Data management applications have become indispensable instruments for medical professionals and institutions operating in the rapidly evolving healthcare sector. These apps facilitate the storage, access, and analysis of patient data, streamlining workflows, and significantly enhancing overall healthcare efficiency.
Amid the growing emphasis on technological advancements, it is essential to maintain a patient-centric approach, valuing patients as people rather than just focusing on clinical outcomes. Data management tools offer significant advantages in terms of efficiency and accuracy, but it is essential to remember that patients are not merely data points or numbers. Each patient is unique, with their own set of needs, emotions and concerns.
To achieve this, it becomes crucial to humanising these applications and tools in the healthcare ecosystem, incorporating empathy and understanding. By doing so, organisations can ensure that patients’ needs, experiences and well-being are central to design and implementation, ultimately leading to better overall healthcare outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Healthcare data management applications should be designed to be more personable, allowing patients to actively engage in their care. Patient portals and user-friendly interfaces should enable people to see their health records, test results and treatment plans easily.
Patients who have the necessary access to information are better able to comprehend their diseases and engage collaboratively with their healthcare professionals. By creating accessible and patient-centric platforms, individuals can take a more active role in managing their health and making informed decisions about their care.
Effective communication forms the foundation of exceptional healthcare. Humanised data management applications incorporate features that facilitate seamless communication between patients and their healthcare providers.
Patient-centric features can enhance interactions and collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals. These capabilities include secure messaging, video consultations, and real-time updates on medical reports. By enhancing communication, these applications lead to greater patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes.
Access to relevant data and improved data management empowers healthcare professionals to make better judgments and provide superior patient care. Automated data management procedures save time and effort, allowing professionals to focus more on patient care rather than administrative tasks. This streamlined approach enhances overall efficiency and ensures that patients receive the attention and treatment they need without unnecessary delays or distractions.
By prioritising data protection and privacy measures, patient information remains safe and confidential. Such secure applications enable a comprehensive view of a patient’s health history through the seamless and protected integration of diverse healthcare data sources.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 27 July 2023 at Voco Orchard Singapore aimed to provide valuable knowledge and insights to the Singapore Healthcare industry, focusing on key topics such as digital integration, cybersecurity, cloud and data governance.
The session was designed to equip healthcare professionals and institutions with the latest trends and best practices in these areas, fostering a more human adoption of technology and enhancing overall efficiency and security within the healthcare sector.
The pandemic served as a pivotal moment for people to realise the significance of health, says Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. The far-reaching impact of an illness with no boundaries was starkly evident, posing a threat to countless lives and capturing global attention.
“This event is a call to all people and health institutions to rethink the current health system and look for new ways to strengthen and humanise health services,” Mohit warns the delegates.
During the epidemic, and in its aftermath, the demand for data management software is becoming increasingly vital for medical staff and healthcare organisations. They face the challenge of adapting to ever-changing circumstances, and effective data management solutions are crucial in facilitating their response to the evolving healthcare landscape.
These mechanisms play a crucial role in streamlining patient data flows, enabling quick access, and analysing vital information necessary for providing optimal patient care. However, these applications need to go beyond being mere technical aids; they should embody genuine concern and care for every individual in need of medical attention.
Mohit stressed the critical importance for healthcare professionals and services to recognise that every patient is a unique human being with their own individuality and life story, going beyond just medical data and statistical figures. The primary goal of these programmes is to ensure that patients are treated with decency, honesty, and kindness throughout their healthcare journey.
Data management applications must be designed with a human perspective that goes beyond mere technical functionality to encompass qualities of empathy and understanding in every facet. These applications need to be crafted with a deep appreciation for the individuals whose medical data they handle, appreciating that each patient is far more than just a collection of data points.
Mohit opines that there are several factors to take into account while trying to humanise data management solutions. At the outset, empowering patients by providing quick access to health information can be achieved through an intuitive patient portal that offers easy access to their health records, test results, and treatment plans.
“Patients who are actively involved in their care tend to be more committed and have a better understanding of their health conditions,” he strongly believes.
Excellent communication between patients and medical professionals is the key to providing top-notch healthcare. Humanised data management applications must prioritise features that enable secure and efficient communication to facilitate seamless interaction between patients and healthcare providers.
“Certain features can enhance the relationship between patients and healthcare providers,” Mohit observes. “Secure text messages, video consultations with medical professionals, and real-time updates regarding individual medical reports are some examples of features that can achieve this.”
These applications need to provide more personalised and tailored services to address diverse health concerns, considering that each individual has a unique background and specific needs. This means taking into account individual factors when offering treatment suggestions or relevant medical data.
Amid significant cyber changes and the ever-expanding digital landscape, data security has become a paramount concern in the development of health applications, Mohit points out. With the proliferation of interconnected devices and the increasing reliance on technology for healthcare services, the volume of sensitive medical data being generated and transmitted has surged.
This escalating data flow raises the stakes for ensuring robust data protection measures are in place to safeguard patients’ privacy and confidentiality.
