Close to four months ago, everyone’s lives came to a standstill as the pandemic raced across the globe.
But one sector that had to do the heavy lifting during this crisis was the medical industry.
Unlike other industries that were not working or had slowed down during the pandemic, medical professionals, staff and related industries were working harder than ever to ensure the safety of mankind.
However, one big threat that they were also exposed to was the threat of a cyberattack. As the amount of stored data in the medical organisations rose exponentially, they became the prime targets of bad actors in the cyberspace.
With such high traffic and patient intakes, the hospitals lacked the effective processes and controls in place to detect, respond to, mitigate and recover from breaches and other security events.
This is where the Security Operations Centre (SOC) for cybersecurity engagements comes in.
Understanding the relevance of this topic in the current time, OpenGov Asia organised its latest Virtual Breakfast insight on 7 July 2020 to discuss how medical institutions can cope with the cyberthreats.
The event saw a full house with senior profiles from the IT departments of prominent hospitals and healthcare institutions in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines in attendance.
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia set the ball rolling by giving a background of why there is an urgent need to secure the sector from the bad cyber actors.
He illustrated this point with a video at the beginning of the session.
Mohit emphasized that the job of security officers in organisation has become even tougher in these uncertain times.
Both the organisational and the personal data is exposed to a real threat of being misused in today’s environment and the only way to stay safe is to collaborate efforts in the cybersecurity space.
He advised the delegates to have the right people around who can work together in collaboration.
After the opening session, Siang Tiong Yeo, General Manager, SEA for Kaspersky shared their learning on keeping data secure in the healthcare environment.
Siang Tiong began by saying that in today’s era information is power. And a lot of us might not realise it but health care is the greatest data trove today.
The healthcare industry is completely focused on saving lives and that keeping their data secure is slightly lower in their priority.
Cybercriminals have taken full advantage of this. The recent trends of cyberattacks in the healthcare domain provide good evidence for this.
Siang Tiong shared that in the past few months the frequency of data breaches, Cyberespionage, identity theft, etc. have shot up.
He also observed that the recent cyber-attacks have evolved overtime and become more sophisticated.
Additionally, as hospitals and healthcare institutions are becoming increasingly interconnected, the surface area for attacks is also expanding exponentially.
Siang Tiong concluded by advising the delegates to be prepared in advance for the next cyber-attack. He explained that to be prepared means having the right people, processes and technology to safeguard the organisation from the bad actors.
Siang Tiong’s presentation was followed by a presentation by Gagandeep Singh, Group Chief information Security officer at IHH Healthcare Berhad.
Gagandeep began by talking about his own viewpoint of a SOC and the various objectives it should serve. He emphasised 4 key aspects:
- Traditional ways of keeping logs and rules is now outdated
- Monitoring network traffic and analysing is imperative
- Skilled resources are the most important asset
- Following compliance is vital
He then summarised by saying that there is a need for SOC to mature and constantly update itself with current developments.
As the new channels of attack (Phishing and DNS etc) evolve, the SOC needs to be updated accordingly.
After Gagandeep’s insightful sharing the session moved into an interactive polling session.
On the question of primary cybersecurity concerns, there was a split audience between ransomware attacks (29%) and insider threats (29%).
One delegates, a senior executive from a Thailand, shared that he voted for ransomware as the primary cybersecurity concern as it helps hackers earn quick money. Thus, they are more actively planning these kinds of attacks.
On the next question on how you stay ahead of security updates, the majority were inclined towards threat intelligence report subscriptions (52%).
The Director for Global Research & Analysis Team – APAC, Kaspersky shared his thoughts from a security research perspective. He believes that of all the other options, intelligence reports are the only one that will help organisations stay ahead as it is knowledge shared though private channels.
The drawback with other (open) resources is that even the bad actors have access to it and they are constantly improving from that knowledge.
On the final question of proactively preventing cybersecurity attack, the participants we divided between threat intelligence (35%) and security assessment services (35%).
A senior delegate from Singapore shared that he voted for threat intelligence as it helps an organisation stay a step ahead of the bad attackers and be prepared.
