, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, took centre stage to announce a monumental development for Assam – the establishment of the state’s first-ever semiconductor packaging plant, valued at nearly Rs 25,000 Crore.

This landmark announcement, made during the summit, underscored Assam’s evolving role as a hub for technological excellence, poised to drive economic growth and foster local talent development.

Minister Chandrasekhar lauded the visionary leadership of Hon’ble CM Hemanta Biswa Sarma, whose foresight and collaborative spirit paved the way for this transformative initiative. With the semiconductor plant set to be established in partnership with the Assam Government and a business conglomerate, aspiring young Indians in Assam can now pursue their dreams within the state, eliminating the need to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The significance of Assam’s foray into the semiconductor industry extends beyond economic considerations; it represents a paradigm shift in India’s technological landscape. By leveraging indigenous talent and fostering local innovation, Assam is poised to become a key player in shaping India’s digital future.

Reflecting on India’s remarkable journey, Minister Chandrasekhar stressed the importance of initiatives like FutureSKILLS in nurturing a future-ready workforce. As India emerges as a global economic powerhouse, the need for skilled professionals in emerging sectors like AI, cybersecurity, and semiconductors has never been greater. The summit serves as a rallying cry for India’s youth to embrace these opportunities and equip themselves with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital age.

FutureSKILLS embodies India’s commitment to technological advancement and inclusive growth. By empowering youth from diverse backgrounds and regions, including Guwahati, with cutting-edge skills, the initiative aims to democratise access to opportunities and foster a culture of innovation across the country.

The summit witnessed a convergence of industry leaders, policymakers, and technology enthusiasts, united in their vision to propel India towards digital leadership on the global stage. Through strategic collaborations with leading industry players and academia, NIELIT, the organising body, seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical industry demands. By aligning educational programs with real-world requirements, NIELIT aims to ensure that India’s workforce remains agile, adaptable, and globally competitive.

Key speakers at the summit, representing top-tier organisations, articulated a shared vision of India as a powerhouse of innovation and talent. They emphasised the need for concerted efforts to nurture homegrown talent and capitalise on India’s vast potential in emerging technologies.

With AI, cybersecurity, and semiconductor industries poised for exponential growth, India stands at the cusp of a digital revolution, with Assam poised to play a central role in this transformative journey.

In addition to the strategic collaborations forged at the summit, thought-provoking panel discussions explored key themes such as Semicon India, IndiaAI, Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies, and Digital India’s Talent for the Global Workforce. These discussions underscored the imperative of collective action in harnessing India’s demographic dividend and positioning the nation as a global leader in technology and innovation.

The summit not only showcased Assam’s potential as a digital powerhouse but also reaffirmed India’s status as a frontrunner in the global tech landscape, poised to shape the future of technology and drive inclusive growth across the nation.


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