“Given the availability of sensitive medical data, strong safeguards for patients’ private information must be in place. When patients feel that their data is safe and protected, they are more likely to trust and actively participate in their treatment process,” Mohit concludes.
Casa Goh, Country Director of Singapore at Veeam, highlights that as businesses grow and evolve, their data systems tend to become more complex, often comprising a mix of on-site, cloud, and hybrid data centres, making it challenging to manage and consolidate data from various sources, leading to sharing issues and increased maintenance costs.
Casa believes data management has become more challenging than necessary for companies due to the multitude of pressing issues they face. The increasing adoption of cloud computing has led many companies to shift their data workloads to the cloud or contemplate doing so.
“This change has some benefits, like being able to grow and save money,” Casa explains. “But it also creates problems with data migration, synchronisation and making sure data is the same in both on-premises and cloud settings.”
In the digital world, numerous cyber threats, including data theft and ransomware attacks, pose significant risks to businesses. As companies prioritise safeguarding private information, implementing robust security measures and data encryption methods becomes crucial. However, while essential for protecting sensitive data, these security measures can also introduce complexities in the process of managing data.
In traditional data management, chores like data entry, data cleaning, and data integration are often done by hand. Not only do these processes take a lot of time, but they are also prone to mistakes. Data handling can be slower and less accurate when done manually and it can be hard to keep up with the growing amount of data.
Within a company, data is often spread out over many different systems, databases, and applications. Integrating these different sources of data and making sure that the data is consistent can be a difficult and time-consuming task. This can lead to data silos, which make it hard to view and analyse data thoroughly.
Medical technology is rapidly evolving, introducing wearable devices, remote patient tracking, and telemedicine, among other innovations. These technologies generate vast amounts of sensitive patient data, making it essential to prioritise patient privacy and adhere to data laws. To achieve this, data protection measures must be implemented differently to ensure the confidentiality and security of patient information.
According to Casa, the key trends necessitating a different approach to enhance data protection are as follows:
- A surge in demand for global delivery
- Increasing demand for telehealth and remote clinical trials
- The industry’s focus on personalised healthcare and therapeutics
- A significant shift towards cloud adoption
Moreover, the Health and Life Sciences industries are undergoing a digital transformation, revolutionising healthcare delivery and research methodologies. However, the complete integration of local and national healthcare systems’ assets and knowledge is still in its nascent stages.
Even though the use of digital tools for patient care, diagnosis, and data analysis has come a long way, there are still problems connecting different parts of healthcare and sharing important information.
As these industries continue to adopt digital innovations, the possibility for better collaboration, better patient outcomes, and ground-breaking research grow. This has led to more efforts to speed up the integration of digital assets and knowledge on a larger scale.
Bad cyber actors are increasingly targeting healthcare and life sciences organisations worldwide. As a result, the industry is rapidly shifting its focus from solely preventive measures to prioritising asset security and implementing quick recovery strategies. This approach aims to ensure continuous operations and minimise disruptions caused by potential cyberattacks.
Recognising the significance of patient data, medical research, and essential services, healthcare and life sciences companies are intensifying their efforts to implement robust security measures to safeguard their digital assets. Additionally, they are proactively establishing resilient systems and backup plans to ensure a swift recovery and restoration of operations in the event of a hacking incident.
“This shift toward asset security and quick recovery is important for keeping operations going and giving patients, researchers, and other stakeholders trust in a cybersecurity landscape that is becoming more dangerous,” Casa believes.
Hybrid cloud has become an integral aspect of the IT landscape, as specific workloads in institutions cannot be fully transitioned to the cloud. Acknowledging this reality, companies face challenges in effectively managing hybrid cloud delivery while ensuring the safety of valuable assets, all within their conventional 24/7/365 operational environments.
The hybrid approach allows institutions to strike a beneficial balance between on-premises infrastructure and cloud services, optimising speed, scalability, and cost-effectiveness for various workloads. However, seamlessly integrating and securing data and applications across these diverse settings proves challenging, making it difficult to maintain smooth operations in this dynamic environment.
As the hybrid cloud model continues to change, institutions must adopt new strategies, strong security measures, and flexible management methods to use it to its fullest and take advantage of its benefits.
According to Casa, Veeam’s comprehensive data management and protection options play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth business operations. With features such as data security, data recovery, and data freedom, Veeam enables companies to concentrate on their core tasks, explore new opportunities without data loss concerns, and thrive in an increasingly data-driven environment.
The worst kind of disaster is ransomware. In the past year, 85% of businesses have been hit by ransomware at least once, reveals Casa. Of those, 19% were able to get their data back without paying the ransom, while 33% paid the ransom but didn’t get their data back.
“Besides, the sensitive nature of patient data makes healthcare companies a prime target for ransomware attacks,” says Casa. “Veeam uses advanced means to protect against ransomware and helps restore data to a time before the attack.”
Veeam provides fast and reliable backup and recovery solutions for virtualised environments. Its backup mechanism is based on images, enabling a quick and effortless recovery process. Additionally, Veeam offers options for high availability and fault tolerance, ensuring critical systems and data remain accessible even in the event of hardware or software failures.