The session concluded with closing remarks from Siang Tiong where he shared some of the tools from Kaspersky that help organisations protect themselves from cyber-attacks. He advised the delegates to stay ahead by meticulous monitoring and accurate detection.
As medical technology advances, breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating various critical illnesses are achieved, and as the design of patient treatment plans becomes more precise and personalised, healthcare practitioners are expected to keep abreast of the latest developments to master the most sophisticated technologies.
In a cancer treatment team, members are specialised in their respective fields, yet they work together seamlessly to devise the most effective treatment for patients. One of the lesser-known of the specialists in such a team, the Medical Physicist, is responsible for formulating treatment plans, as well as monitoring and maintaining radiation equipment used to ensure the precise, effective and safe delivery of treatment.
Medical Physicists specialise in radiation treatment technology, with their expertise spanning from diagnostic imaging to radiotherapy, and they are “strong backers” of the cancer treatment team. However, a higher degree programme in Medical Physics was previously not available in Hong Kong or nearby regions.
To meet the future demand for Medical Physicists, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has, this academic year, launched the first Master of Science in Medical Physics (MScMP) programme in Hong Kong. The curriculum is designed to cover various aspects including health technology, physics and engineering, offering interdisciplinary training for professionals who are keen to pursue a career in the field of medical physics.
High demand for cancer treatment Creating local training opportunities
The ageing population in Hong Kong poses immense challenges to the local healthcare system and the rising demand for cancer treatment is one of them. To maintain the quality of healthcare services, it is essential to have more qualified professionals in the workforce.
There are about 150 Medical Physicists currently practising in Hong Kong, serving at the Hospital Authority as well as in public and private hospitals. They possess both physics and medical expertise, playing a vital role in diagnosis and the formulation of treatment plans, as well as ensuring proper operation of equipment to achieve the treatment goal.
The Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of PolyU stated with the advancement of technology and patients’ growing expectation of higher service standards, there is a need for the additional workforce. Besides those working on the frontline, experts in innovative health technology at the back-end to achieve effective treatment are needed. Thus the new masters programme in medical physics will both prepare students for a career in medical physics and help to promote the development of the field itself.
Leveraging interdisciplinary expertise Striving for the well-being of patients
Medical Physics is an interdisciplinary field that crosses the boundaries of medicine, physics and engineering. The Head of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics of PolyU pointed out that the demand for radiotherapy is ever-increasing.
In Hong Kong, cancer has long been the leading cause of death and radiotherapy plays a crucial role in cancer treatment. In the past, no dedicated master programme was offered by local institutions, and people have little understanding of the role of the Medical Physicist.
It is hoped that through this new programme, more people will understand the importance of medical physics and hence help to open new research areas in this field.
The programme leader and Professor of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, added that the programme is taught by an interdisciplinary team, striking a good balance between theory and practice by incorporating modules in health technology and informatics, applied physics, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering and computing. The aim is to broaden students’ perspectives in medical science and technology development and equip them with professional knowledge, relevant skillsets as well as research capabilities.
The Vice President (Education) of PolyU noted that the university is considering switching some of its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from single-disciplinary to interdisciplinary, to better address societal needs. This new MScMP programme is a good example of PolyU’s interdisciplinary efforts. Thus, while students enrolled on this programme already have a bachelor’s degree in a specific discipline, they can acquire new professional knowledge in the areas of health technology, physics and engineering, and create a synergy of different subjects. This will provide a solid basis upon which they can develop a career in the field of healthcare.
Contribute to the community with medical physics knowledge
According to the President of the Hong Kong Association of Medical Physics half of the practising Medical Physicists in Hong Kong obtained a relevant higher degree overseas, while the other half pursued their master degree in physics or engineering in Hong Kong, and received “on-the-job” training while working as a Resident Physicist.
He is encouraged to see the launch of the first MScMP programme at PolyU, noting that Medical Physicists play a pivotal role in a medical team, although they spend most of their time behind the scenes, they are irreplaceable in the planning and implementation of cancer treatment. They are responsible for formulating treatment plans, calculating radiation doses, as well as testing and monitoring equipment to ensure that all arrangements are perfectly executed.
