In the digital economy, business continuity is inextricably bound to technology. From retail and travel to finance and public sector, services being moved online and employees working remotely means businesses are more reliant on their digital infrastructure than ever before. While organizations can take steps to protect their digital services from incidents caused by user error, system failure, or cyber-attack, some events are beyond the control of any business. Extreme weather events, natural disasters, or regional power cuts can lead to downtime and loss of services.
Every minute of downtime could cause critical damage to the business, such as the loss of sensitive data and customer confidence. According to the Veeam Data Protection Report 2021, the vast majority (96%) of organizations in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) suffer unexpected outages and over one-third (36%) have experienced outages on more than a quarter of their servers in the past 12 months.
When such incidents occur, getting services and employees back online fast is of paramount importance. So, businesses must have a robust, well documented and tested plan with clear owners, roles and responsibilities, emergency contacts, and priority actions. As well as having a plan, businesses also need the technical capability to recover to their pre-incident state. This means recovering data, applications, and services fully, and doing so within a defined timeframe that minimizes impact on the bottom line. All of this amounts to a robust process businesses must go through to ensure they are fully prepared when disaster strikes from both a business continuity and technical recovery perspective.
Preparing your teams
The ability to anticipate and act is what separates those who succeed from those who fail. When it comes to preparing a business to recover from an unforeseen technology disaster, the ability to anticipate exactly what zero hour looks like and the next steps that need to be taken in that moment is vital. IT leaders must put themselves into that situation to understand how they should react, rather than wait for disaster to strike and find out how they do react. These realities can be incredibly different, so it’s important to simulate those events from A to Z before they happen.
Ultimately, the business is reliant on its data systems and infrastructure to fully recover its mission-critical applications within an adequate timescale. But before you get to this stage of recovery, you must prepare teams within the business who will take the key actions to initiate recovery. This can be broken down into stages depending on your organization’s needs. As a general rule, start by ensuring you have a full and up-to-date inventory of the applications and services currently deployed across the business. Once these are fully accounted for, think about prioritizing them in order of importance – aligned to the organization’s most critical functions. This is where you think about what applications you need to get back online first. For example, an online retailer may prioritize the recovery of its stocking and supply chain functions before getting its ecommerce platform back online. Whereas service-based businesses like solicitors and marketers may prioritize email and collaboration applications to enable communications across the company.
Once you understand what applications you need to bring back online first, you can think about putting together an action plan, which is written down, centrally stored, and backed up across at least two other forms of media, one off-site and one offline. These action plans need to be detailed and specific. They must also assume the worst. Assume that your lead sys-admin is on holiday or sick leave and his/her team need to restore data systems without their leadership. As well as key actions and instructions, the plan should detail contact numbers to reignite communication across the business. Who needs to be informed right away? Who will the IT team need to call to gain vital information? This must all be in the plan. Think about practicalities. Will a team of admins need to work through the night restoring servers in a data centre? What are they going to eat and will they need a place to sleep? The most detailed Disaster Recovery (DR) plans leave no stone unturned, including information from pizza delivery companies to taxi firms and hotels.
As well as preparing a plan for recovery based on the critical business functions which must be restored first, organizations must ensure that their data systems are fully protected with Backup and DR across all forms of storage. Off-site and offline backups of data help to mitigate the effects of disastrous events. Veeam advocates the 3-2-1-1-0 backup rule. There should always be at least three copies of important data, on at least two different types of media, with at least one off-site, one offline, with zero unverified backups or backups completing without errors. Of course, backup and DR are solutions are inextricably linked but we shouldn’t conflate the two. DR refers to a set of initiatives and processes designed to ensure the survivability of data, regardless of the scope of a calamity or crisis, with a focus on resuming IT services as quickly as possible.