Veeam’s platform is easy to use and has a simple layout that makes backup and recovery easier. IT administrators will find it easier to manage and keep an eye on their data protection jobs. Veeam offers a central place to handle your data across different cloud platforms. This makes it easier to keep track of and control data assets.
“You can easily move data between cloud environments and on-premises systems using Veeam Data Freedom,” Casa explains. “This flexibility is important in the fast-changing business world of today, where companies often use more than one cloud provider or keep a hybrid IT system.”
Moreover, Veeam’s hybrid/multi-cloud options empower businesses to select the most cost-effective cloud services for specific workloads, preventing vendor lock-in. With Veeam’s data management solutions, companies can establish efficient disaster recovery strategies across multiple clouds, ensuring continuous operations even in the event of data loss or system downtime.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a crucial law that safeguards information and data in the healthcare domain. Veeam’s advanced solutions for protecting medical records assist healthcare organisations in meeting these compliance requirements and ensuring the security of private patient data.
Regularly backing up important medical records is essential to prevent data loss from hardware failures, human errors, or cyber threats. Veeam’s solutions ensure that hospitals and clinics can swiftly recover medical data, thereby maintaining seamless patient care and smooth business operations.
Veeam’s solution could have features like “immutable backups” that make it impossible to change or delete backups for a certain amount of time. This adds an extra layer of safety against data being changed or deleted.
In offering all these options, Veeam allows organisations to showcase their commitment to securing sensitive information, building trust, and upholding a positive reputation by implementing their robust data security measures.
“By prioritising data protection, they not only safeguard valuable assets but also demonstrate their responsibility towards their stakeholders and customers,” Casa concludes “This emphasis on data security reinforces their credibility and reinforces confidence in their ability to handle sensitive information with utmost care and integrity.”
Dr Hu Yanyan, the Deputy Director of Architecture and Development at the MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT), recognises the significance of humanising health management data applications.
In today’s world, where data has acquired the status of a valuable resource akin to “oil,” it becomes all the more crucial to ensure that these applications are designed with a human touch.
As one of Singapore’s foremost healthcare practitioners, Dr Hu Yanyan acknowledges the country’s commendable healthcare system, which delivers exceptional health outcomes while remaining accessible and affordable for its citizens.
He discloses that the MOHT was established to drive the restructuring of Singapore’s health system, facing both challenges and opportunities. MOHT concentrates on several long-term initiatives with the potential to bring fundamental improvements to health promotion and treatment.
Furthermore, MOHT collaborates with partners to design and test new initiatives. They also work together with the Ministry of Health (MOH), AIC, IHiS, and other stakeholders to develop essential expansion tools, including technology, analytics data, financial planning, and incentives.
Additionally, Singapore has taken proactive steps to leverage cloud technology for data storage and security, intending to enhance customer satisfaction.
“MOHT seeks to combine all of this into new systemic solutions that are effective from start to finish and have a major impact on health care and outcomes,” he explains. “MOHT has made significant progress in implementing data security measures for its patients.”
Dr Hu places great value on safeguarding and maintaining patient health data confidentiality. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology and data in the healthcare sector, it becomes crucial to ensure that patient information remains secure and protected from unauthorised access.
By implementing robust data security measures and stringent access controls, the MOHT aims to maintain the trust and confidence of patients, knowing that their personal health information is handled responsibly and only accessible to those with proper authorisation.
Before transferring patients’ data to the cloud, MOHT takes the necessary steps to carefully analyse the data. This process involves identifying which data should be retained, managed or migrated to the cloud.
“A deep understanding of the data serves as a strong foundation for designing an appropriate security strategy that aligns with the level of sensitivity associated with each data element,” Dr Hu knows from experience.
Having this understanding will help determine the relevant data elements required to address these challenges effectively. The first stage for organisations, according to Dr Hu, is to identify the specific data necessary to achieve their objectives and support their business processes. This process begins by clearly defining the questions that need to be answered or the problems that need to be solved.
Dr Hu also underscored the criticality of understanding data security requirements. In an ever more connected information technology environment, data security holds the utmost significance for him. The organisation’s data encompasses valuable and sensitive customer personal information, financial data, company secrets, and other strategic information.
Safeguarding this data from unauthorised access or breaches is a top priority to ensure the trust of customers and maintain the confidentiality of critical business assets. As a result, ensuring data security is a primary concern in protecting this precious asset from potential threats and vulnerabilities.
The level of data security must vary based on the type of data being processed and the sensitivity of the information it contains. Different types of data require different levels of protection to ensure appropriate measures are in place to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information.
This approach allows organisations to tailor their security strategies according to the specific needs and risk profiles of the data they handle. More sensitive systems, such as medical data, personally identifiable information, or corporate secrets, necessitate higher levels of security to prevent unauthorised access and misuse of the data.
Dr Hu stressed the importance of companies carefully determining the appropriate level of security for each type of data they handle. By understanding the varying sensitivity levels of their data, organisations can confidently proceed to the stage of building robust and competitive data solutions. This understanding allows them to implement targeted security measures that ensure data protection while still enabling innovative and efficient data-driven solutions in the healthcare sector.