Currently, the minimum entry requirement for Resident Physicists in Hong Kong is a master degree in medical physics, physics or engineering-related subjects. While working as a Resident Physicist in a hospital, one can start taking a three-part professional examination. Generally speaking, it takes about four to five years to attain certified recognition as a Medical Physicist.
Adoption and convergence of cloud, virtualisation, cybersecurity technologies, etc. have caused a dramatic change in the financial services industry significantly impacting its functioning. Further, most organisations were already on their digital journey when the pandemic hit – forcing a seismic shift in urgency and scope of the transformation.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 22 September 2020 engaged delegates from the financial services industry across ASEAN to better understand the impact of digital disruption in this sector. The session witnessed overwhelming attendance and engagement from senior digital executives, keen on sharing and learning more about this timely and highly relevant topic.
The pressure to transform digitally should not out innovation on a back seat
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia.
Mohit concurred that the financial sector industry was seriously hit during the pandemic and were, for the most part, reactive in their response.
Before COVID, organisations were working hard balancing different aspects of their business – regulations, stakeholders, customers, employees – in a F2F, physical context. With strict stay-at-home, remote working and quarantine measures in place, almost all fiscal and commercial transaction transitioned online. The need to go digital almost immediately, besides managing the regular aspects of business, has put the financial sector under immense pressure.
Under such pressure, Mohit cautioned delegates, organisations must not hold back on innovation. In fact, the industry should look at the pandemic as an opportunity to pivot – to ramp up digital transformation.
None the less, in this expedient endeavour, operational resilience must be maintained and security strategies must be reassessed. Existing protocols and processes must not only be maintained but need to be strongly augmented – adding new chapters as appropriate and necessary.
Mohit encouraged delegates to prioritise the well-being and happiness of employees as much as that of their customers. In urgent times like these, it is a well-trained, motivated and committed workforce that will help organisations stay afloat and thrive.
In closing, Mohit advised delegates to must partner with the right people who are experts in this field, it if they want to correctly balance the different aspects of their business efficiently and have a smooth transition into the digital world.
Empower and augment employees to achieve operational resilience
Elisha Harrington, Head of Financial Services Innovation, ServiceNow shared her insights with the delegates.
Elisha spoke about operational resilience as a driver of transformation and coordinated delivery of business outcomes. She echoed Mohit’s sentiments about financial institutions being under a lot of pressure as they were pivoting to paradigms that were unknown to them.
They had to deal with technological shortcomings, cybersecurity issues, connectivity gaps, compliance requirements, etc. along with adjusting to remote working. In such an environment, operating at scale necessitates that employees collaborate across teams and work with each other virtually.
Elisha opined that operational resilience comes down to an institution’s ability to absorb shock and set out risk tolerances for those parts of the business that are highly critical to its survival.
The strategy to survive she proposed, and indeed, thrive rests four main pillars: People, Technology, Facilities and Supplies. These pillars need to be in place and need to be consistently and continuously improved.
Additionally, technology and supplier resilience are critical in keeping organisations going. Elisha outlined three major components under this:
- Technology Supply Chain
- IT resilience and Outsource
- Cost of Resilience
Elisha concluded by highlighting the need to transform the risk and controls management across the organisations. To successfully transform, there needs to be integrated risk management which coupled with workflow optimisation will lead to better customer outcomes.
Digitisation is essential to serve customers effectively and efficiently
Kaspar Situmorang, Executive Vice President & Head, Digital Center for excellence at PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia spoke to the audience from a scale of operations perspective. For organisations serving a large number of customers more effectively and satisfactorily, Kasper felt, it is imperative to go digital.
To underscore his position, he then shared that his organisation’s digital transformation strategy that has two major focus points: First is digital business optimisation, that focuses on increasing efficiency and productivity by bringing in new business processes. The second is making the business digital, that includes creating new business models, generating new revenue streams and improving gross margins.
Kaspar stressed that good customer experience in both digitising and digital is their organisation’s top priority. To do that, they utilise AI as to both expand their customer base and better the customer experience.
