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Effective data management should be a priority for governments to be future-ready outfits

Governments all over the world have been under a lot of pressure as the custodians of citizen’s physical and mental wellbeing. In this process, they have generated massive amounts of personal data that must be managed and analysed effectively and securely to derive useful insights. These derivatives will give direction to perpetual governments measures to support their citizens through these tough times.

In order to help governments build data resiliency and be future-ready institutions, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGov Live! Virtual Breakfast Insight with delegates from various Singapore government agencies on 5 November 2020.

The relevance and timeliness of the topic at hand saw the virtual session witness a full house of delegates who were eager to know more.

Making data available is important but keeping it secure is of paramount importance

Mohit: 5 considerations that must be taken into account to ensure data resilience

The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia.

Mohit shared that placing trust in the huge volumes of data generated by governments is the biggest challenge in the public sector today. Governments need to decide if they are going to trust the data as a single source of truth or not.

He further went on to share the 5 major considerations that must be taken into account in order to make this decision. They include security, compliance and governance, cost management, automation and orchestration, and performance monitoring.

Mohit emphasised that while making data available and agile is very important for agencies today, ensuring the security of data is of paramount importance. He strongly urged then to effectively manage their data, leveraging cloud technology, so that it becomes an asset to them.

He complimented the delegates for being associated with a government that is always willing to push the boundaries and assured them that they would find this session a great opportunity to learn about what Veeam has to offer.

Mohit concluded his presentation by advocating pushing the envelope even further with the right partners who could help accelerate the process.

Democratic work tools make organisational policies and people’s behaviour critical in an organization

Mike: An overview of Inland Revenue’s digital transformation journey

After Mohit’s presentation, Mike Cunnington, Deputy Commissioner, Information and Intelligence Services, Inland Revenue, New Zealand shared his insights with the delegates.

Mike began his presentation by sharing with delegates the transformation journey that Inland Revenue team has been undergoing for the past 6 years and is now close to its destination. He shared that this transformation journey is unique as it brings together people, process, platform and policy together which is very rare.

Mike was happy to share that his organisation was working towards achieving digital transformation that focused on enabling a connected knowledge ecosystem tying together data, analysis, information and knowledge. This process took gathered an incredibly fast pace after the pandemic hit.

This rapid digital transformation became their lifeline to survive and operate during the recent testing times. It helped staff collaborate internally and with other governments effectively while operating remotely. It also helped them ensure the financial well-being of small enterprises and the people associated with them.

Mike opined that institutional policies and people-behaviour become a lot more critical as the democratising technology tools come into play. He also shared with the audience that their evolved data capabilities enable them to better understand and support their customers and the wider New Zealand public sector in the following ways:

  • Analysing economic performance
  • Assurance of wage custody
  • Early fraud detection
  • Automatic assessment of tax returns

Mike concluded his presentation by sharing that his organisation will continue to strengthen their information ecosystem and work towards making it more accessible; complemented by the required support and training to the people at IR New Zealand.

Availability, agility, and security are the three foundations of data resilience

Casa:  How Veeam’s data management solutions can make data a valuable asset

After an enriching presentation by Mike, Casa Goh, Singapore Country Manager for Veeam Software shared his thoughts from a Veeam optic.

Casa began his address with a very interesting survey that better depicted the urgency of the situation – currently, there is a cyber-attack every 11 seconds and the industry most vulnerable is the public sector. Thus, governments must ask themselves: are they prepared to operate in such an environment?

He then laid out the three foundations of data resiliency: availability, agility, and security. He confirmed that every Veeam solution is built taking these three pillars into account. Casa went on to discuss each foundation in detail to ensure a complete clarity for the delegates.

Casa validated Veeam’s excellence in the field by sharing a customer success story where their solution helped the customer overcome the challenges and benefit from them.

He concluded his presentation by sharing with the delegates how Veeam’s cloud data management solution empowers organisational data by enabling unparalleled data availability, mobility, automation, and governance across data centres.

After the powerful presentations from the speakers, it was time for the interactive polling session.

On the first question about their organisation’s expectations on recovery time and recovery points in case of a cyberattack, disruption, corruption, or disaster almost half the audience voted that they want to get back in less than 1 hour without any loss of transaction or data (47%)

To this, a Chief Technology Officer reflected that everything in business comes with a cost. Therefore, organisations must prioritise their data into various categories and then decide on the strategy to keep it safe and secure. Based on how critical the data is, the expectations will change.

On the next question about an organisation’s confidence to recover within SLA after an outage, incident, or ransomware attack, a majority of the audience voted that they are fairly confident (66%).

A senior delegate from another agency in Singapore shared that his organisation does a lot of disaster recovery exercises and practices and thus, feel fairly confident to recover from an outage or an incident.

On the final question on concern about vendor/cloud/platform lock-in i.e. portability of workload/data across platform/ cloud, a major portion of the audience voted that they are somewhat concerned (52%).

A Deputy Director Digital Transformation and Innovation from a major technology agency shared that setting up a multi-cloud system is very complicated and from data portability viewpoint the only thing that organisations control is to store all the data with open access and within an open architecture which enables the ease of portability.

After an interactive round of discussion, Casa Goh from Veeam concluded the session with closing remarks. He thanked all the delegates and speakers for their contribution to the session. He also encouraged the delegates to reach out to the Veeam team to know more about their solutions and how it can help them.

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