As per Dr Hu, this stage is crucial for addressing the numerous challenges and requirements that organisations face while managing data and information technology. During the design process, several key criteria must be thoroughly examined to construct an effective solution that aligns with the existing corporate goals and needs.
To start with, Data Architecture forms the primary foundation that needs to be addressed while creating durable and long-term solutions. It outlines how data will be structured, stored, managed, and accessed within the organisation’s context.
Additionally, Technology Architecture is a crucial factor to consider when developing data solutions. Dr Hu explains that it involves the selection and integration of hardware, software, networks, and other technology platforms that facilitate data processing and storage.
On the other hand, Security Architecture, an integral part of data solutions, is also of utmost importance. Its goal is to safeguard data from potential attacks and security hazards. To address potential security threats, data security, encryption, access authorisation, identity management, and robust data protection methods must be deployed.
Finally, processes and operations are critical components in creating successful data solutions. Dr Hu emphasised that the stages and workflows involved in managing data and adopting technology are referred to as processes. Having efficient and structured processes will aid in optimising data and technology usage while enhancing productivity and overall effectiveness.
Dr Hu firmly believes that by following these three procedures, healthcare professionals can make patient data security their top priority and ensure its protection. He reiterates the importance of understanding the need for data security, assessing the sensitivity of the information and being aware of the potential risks of data breaches.
According to him, taking this critical first step establishes a strong foundation for safeguarding and preserving patient health data and promoting trust among patients and stakeholders in the healthcare industry.
Dr Hu also advocates for collaboration among relevant professionals and stakeholders. By leveraging the collective expertise and insights of various stakeholders, healthcare organisations can develop data-driven solutions that not only address current challenges but also stay adaptable to future advancements and changes in the industry. This collaborative approach fosters a culture of innovation and enables the healthcare sector to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of technology and data management.
“In an evolving digital environment, organisations can create innovative and sustainable data solutions that have a positive impact on company continuity and success by working together,” he concludes.
Casa Goh appreciated the valuable contributions and knowledge shared by the attendees, urging them to embrace technological collaboration as a means to leverage each other’s assets, skills, and competencies for mutual business benefits.
“Collaboration provides partners with access to specific information, abilities, and technologies that they may not possess, leading to the development of more comprehensive and innovative solutions,” Casa is convinced.
He emphasised the significance of maintaining the human element at the core of any innovation, development, or deployment process. It is crucial in creating a more patient-centric and user-friendly healthcare system and healthcare data management applications. By integrating human-centred design concepts and empathetic approaches, healthcare data management software can better cater to the needs of healthcare professionals, patients, and other stakeholders.
Mohit stressed that cloud-based solutions offer essential attributes such as accessibility, collaborative infrastructure, security, and data analysis capabilities. Implementing modern data protection and solutions can result in enhanced patient care, increased productivity and efficiency, reduced costs, and improved organisational security.
“The implementation of smarter data management techniques can result in enhanced productivity and efficiency, freeing up healthcare personnel to concentrate on giving patients high-quality personal care,” Mohit explains.
He agrees that partnerships are vital for efficiency and more sustainable development. Technological partnerships can be a strategic approach for companies to foster growth, enhance competitiveness, and navigate the complexities of the ever-changing technological landscape.
However, it’s essential for partners to have clear objectives, shared values, and open communication to make the collaboration successful and mutually beneficial.
“By embracing cloud-based solutions and modern data management techniques, we can unlock a new era of enhanced patient care, increased productivity, and improved organisational security,” says Mohit. “In this journey, strategic partnerships will be vital to speeding up progress.”
Recently, the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) and the Thailand Digital Government Academy (TDGA) have joined forces to provide training to raise awareness about cybersecurity. This collaborative effort is designed to enhance participants’ knowledge and comprehension of the fundamental principles and the significance of cybersecurity laws, regulations, and announcements. Moreover, the training seeks to promote awareness of information systems’ safe and secure use.
Panithan Khennanuay, Director of the Cyber Security Department, emphasised the increasing prevalence of cyberattacks in today’s digital landscape, affecting many sectors. As organisations transition into the digital realm, they become more susceptible to cyber threats. These threats can range from data breaches and hacking attempts to ransomware attacks and other malicious activities that can compromise sensitive information and disrupt essential services.
Recognising the evolving nature of these cybersecurity challenges, the collaboration between the DGA and TDGA underscored the importance of equipping individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills to safeguard their digital assets. The training initiative aims to empower participants to proactively identify and mitigate potential cyber risks, thereby enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of both the public and private sectors.
Panithan Khennanuay further emphasised that as digital transformation continues to reshape the governance, commerce, and communication landscape, it is imperative to prioritise cybersecurity as an integral component of this evolution. By fostering a cybersecurity-conscious culture and ensuring that individuals and organisations stay well-informed and vigilant, Thailand can better protect its digital infrastructure and sensitive data. “Ultimately, it will contribute to the country’s resilience in the face of cyber threats and bolster its position as a leader in the digital age,” he expressed.