He listed five critical competencies in which they invest heavily to grow: People with the right customer-centric mindset, Open Innovation Ecosystem, Data-driven organisation, Agile way of working and Scalable, reliable and secure technology
In conclusion, Kaspar shared the transformation framework of his organisation that comprises:
- Digitising core: Digitising their existing services. transactions and business processes
- Digital Ecosystem: Building an ecosystem to offer products and services beyond core business
- New Digital Propositions: Creating and launching an independent greenfield digital bank in Indonesia
He also shared various examples of the products and services under the above three categories to give delegates a better understanding of their work.
After Kaspar’s presentation, it was time for a more interactive and engaging session. The delegates were polled with a series of questions that was the foundation for discussion around the topic.
On the first question regarding major challenges faced by their organisation in operational resilience, a majority of delegates voted for lack of definition for ‘client business Services’ across organisations (30%).
A senior executive from Malaysia shared that it was imperative that the top management, (who grant the budget and the IT personnel in an organization), are aligned in one direction; if they are not aligned then there will be a lot of ambiguity around the business goals and objectives.
On the next question regarding the most important consideration for the future of their organisation, over half (52%) of delegates voted for data-driven decisions, i.e. using insights from big data and advanced analytics in workforce decision making.
A delegate from Singapore shared that he chose this option because he has observed that while there is a lot of data, it is not easy to assimilate and draw insights from it. So that is a journey they need to undertake.
On the final question about the need to do things differently in your organisation, the largest section voted for creating a better digital experience for customers (37%).
A delegate reflected that they chose the above option because it is a changing environment for the customers as well. Due to the pandemic, they want to go more and more digital. They want to avoid coming to the branch physically for things. So, the focus is on creating a better digital experience for customers.
After the polling session, Elisha addressed the audience with closing remarks. She thanked all delegates for their participation in the session.
Elisha concluded that if organisations have a good handle over their system, service health and necessary automation in place, they have the ability to start to innovate the core business services. This allows employees more time to add value to the core rather than spending time resolving simple/routine problems or getting lost in too many fragmented systems. This is the ultimate goal of service excellence.
She signed off by reminding delegates that ServiceNow solutions can assist and support them in attaining this goal and encouraged them to reach out to the ServiceNow team to explore ways they can collaborate.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) announced that a strategic partnership has been forged with the National Sports Institute (ISN) to help improve the diet of Malaysian athletes through the development of a mobile application, iDiet Score.
The IDiet Score is a mobile application was designed to help athletes and active individuals monitor their food intake through menu plans devised using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Going forward the application can be developed is one of the products developed by UKM scholars that can be commercialised relatively soon. It is hoped that the project will wrap up development in December 2020 and then the next grant (which is a marketing grant for commercialisation) can begin to be discussed.
The ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Youth and Sports. Also present was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs at UKM.
Approximately 50 ISN athletes were involved in research which focused on endurance, rhythmic, strength and other active individuals. These active individuals included people who went routinely to fitness centres or gyms and who were keen on clearly defining their needs. While the application was created with athletes in mind, any tier of active individual can download the app.
A total of eight UKM researchers were involved in the project, six from the Faculty of Health Sciences and two from the Faculty of Technology and Information Science, while two were from ISN. The iDiet Score application was developed by the UKM Information Technology Center appointed as a vendor.
The ISN Chief Executive Officer stated that as a national sports institute, ISN is continually seeking to expand its strategic networks and collaborations holistically through collaborations with various domestic and foreign entities including government and private agencies.
He noted that ISN officially has entered into cooperation through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four public universities, namely IIUM, UPM, UKM and UTM. These collaborations will see cooperation in the fields of services, research, sports science, innovation, sports medicine and commercialisation in various fields that are the core business of ISN. The agency is ready to build a balanced relationship with more strategic partners collectively in the future.
According to another article, the National Sports Institute of Malaysia (ISN) and Futurise Sdn Bhd (Futurise) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at developing a regulatory framework within the sports market for sports technology and advancements that can potentially allow a new ecosystem to be established.