Using Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) by a third-party DR provider, organizations can automatically test, document and execute DR plans in as little as one-click, recovering everything from a single application to entire sites. Going back to the planning process, businesses can choose the best protection method based on the Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) they need. The fundamental question and objective behind the DR plan need to be: How quickly does the business need to recover? Whether that refers to getting mission-critical apps back online or fully recover data in its pre-incident form. With DRaaS, customers can take advantage of a fully managed, monitored and secure method for protecting critical data, all without needing to maintain an off-site repository. All-in-all, DR best practice combines a business-led and IT-centric strategy for ensuring business continuity across the business. One cannot work without the other and given the reliance of organizations on their digital infrastructure, they need a robust plan as well as Modern Data Protection solutions that fully protect the business.
By Beni Sia, Vice President of SEA and Korea at Veeam Software
Amid the relentless surge of cybersecurity threats, governments and technology agencies must embrace heightened awareness and implement meticulous data protection strategies. The escalating cyber threats necessitate a proactive stance, where staying one step ahead is crucial to safeguarding crucial information assets.
In this dynamic digital landscape, where information is a commodity, governments must acknowledge the evolving nature of cyber threats and continuously fortify their cybersecurity measures. Rapid technological advancements bring new challenges, requiring adaptive and innovative solutions to balance potential vulnerabilities.
Collaboration between government bodies, regulatory agencies, and technology experts is paramount in fostering a collective defence against cyber threats towards data privacy. Sharing insights, intelligence, and best practices creates a robust cybersecurity ecosystem capable of anticipating and mitigating emerging risks.
To secure public information and ensure data privacy, Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, has initiated measures to combat leaks and the illicit trade of personal information. Recognising the situation’s urgency, the Minister outlined a comprehensive plan divided into three periods—30 days, six months, and 12 months.
During the first 30-day period, the Office of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDC) established the Personal Data Violation Surveillance Centre to investigate public information disclosures promptly. The operations conducted this November inspected 3,119 government and private sector agencies. The PDPC detected data leaks in 1,158 cases, leading to corrective actions taken by the agencies in 781 instances. Notably, three issues of personal data trading were uncovered, prompting investigations and prosecutions in collaboration with The Police Technology Crime Investigation Headquarters.
Simultaneously, the PDPC, under the directive of the Police Technology Crime Investigation Headquarters, expedited inspections of 9,000 agencies within the next 30 days. This initiative targeted government agencies deemed critical information infrastructure (CII), including those in the energy, public health, government services, finance, and banking sectors.
During the inspections, the cybersecurity systems of 91 agencies were examined. Of these, 21 were identified as having high levels of risk, prompting corrective actions by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
The third measure involves collaborative efforts between the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), NBTC, and relevant agencies such as the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Bankers Association, Thai Life Assurance Association, Thai Hotel Association, and the media sector network. The objective is to raise awareness about personal data protection and prevent potential risks from inadequate security procedures. This includes knowledge-sharing sessions on maintaining cybersecurity through Cybersecurity Awareness Training. The collaborative initiative emphasises preventing intrusion from outsiders, securing system settings, and enforcing the law within the purview of the authorities.
For the subsequent six-month period, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will expedite efforts to block illegal trading of personal information. Offenders will be actively pursued, prosecuted, and arrested to ensure a swift and effective response in safeguarding the privacy and security of individuals’ data.
This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to leveraging digital technology to fortify data protection measures and create a safer online environment for all citizens by partnering with other entities.
OpenGov Asia reported that Thailand is strategically addressing escalating cybersecurity concerns with a multi-faceted approach involving tech, partnerships, specialised task forces, public relations efforts and training programmes to fortify cyber resilience and foster innovation.
The Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, along with Professor Wisit Wisitsaratha, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, and ministry executives from affiliated agencies, recently conducted a meeting to review strategies to address cybercrime problems, notably personal data leaks. Thus far, Thailand has generated several ideas concerning cyber threats, particularly in financial cybersecurity. Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong has initiated several steps and frameworks to address these issues:
In a gathering in New Delhi that reflected the significance of the issue, the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services (DFS), under the Ministry of Finance, spearheaded a comprehensive discourse. The focus was on unveiling the challenges and strategising against the burgeoning threats of cybercrime in the financial services sector, particularly the surge in online financial fraud incidents.