Additionally, Khomkrit Khamsawat, Head of the Service Operations Team, added that the workforce and citizens are crucial to any cybersecurity strategy’s success. As the Head of the Service Operations Team, Khomkrit Khamsawat recognises that a well-informed and cyber-aware workforce is the first line of defence against cyber threats. Employees and citizens alike play pivotal roles in maintaining the security of digital systems and data.
In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, individuals within organisations and the broader public must be educated and trained to recognise and respond effectively to potential security risks. It includes understanding the latest cyber threats, practising good cybersecurity hygiene, and adhering to best practices for secure digital behaviour.
Moreover, citizens and employees should be aware of cybersecurity laws, regulations, and guidelines. Compliance with these measures is essential for protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information.
The collaboration between the DGA and TDGA not only aimed to equip individuals with the technical knowledge needed to defend against cyber threats but also strives to cultivate a cybersecurity mindset. This cultural shift toward cybersecurity awareness can help foster a safer digital environment for all.
Thailand is taking proactive steps to fortify its defences against cyberattacks by focusing on workforce and citizen education. These efforts will ultimately contribute to the country’s ability to harness the full potential of digital technologies while safeguarding its digital assets and interests.
“Cybersecurity is not just a technical issue but a shared responsibility. It requires collaboration across sectors, proactive measures to stay ahead of emerging threats, and a commitment to ongoing education and awareness,” Mr Khomkrit emphasised. “We are optimistic that with the concerted efforts of organisations, government agencies, and individuals, Thailand can build a robust cybersecurity ecosystem. This ecosystem will not only protect critical infrastructure but also promote innovation, trust, and economic growth in the digital age.”
In a proactive move to bolster digital resilience, Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) recently conducted its first-ever “disaster roaming” drill in collaboration with the nation’s three major telecommunications providers.
This exercise, held as part of the “2023 National Disaster Prevention Day Large-Scale Earthquake Disaster Response Mobilisation Exercise,” showcased the critical role of cross-network roaming in ensuring citizens’ access to basic and secure communication during emergencies.
The concept of “disaster roaming” differs from commercial roaming mechanisms. It is a government-driven initiative designed to ensure uninterrupted communication services for the public during significant disasters or emergencies.
In essence, it allows individuals to connect to operational mobile communication networks of other providers, irrespective of their original contracts. This initiative addresses a fundamental need: maintaining communication rights when they matter most.
The recent disaster roaming exercise took place in the Hsinchu County Sports Complex area, strategically chosen due to its high population density. Notably, the exercise was conducted without disrupting nearby base stations, using a “manual network selection” method to facilitate cross-network roaming.
Participants engaged in practical scenarios, from connecting with loved ones to accessing real-time news updates and evacuation information.
One of the key takeaways from this exercise is the importance of cooperation between moda and telecommunications providers. By developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and studying international cross-network roaming frameworks, Taiwan aims to further enhance the disaster roaming mechanism.
This forward-looking approach will ensure that the nation’s communication networks remain resilient and robust, even in the face of major disasters.
The significance of disaster roaming extends beyond mere convenience; it’s about safeguarding citizens’ well-being and ensuring they have access to crucial information during emergencies. This initiative is particularly relevant nowadays as societies become increasingly reliant on digital communication networks for information dissemination, emergency alerts, and coordination during crises.
During her visit to moda, President Tsai Ing-wen underscored the importance of such initiatives in enhancing Taiwan’s overall resilience. In an era where digital connectivity is integral to daily life and critical infrastructure, the ability to maintain communication rights during disasters is paramount.
The disaster roaming programme’s continuation from 2024 to 2025 demonstrates Taiwan’s commitment to preparedness and resilience. By studying global best practices and working closely with domestic telecommunications providers, the country aims to establish a robust disaster response framework. This proactive stance will serve as a model for other nations seeking to enhance their digital resilience.
Reports cited that Taiwan’s disaster roaming initiative stands as a beacon of innovation and preparedness. It reaffirms the government’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens’ communication rights and ensuring that vital information flows even when the unexpected occurs.
Many industries and organisations are subject to regulatory requirements regarding data protection and cybersecurity. Digital resilience helps meet these requirements and avoids legal and financial repercussions.
Also, it ensures that critical government systems and communication networks remain operational during emergencies and can withstand cyber threats from adversaries.
As digital technologies continue to evolve, so too must disaster preparedness strategies. Taiwan’s dedication to enhancing digital resilience through initiatives like disaster roaming demonstrates that the nation is not only adapting to the digital age but also leading the way in ensuring that no one is left disconnected when it matters most.
It is a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to the well-being and safety of its citizens, setting a commendable example for the world to follow.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and its federal agency partners have released new guidance concerning a cybersecurity risk posed by deepfakes, a type of synthetic media. This emerging threat poses cybersecurity challenges for National Security Systems (NSS), the Department of Defence (DoD), and organisations within the Defence Industrial Base (DIB).