Futurise is a company under the Ministry of Finance that focuses on innovation, regulation and commercialisation. In collaboration with ISN, the company aims to ensure that there is a continuous effort in developing regulatory frameworks for sports be it the sports technological improvements, new guidelines or policy issues.
There is a huge prospect in the sports market that can be transformed into a potentially lucrative ecosystem in Malaysia, with technological advances, the Futurise CEO stated.
The MOU will see the two parties identify and explore potential collaboration towards building a sustainable business model and pilot innovative solutions within the sports technology space. While Futurise, through the National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS), will work on exploring innovation-friendly regulatory approaches for emerging solutions and business models developed by ISN partners and ecosystem participants, ISN will be looking towards providing expertise in the area of R&D with regards to sports technology and innovation. Currently, Futurise is in a preliminary discussion with one of ISN’s partners to address their regulatory issues.
The Futurise CEO concluded that the sports industry is incredibly diverse. Very shortly, the Malaysian sports market has the opportunity to be an ecosystem that will fuel new markets that attract investors looking to enter the sports investment landscape. The firm aims to contribute to the strengthening of technology innovation in sports for Malaysia and we look forward towards a fruitful partnership with ISN.
Researchers from the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute have received a share of $1.5 million from FightMND to further investigate the causes and treatments for motor neurone disease (MND).
MND is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that causes motor neurons, the pathways between the brain and muscles, to degenerate and die. The disease develops when proteins in the body become misshapen, clump together, and block the pathways. MND is rapidly progressive and leaves patients with the inability to walk, talk and eventually breathe.
A professor at the University of Wollongong has received a $1 million Drug Development Grant to further his research into the condition, which focuses on a potential new therapeutic strategy. The Professor said the grant will fund a post-doctoral researcher and a research assistant, to test a combination therapy that they hope will be effective in familial and sporadic MND.
The scholars believe that a three-pronged approach targeting distinct and complementary aspects of the underlying molecular causes of MND will be a more effective approach. The researchers were also awarded a $250,000 Impact Grant over two years to investigate the deposits that cause MND.
Both scholars will use the funding to utilise a new form of technology that takes a closer look at single protein molecules. They plan to use these technologies to look at the toxic proteins that build up in MND patients and want to define how the shape of the proteins may give rise to MND and characterise differences between patients.
By knowing the shape that these proteins take, the researchers can identify specific parts of the proteins to target with therapies. They not only want to examine the potential causes, but also the potential treatments for MND. In the next phase of the investigation, they hope to see improvements in their research output and also in their capability to examine drugs for translation into patients.
In addition, an Associate Professor was awarded $250,000 over two years to fund stem cell research, investigating whether electrons could reverse the effects of cells affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a specific type of MND.
According to MND Australia data from 2015, an estimated 2000 Australians are living with MND. With 400 new sufferers being diagnosed each year, the numbers of existing patients remain low due to the rapid mortality induced by MND. There is currently no known cure or effective treatment for the condition.
All grant funding was provided by FightMND, a not-for-profit group that funds and supports research into the disease. The group recently announced a commitment of $10.68M in a major funding boost to MND research to propel the fight to find effective treatments and a cure for the disease, with 16 individual new research projects with some to begin as early as October 2020.
This commitment takes the total funds invested in MND research initiatives by FightMND to $48.45 million since the Foundation began in 2014.
Among the new projects funded are eight IMPACT grants which support projects aimed at improving and accelerating the process of bringing new treatments to Clinical Trials while seven Drug Development projects and one Clinical Trial also feature among the projects funded.
One of the impact projects under the funding scheme is for the development of blood-brain barrier penetrating peptides by a doctor at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health within the University of Melbourne.
This project aims to address this critical issue by developing a drug delivery platform technology for safe and efficient drug delivery into the brain and spinal cord. The effectiveness of this drug delivery system will be tested by delivering three different classes of drugs into the brain and spinal cord.
The expected outcomes of this project will be a safe and innovative drug delivery technology that allows drugs to reach their targets at sufficient amounts to achieve the desired therapeutic effects.