Critical issues discussed encompassed the imperative need for enhanced coordination among police, banks, and financial entities for real-time tracking and blocking of defrauded funds. Additionally, strategies to tackle the proliferation of mule accounts, augment response times to handle alerts on online financial frauds, and establish regional/state-level nodal officers were highlighted.
The meeting also emphasised the necessity of a central registry for merchant onboarding and KYC standardisation, as well as the importance of whitelisting digital lending apps through stakeholder consultation. Progress updates on implementing recommendations, such as setting up the Digital India Trust Agency (DIGITA) and the proposed legislation known as the ‘Banning of Unregulated Lending Activities (BULA) Act,’ were also on the agenda.
Lastly, an overarching consensus emerged: all stakeholders, including banks and financial institutions, must prioritise customer awareness and sensitisation programs to bolster digital payment security.
Attendees, including the Secretary of Telecom and high-ranking officials from multiple sectors such as DFS, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Department of Revenue (DoR), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Department of Telecom (DoT), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Indian Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre (I4C), National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), as well as leading banks and financial institutions like State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, and others, converged for this pivotal discussion.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) from the Ministry of Home Affairs shared a concerning presentation. They highlighted the escalating statistics of digital payment frauds culled from the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP), shedding light on the diverse sources of financial frauds and the intricate modus operandi adopted by cybercriminals. This included exploring the challenges impeding efforts to counter these financial cybercrimes.
The meeting was not just a gathering of minds, but it explored preparedness. Participants assessed the readiness of banks and financial institutions to confront the escalating challenges posed by cyber threats in the financial domain. They delved into the rising trend of digital payment frauds and crafted a focused strategy to combat these attacks and scams head-on.
Moreover, key players like the State Bank of India (SBI), PayTM, and Razorpay showcased their distinct strategies for mitigating such fraudulent activities. SBI presented its Proactive Risk Monitoring (PRM) strategy, while representatives from PayTM and Razorpay shared their successful best practices.
Key takeaways from the deliberations included noteworthy statistics: 70 lakh mobile connections implicated in cybercrime/financial frauds were disconnected via digital intelligence platforms. Furthermore, a staggering Rs. 900 crore of defrauded money was safeguarded, benefiting approximately 3.5 lakh victims.
The meeting chaired by the DFS Secretary served as a pivotal juncture to fortify India’s financial sector against cyber threats. Collaboration among various agencies unveiled potent measures, disconnecting implicated mobile connections and safeguarding substantial defrauded funds. The discussions culminated in a roadmap to shield citizens from the insidious web of financial frauds, showcasing a unified resolve to combat cyber threats in the country’s financial ecosystem.
A research initiative spearheaded by the University of Wollongong (UOW) has secured a substantial grant of AU$445,000 under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects Scheme. The primary focus of this project is to enhance the security protocols for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, in the face of potential adversarial machine-learning attacks. The funding underscores the significance of safeguarding critical and emerging technologies, aligning with the strategic vision of the Australian Government.
Heading the project is Distinguished Professor Willy Susilo, an internationally recognised authority in the realms of cyber security and cryptography. Professor Susilo, expressing the overarching goal of the research, emphasised the deployment of innovative methodologies to fortify UAV systems against adversarial exploits targeting vulnerabilities within machine learning models.
Collaborating on this ambitious endeavour are distinguished researchers from the UOW Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. The team comprises Associate Professor Jun Yan, Professor Son Lam Phung, Dr Yannan Li, Associate Professor Yang-Wai (Casey) Chow, and Professor Jun Shen. Collectively, their expertise spans various domains essential to the comprehensive understanding and mitigation of cyber threats posed to UAVs.
Highlighting the broader implications of the project, Professor Susilo underscored the pivotal role UAV-related technologies play in contributing to Australia’s economic, environmental, and societal well-being. From facilitating logistics and environmental monitoring to revolutionising smart farming and disaster management, the potential benefits are vast. However, a significant hurdle lies in the vulnerability of machine learning models embedded in UAV systems to adversarial attacks, impeding their widespread adoption across industries.