They have jointly published a Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CSI) titled “Contextualising Deepfake Threats to Organisations” to assist entities in recognising, safeguarding against, and responding to deepfake threats. NSA developed the CSI with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The term “deepfake” encompasses multimedia content that has been either artificially created or manipulated through machine learning and deep learning technologies, which are forms of artificial intelligence (AI). Other phrases used to describe such synthetically generated or altered media include “Shallow/Cheap Fakes,” “Generative AI,” and “Computer Generated Imagery (CGI).”
Candice Rockell Gerstner, an NSA Applied Research Mathematician with expertise in Multimedia Forensics, emphasised that while the tools and methods for altering authentic multimedia have been in existence for some time, the noteworthy shift lies in the ease and widespread adoption of these techniques by cyber actors. This evolving landscape introduces a fresh set of challenges to national security.
Gerstner pointed out that organisations, as well as their employees, must adapt to this changing environment. They need to identify the tradecraft and techniques associated with deepfakes. Moreover, it is essential to establish comprehensive plans to respond to potential deepfake attacks and mitigate their impact effectively. As cyber adversaries increasingly leverage these technologies, recognising and countering deepfake threats becomes paramount to ensuring national security and safeguarding sensitive information.
The joint Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CSI) provides valuable recommendations for organisations to address the challenges posed by synthetic media threats, particularly deepfakes. The CSI suggests implementing various technologies and strategies to counter this emerging threat.
One key recommendation is adopting real-time verification capabilities, which enable organisations to identify and respond to potential instances of deepfake content swiftly. Passive detection techniques are also emphasised for ongoing monitoring and early detection. Furthermore, the CSI highlighted the importance of safeguarding high-priority officers and their communications, as they are often the targets of deepfake attempts.
In addition to detection, the guidance underscores the significance of minimising the impact of deepfake attacks. This involves information sharing within and across organisations to stay ahead of evolving threats. It also advocates for comprehensive planning and rehearsing of responses to potential exploitation attempts, ensuring that organisations are well-prepared to mitigate the consequences of deepfake incidents. Personnel training is another crucial component, equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond effectively to synthetic media threats.
The CSI underscores the diverse nature of synthetic media threats, encompassing techniques that jeopardise an organisation’s brand, impersonate its leaders and financial officers, and employ fraudulent communications to gain unauthorised access to networks and sensitive information. These threats highlighted the need for a holistic approach to cybersecurity.
Advancements in computational power and deep learning have facilitated the mass production of fake media, making it more accessible and cost-effective. This not only undermines brands and financial stability but also has the potential to incite public unrest by disseminating false information on critical issues such as politics, society, the military, and the economy.
The CSI draws attention to the concerning availability of deep learning-based algorithms on open-source repositories. These accessible resources pose a security risk, as their application requires minimal technical skill and can be executed using little more than a personal laptop. Consequently, the widespread availability of such tools amplifies the urgency of addressing synthetic media threats.
In light of these evolving challenges, the NSA, FBI, and CISA strongly encourage security professionals to adopt the strategies outlined in the report. By proactively implementing these recommendations, organisations can enhance their resilience to the growing threats posed by synthetic media and deepfakes. This collaborative effort among government agencies and security experts is vital to ensuring the integrity of digital information and safeguarding national security.
China Construction Bank (CCB) was recently commended by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat for reaching an important milestone in Singapore, which is evidence of the long-lasting collaboration that has developed between the two countries over the past 25 years.
The CCB is one of China’s four largest state-owned banks and is actively expanding its business abroad, with branch offices in Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, among other places.
In 1998, when CCB made the bold decision to establish a presence in Singapore, the Asian economies were emerging from the depths of the Asian Financial Crisis. CCB’s move to set up shop in Singapore was a bold show of faith in the future of Asia and a belief that the region was poised for a resilient comeback.
Over the years, CCB has deepened its roots in Singapore, forming vital partnerships and emerging as one of CCB’s largest overseas nodes. DPM Heng Swee Keat, who once led the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), recalls productive meetings with CCB’s leadership regarding their expansion plans in the region.
This partnership led to significant milestones, including MAS upgrading CCB’s Singapore branch to a wholesale bank in 2010 and subsequently to a Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) in 2020.
The timing of this expansion is crucial, as it enables CCB to support Chinese companies looking to explore new opportunities while also contributing to the internationalisation of the renminbi.
Simultaneously, it provides invaluable support to Singaporean companies with aspirations in the Chinese market. Singapore’s status as an international financial centre ensures a plethora of growth opportunities for both CCB and Singapore.
Financial cooperation has been a cornerstone of the enduring relationship between Singapore and China. Recent upgrades in their partnership have expanded the scope of activities, going beyond traditional corporate and commercial lending to include green financing solutions, offshore debt raising, and even FinTech and innovation research in Singapore.
Regulators from both nations have joined hands to explore emerging areas like sustainable and digital finance, aiming to strengthen cross-border collaboration and deepen capital market connectivity within the region.