Additionally, this delivery system is minimally invasive compared to current technologies, such as intrathecal injection, currently being used in the clinic. Overall, the outcomes of this project will have a significant potential to provide therapeutic benefit for this devastating neurodegenerative disease.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has launched a campaign to review and remove malware nationwide this year. It aims to enhance the country’s network security.
The campaign intends to reduce the malicious code infection rate by 50%. It also aims to cut the number of Vietnamese IP addresses in ten popular botnets – a collection of internet-connected devices infected by malware that allow hackers to control them – in half.
The National Digital Transformation Program, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in early June 2020, notes that ensuring network safety and security is key to digital transformation. All IT equipment, products, software, information systems, and investment projects have mandatory components on network safety and security. The ministry has clarified cyber safety and security as aprerequisite for e-government development and digital transformation.
According to security firms, malware infection in Vietnam has decreased but remains high when compared to other countries. Statistics showed that the country has about 16 million IPv4 addresses, of which about three million IP addresses are regularly blacklisted by many international organisations, while two million IP addresses are regularly found in botnets.
The campaign will allow people to use malware prevention software for free. A representative from the ministry’s Department of Information Security said the campaign is for businesses and home network systems and equipment. The group accounts for most of the IP addresses. The campaign would also contribute to improving the country’s reliability in e-transactions, thus promoting socio-economic development and contribute to ensuring national defence and security.
The department would work with VNPT, Viettel, CMC, FPT, BKAV, and Kaspersky to implement the campaign. The project would assess ten major botnets that need to be treated with priority, build, and deploy tools on a large scale, whereby users get free downloads to inspect and remove malicious code from their computers.
After the campaign, the department will evaluate results and plan future campaigns accordingly. The campaign has been implemented in all provinces and cities from the local to the central level, through specialised IT units of ministries, branches and localities, state groups and corporations, and commercial banks and financial institutions.
Additionally, it has received support from organisations, corporations, and major security firms such as Kaspersky, Group-IB, FireEye, F-Secure, and ESET. The campaign has been implemented gradually. The ministry hopes it will achieve positive results, contributing to clean malware from Vietnam’s cyberspace. This will help ensure safety for transactions of agencies and enterprises, as the country is accelerating digital transformation towards the development of digital government, digital economy, and digital society.
In August this year, the Department of Information Security recorded 517 cyberattacks on information systems (199 phishing cases, 160 deface attacks and 158 malware attacks), falling 0.77% over the previous month. The number of Vietnamese IP addresses in botnet networks is over 2 million, a decrease of 0.03% compared to July. The number of recorded cyberattacks, warnings, and the number of botnet IP addresses showed a slight decrease in the last three months.
The decrease was due to the department continuing to strengthen the recording, warnings, and instructions on information security. However, cyber attackers have still taken advantage of concerns about the pandemic to increase the spread of malicious code. The number of IP botnets compared to the same period last year was still at a high level. To ensure network security, the department will strengthen the monitoring and active scanning of the country’s cyberspace.
The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia announced that through the Center for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (CTERM) it will be collaborating with one of Malaysia’s leading active live stem cells provider and a laboratory equipment supplier based in Wales to enhance stem cell research, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in providing alternatives to contemporary solutions.
The Vice Chancellor of UKM stated that such cooperation will be able to promote the latest research and technology products in the field to be brought to the community. As a research university, UKM has invited various parties to participate in collaboration either directly or indirectly, especially in conducting stem cell research and bring this research for clinical use.
With the technology and skills possessed by both parties, resources, data and information on medical research will be shared and produced as an added value, the Vice-Chancellor stated when delivering a speech at the Contract Manufacturing Agreement Signing Ceremony between UKM and the two agencies at a leading hotel recently.
It is hoped that through the collaboration, safe, efficient and effective alternative methods can be developed and produced through the sharing of expertise in their respective fields.
The agreement aims to facilitate the stem cells provider to use clean rooms with cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) at CTERM to produce stem cell products that are at a good level, quality and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) to consumers.
CTERM is one of the reference centres for research in regional tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. CTERM Cell Tissue Technology Laboratory is a laboratory that has an advanced clean room and is equipped with equipment that is constantly monitored and calibrated in a controlled manner.