This is due to the rise of digital technology which has transformed the financial landscape, leading to the emergence of digital finance. This encompasses a wide range of innovations, including mobile banking, digital payments, blockchain technology, and digital currencies.
By exploring digital finance, Singapore and China are not only embracing financial technology (FinTech) but also revolutionising the way financial services are accessed and delivered. This shift has the potential to enhance financial inclusion, streamline transactions, and increase the efficiency of capital markets. Also, it opens doors to cross-border collaboration in developing and adopting cutting-edge FinTech solutions.
By strengthening capital market connectivity, these nations are not only boosting their own financial sectors but also attracting foreign investments, promoting regional economic stability, and potentially positioning themselves as hubs for sustainable and digital finance in Asia.
Innovations in digital finance and technology have revolutionised access to banking services and improved efficiency. CCB’s Fintech innovation lab in Singapore offers a platform for research, technology sharing, and the forging of new partnerships. These innovations are poised to enhance resource allocation, promoting real growth and job creation.
The collaboration between Singapore and China in these emerging areas is a strategic move to shape the financial landscape of the future, where sustainability, innovation, and cross-border cooperation will be key drivers of success.
The Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, and Minister for the Public Service of Australia provided updates on technology and digital identity-related legislation. The Minister delved into the topic of Digital ID and its significance for Australia’s future.
The primary focus of the address was the introduction of the draft Digital ID legislation, marking the commencement of consultations for the exposure draft. She highlighted that Digital ID is akin to an online version of presenting one’s passport or driver’s license to verify their identity but without relinquishing the physical document. It aims to provide a secure and convenient way to verify identity online.
The draft Digital ID legislation, now open for consultation, represents a significant milestone in Australia’s efforts to create a national Digital ID system. The Minister outlined four guiding principles for this system: security, convenience, voluntariness, and inclusivity. She stressed that Digital ID would remain voluntary, ensuring alternate channels for those who prefer not to use it.
Moreover, Digital ID is seen as a means to enhance inclusion by bringing government services online and extending their accessibility to underserved communities, including individuals with disabilities. However, the Minister emphasised that those unable or unwilling to obtain a Digital ID would still have access to government services through traditional channels.
The current system, which operates without legislation, allows individuals with Digital IDs to verify their identity without repeatedly providing sensitive documents. Nevertheless, it has limitations, as it is not yet a nationwide system and private sector providers cannot verify individuals against government-issued ID documents. The government envisions a national Digital ID system as an important economic, productivity, and security reform, and efforts are underway to address these shortcomings.
To ensure trust, data protection, and choice in the Digital ID system, the draft legislation establishes governance arrangements, a regulator (with the ACCC as the interim regulator), and privacy safeguards. Senator Gallagher emphasised the need for explicit consent for sharing identity information, the secure deletion of biometric data, and the prohibition of using identity data for direct marketing purposes.
Additionally, the Minster announced the formation of an AI taskforce, in collaboration with colleague Ed Husic, to ensure responsible and safe usage of AI across government agencies. AI has the potential to improve productivity within the APS and enhance government services, but it also requires careful management to mitigate risks.
The government is committed to creating boundaries and safeguards for emerging technologies like AI. The AI Taskforce will assess the risks and benefits of different AI systems within the public service.
The upcoming release of the first Long Term Insights Brief on AI and trust in public service delivery was also mentioned. Four key findings from the brief highlighted the importance of designing AI with integrity, preserving empathy in service design, enhancing public service performance, and investing in AI literacy and digital connectivity for all Australians.
The Minister expressed her determination to see the establishment of an Australian Digital ID system through legislation, despite the challenges and opposition. She acknowledged that it has been an eight-year work in progress, but she believes it is a worthy project with significant benefits for individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
The address highlighted the importance of Digital ID legislation and AI governance in shaping Australia’s technological future. These initiatives aim to enhance security, convenience, and inclusivity while safeguarding individuals’ privacy and ensuring responsible AI usage within the public service.
Efforts to advance digital identification in Australia align with the country’s broader initiatives to establish a national Digital ID system, as discussed by the Minster. The focus of one pilot program, reported on by OpenGov Asia earlier, was on enabling individuals to prove their identity without the need for multiple physical documents corresponds to the principles of Digital ID outlined by the Minister, emphasising secure digital verification over physical information exchange.
Additionally, student volunteers from Deakin University demonstrated practical applications of digital identity within the education sector, mirroring the efficiencies mentioned by Senator Gallagher in her speech. These developments reflect Australia’s growing interest and innovation in the digital identification ecosystem.
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will cooperate in the digital economy. Experts have said that the substantial potential for trade and investment collaboration among the countries has not yet been fully realised.
The three governments jointly organised a conference to discuss digital economic development trends and their potential to enhance trade and investment among the countries, opportunities and challenges arising from digital transformation for the growth of trilateral ties, and strategies to advance their cooperative efforts in the digital era. The conference reflects the countries’ readiness to build digital-transformation-oriented socio-economic infrastructure.
Experts at the event recommended that the sides establish and improve institutional and legal environments that align with the demands of the international integration era within the context of the digital economy. Additionally, the nations should invest in developing digital infrastructure to foster their national digital economies.
The conference, which was organised by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences (LASES), and Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), saw the participation of over 100 experts, managers, and diplomats from the three countries.
According to a representative from VASS, prioritising the advancement of the digital economy is considered a key task in accelerating the restructuring of an economy. This approach is closely linked with innovation in the growth model and the enhancement of growth quality. The aim is to assist a nation in escaping the middle-income trap and progressing toward becoming a fully developed, industrialised country. The trend presents both opportunities and challenges for countries involved, as they work to develop and expand their investment and commercial partnerships.
An official from LASES noted that Laos is in the early stages of its digital transformation journey, encompassing multiple sectors, including commerce and investment. Consequently, Laos is eager to collaborate with experts from Vietnam and Cambodia, aiming to exchange knowledge and gain insight from their respective digital transformation efforts.
Highlighting the longstanding bond among the three nations, an official from RAC acknowledged that in the realm of digital transformation, Vietnam has been making swifter advancements compared to Cambodia and Laos, particularly in sectors like tourism, commerce, and investment. Collaborative efforts among these nations, particularly in the domain of the digital economy, hold considerable importance in advancing the development of each country.
In 2020, Vietnam kicked off a national digital transformation programme, under which the country would renovate the management and administration activities of the government, the production and business activities of enterprises, and the overall way of living and working. It is working to develop a safe, humane, and wide digital environment. The national digital transformation programme has the dual purpose of both developing the digital government and economy and establishing Vietnamese digital businesses with a global capacity.
In the second quarter of 2023, the digital economy contributed approximately 15.26% to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Vietnam. Compared to 2021, the growth of Vietnam’s national digital transformation index did slow down, but the component indices of digital government, digital economy, and digital society still maintained a high growth rate of 45-55%.
Vietnam’s digital economy was valued at around $14 billion in 2020, showing remarkable growth of 450% since 2015. Projections indicate that it is expected to expand by roughly 30% between 2020 and 2025.
Minister of PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas stated that in 2023, the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Indonesia and Korea will reach its 50th year. Both countries continuously work to enhance their relations and cooperation, both bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally.
In light of this, the governments of Indonesia and Korea are continuing their cooperation in Electronic Government Systems (EGS) through the Digital Government Cooperation Forum. This event, organised through the collaboration of the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MoIS), and the National Information Society Agency (NIA), discusses the implementation of cooperation in 2023 and the cooperation project plans for 2024.
“The closeness of this relationship and cooperation is certainly supported by the complementary nature of resources and advantages possessed by Indonesia and Korea, in addition to the excellent economic and political progress, making opportunities for cooperation in various sectors increasingly wide open,” said Minister PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In 2023, the governments of Indonesia and Korea embarked on a cooperation project related to digital ID development strategies and poverty alleviation digitalisation strategies. As for the extension of the DGCC cooperation project in 2024, there are several project proposals from the DGCC Committee, including support for government efforts in digitalising Nusantara City into a smart city focusing on intelligent government aspects.
“These cooperation proposals include the use of Big Data and AI for government administrative services, open-source technology-based designs, and big data designs in service provision,” explained Anas.
In his opinion, strengthening the strategic partnership between Korea and Indonesia for a shared future, especially in digital transformation, is not just an aspiration but a necessity. Indonesia’s digital transformation is already on the right track, where digital transformation serves as an accelerator for development acceleration.
Strengthening partnerships with Korea, one of the global technology industry leaders can bring Indonesia significant benefits. Korea has extensive experience and expertise in digital transformation and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and 5G. Through knowledge sharing and close collaboration, Indonesia can accelerate the implementation of these technologies to support various sectors, including industry, education, healthcare, and public services.
Furthermore, strengthening this partnership can also open doors for investments in Indonesia’s technology ecosystem. With financial and technical support from Korea, Indonesian startups and technology companies can further develop their innovations and compete in the global market. This will create new job opportunities, drive economic growth, and strengthen Indonesia’s position in an increasingly interconnected international community.
“Interoperability of systems and applications continues to be pursued to realise integrated services nationally. However, we continue to strive and learn best practices from various countries, especially Korea, to strengthen digital transformation breakthroughs in Indonesia,” he said.
NIA President Jong Sung Hwang stated that in the future, his agency will actively assist Indonesia in digital governance, similar to what they did by establishing NIA in 1987 to support the digitalisation of the South Korean government. “The South Korean government used to have 17,060 silo systems, but they managed to integrate them all into an all-in-one service,” explained Jong Sung Hwang.
Jong Sung Hwang added that in the era of digital governance, everything should run smoothly, and data should be easily accessible. “Usually, data preparation takes a lot of time, but with data infrastructure, it can be done more quickly and data is easier to use,” he added.
In an era where technology defines many aspects of daily life, strengthening a strategic partnership with Korea in digital transformation is not just an option but a necessity. This step will help Indonesia address challenges and seize opportunities from the global digital revolution. With strong cooperation between the two countries, Indonesia can achieve a brighter and more sustainable future in the digital era.