The biotechnology company is the leading provider of active living stem cell companies in Malaysia, focusing primarily on the provision of stem cell therapy to leading aesthetic clinics and hospitals worldwide. The company also collaborates with pioneer researchers around the world in the regenerative medicine industry and is at the forefront in the development of advanced and advanced technology.
The promising future of stem cell research in Malaysia
Stem cell research in Malaysia is poised to develop quickly. In 2019, the global Animal Stem Cell Therapy Market size was US$31 million and it is expected to reach US$291.6 million by the end of 2026, with a CAGR of 37.3% during 2021-2026, one report found.
Another report noted that some skin, eggs and tissue samples are all that remains of Malaysia’s last rhino, Iman, who died last November after years of failed breeding attempts.
Now scientists are pinning their hopes on experimental stem cell technology to bring back the Malaysian variant of the Sumatran rhinoceros, making use of cells from Iman and two other dead rhinos.
A molecular biologist at the International Islamic University of Malaysia stated that he was “very confident” and that if everything is functioning, works well and there is adequate support, the task is not impossible.
The smallest among the world’s rhinos, the Sumatran species was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015. Once it had roamed across Asia, but hunting and forest clearance reduced its numbers to just 80 in neighbouring Indonesia.
Iman, 25, died in a nature reserve on Borneo island, following massive blood loss caused by uterine tumours, within six months of the death of Malaysia’s last male rhino, Tam. Efforts to get the two to breed had not worked.
The Malaysian scientists plan to use cells from the dead rhinos to produce reproductive cells that will yield test-tube babies to be implanted into a living animal or a closely related species, such as the horse. The plan is similar to one for the African northern white rhinoceros, which number just two. Researchers in that effort reported some success in 2018 in producing embryonic stem cells for the southern white rhino.
The future of stem research in Malaysia is promising. What remains to be seen is how the nation will rally around its scientists and researchers to further develop biotechnology.
With increased demand and far wider usage, the pandemic has significantly impacted the financial sector in a multitude of ways. With stay-at-home advisories and lockdowns in place, reliance on online banking and digital commerce shot up astronomically. And the industry had to keep pace with this transactional mushrooming to stay intact, relevant and to meet the consumer requirement.
The latest OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 18 September 2020 explored how the financial sector industry in the Philippines is coping with the new normal and how it can better equip itself to last the long haul.
The packed OpenGov Asia virtual hub was a testament to the relevance and timeliness of the session. Senior digital executives from across the sector joined in to discuss and explore what has been done and what can be done in the field.
Data compliance for financial organisations as essential as ensuring the flow of money in the economy
The event opened with a welcome address from Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia and a quick round of introductions.
Mohit set the ball rolling by sharing how the pandemic has created a lot of chaos in the financial sector industry forcing the leaders to make the digital transformation as much a priority as ensuring the continued availability money in the system.
Data intelligence and governance are key issues for ﬁnancial industries in the post-COVID-19 era. Data strategy – whether to have an integrated approach or a siloed outlook – is dependent on each organisation’s culture and it’s thinking on how to survive in the current environment.
At the same time, of paramount importance in the GDPR era is for organisations to make sure their data strategy is compliant to industry and privacy regulations.
Since data compliance is of such significance, Mohit concluded by advising delegates to partner with champions in the field rather than trying to do everything in-house.
Drivers and pillars of data governance in organisations
After Mohit set the tone for the discussion, Sachin Tonk, Director, Data and Privacy Operations, Standard Chartered Bank shared his insights.
Sachin began by charting the journey of data governance and where it sits today. Data evolution is very challenging as, not only, is it complicated and complex, but the rate of change is also very fast.
He went on to address the question of why we need data governance in the first instance. The rationale sits in two main categories:
- Internal demand that includes in-depth analysis, agility for growth and real-time operations.
- External demand that comprises new data products, GDPR, MIFID ll and M&A.
All the factors under these two umbrellas make data governance both tedious and, often, convoluted.
Sachin opined that data governance and privacy is going to be the biggest priority for organisations in the coming year. He expounded on the major pillars of data protection policy in any organisation.
The first being robust governance framework, policies and processes. This must be complemented by the second pillar I.e. proper awareness and training to create a culture with compliance in its DNA. He also added that security and IT technology come are the glue binding all components together.
Continuing in the same vein, Sachin spoke about the various essential actors involved in the governance process. Data owners, data stewards and monitors have to come together and collaborate to get the right spirit of data governance.
He then shared that the key to having a robust data governance policy is creating a catalogue of questions related to the actors. When formulating the ideal governance policy, he advised teams to go for small wins rather than opt for prototyping and then scaling up across the organisation.
In closing, Sachin noted that data governance was not a one-time activity. He emphasised the importance of monitoring progress and measuring the success of the governance policy and constantly working to improve it.
Data governance is becoming increasingly challenging and complicated for organisations
After Sachin’s informative presentation, Varghese Mathew, Business Director, Hitachi Vantara, Philippines, spoke to the topic at hand.
Varghese began by sharing some interesting statistics s about the challenges faced by organisations in the data governance domain.
Almost 74% of organisations have difficulty in evaluating quality and reliability of data, 61% have too many data sources and almost 90% need an intelligent data governance strategy.
Varghese further explained the need for organisations to have data governance in place in the current digital era.
The sheer volume of data makes its governance enormously complex, inevitably driving organisations to go tech in order to manage data more efficiently.
Other drivers include technological silos and regulations like GDPR, MIFID etc. Moreover, increasingly, countries are formulating their own regulations around data protection, making it tough for organisations to survive amid the complexity. Companies that are not compliant across the board pay a heavy price.
Varghese explained that the objectives of having a data governance policy are to manage the huge volumes of structured and unstructured data, the data being kept in silos within organisations, multiple business goals and the rapid speed and demand for compliance.
He then went on to share the Hitachi Vantara approach. The goal is to help businesses deal with different types of data silos and to make sure it is visible and governed well and on an intelligent platform where it can be analysed.
Their solutions help organisations ensure every bit of their data is available, insightful and actionable – making it easier to govern.
Varghese also explained how the Hitachi Vantara solution can help organisations make better sense of their data. It can help organisations save time and resources by not indulging in unnecessary data forensics, regulator reporting, etc.
He underscored this by sharing a case study where Hitachi Vantara helped a customer organise and make sense of their data. He shared how Hitachi helped Rabobank reduce time to discovery of data for governance and regulatory reporting by automating communication monitoring.
After Varghese’s presentation, it was time for polling questions and to involve the delegates in an interactive discussion.
On the first question regarding the current primary reason for data governance projects, a majority of the audience voted for compliance and regulatory requirements (46%).
A senior delegate from a major Philippines bank shared that she voted for compliance and regulatory requirements because once this is done, a better quality of information, data security and privacy will obviously follow.
On the next question about a centralised data compliance strategy, delegates were divided between, data being stored and managed centrally (56%) and some data being centralised while some are managed by specific department/country/ business (44%).
Another delegate shared that they voted for option one as their data is managed centrally and integrated in one place. Governance, data quality and analysis are done in one place for the consumption of management and operations.
On the final question about rating your organisation’s biggest concern in meeting GDPR requirements, a major chunk of the delegates voted for data protection: needing clearer details on how data is processed and secured with timely notification if data is compromised (57%).
A delegate reflected that data protection is the biggest priority of their organisation currently; with employees working from home, the data is more vulnerable to disruptions than ever before. Thus, it is very important to ensure that the data we are working on is fully secure and protected.
After the engaging discussions and deliberations, the session came to an end with closing remarks by Verghese Mattew.
He thanked all the delegates for taking their time and participation in the Virtual Breakfast Insight. He concurred that their ideas and reflections were in-line with the trends in the global space where Hitachi is operating. He also echoed their sentiments regarding the struggle faced by organisations to make their data accessible as well as keeping it safe and protected from a compliance point of view.
In closing, Varghese assured the delegates that Hitachi Vantara solutions were available to assist them in the same way as they have done for numerous organisations thus far.