The project’s core objective revolves around developing robust defences tailored to UAV systems, effectively shielding them from adversarial machine-learning attacks. The research team aims to scrutinise various attack vectors on UAVs and subsequently devise countermeasures to neutralise these threats. By doing so, they anticipate a substantial improvement in the security posture of UAV systems, thus fostering increased reliability in their application for transport and logistics services.
Professor Susilo emphasised that the enhanced security measures resulting from this research would play a pivotal role in bolstering the widespread adoption of UAVs, particularly in supporting both urban and regional communities. This is particularly pertinent given the multifaceted advantages UAVs offer, ranging from efficiency in logistics to rapid response capabilities in disaster management scenarios.
The significance of the project extends beyond academic realms, with Deloitte Access Economics projecting profound economic and employment impacts. The Australian UAV industry is expected to generate a substantial 5,500 new jobs annually, contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product with an estimated increase of AU$14.5 billion by 2040. Additionally, the research outcomes are anticipated to yield cost savings of AU$9.3 billion across various sectors.
The ARC Linkage Program, which serves as the backbone for this collaborative initiative, actively promotes partnerships between higher education institutions and other entities within the research and innovation ecosystem. Noteworthy partners in this venture include Sky Shine Innovation, Hover UAV, Charles Sturt University, and the University of Southern Queensland, collectively contributing to the multidimensional expertise required for the project’s success.
The UOW-led project represents a concerted effort to fortify the foundations of UAV technology by addressing critical vulnerabilities posed by adversarial machine-learning attacks. Beyond the academic realm, the outcomes of this research hold the promise of reshaping Australia’s technological landscape, ushering in an era of increased reliability, economic growth, and job creation within the burgeoning UAV industry.
In an era marked by escalating cyber threats, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is spearheading a pioneering initiative to fortify the resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Over the past few years, the frequency and impact of cyberattacks have surged, disrupting vital operations across various sectors. Notable incidents, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, have underscored the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, prompting a proactive response from CISA.
Recognising the evolving threat landscape, CISA is thrilled to unveil a groundbreaking pilot programme tailored to provide cybersecurity shared services on a voluntary basis to entities within critical infrastructure sectors. The initiative comes in the wake of escalating cyber-physical attacks that have demonstrated the potential to disrupt essential functions and, in extreme cases, threaten human life.
Having served as a managed service provider for the federal civilian government, CISA is leveraging its experience and expertise to extend support to non-federal organisations grappling with cybersecurity risks. Empowered by a new congressional authority, CISA aims to deliver enterprise cybersecurity solutions that enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure and contribute to risk reduction, cost savings, and standardisation.
A vital component of this programme is deploying CISA’s Protective Domain Name System (DNS) Resolver to pilot participants. Formerly exclusive to federal civilian agencies, this proven and cost-effective solution utilises U.S. government and commercial threat intelligence to preemptively block systems from connecting to known or suspected domains. The success of CISA’s Protective DNS service is evident in its prevention of nearly 700 million connection attempts from federal agencies to malicious domains since 2022, effectively mitigating risks associated with common cyber threats like ransomware, phishing, and malicious redirects.
By expanding the accessibility of its highly scalable Protective DNS service, CISA is extending critical cybersecurity protections to “Target Rich, Resource Poor” entities within the critical infrastructure landscape. This strategic move aims to provide essential safeguards that have proven instrumental in reducing enterprise risk across federal government agencies.
The ongoing pilot programme involves the identification of critical infrastructure entities interested in adopting CISA-provided commercial shared services. This phase serves to stress-test service delivery mechanisms, demonstrate the scalability of cybersecurity services, and establish CISA’s ability to efficiently acquire, deploy, and operate these services on a large scale. As part of its ‘Target Rich, Resource Poor’ strategy, CISA is collaborating with entities in healthcare, water, and K-12 education sectors during the initial phase, with plans to extend services to up to 100 entities by the end of the year.
In addition to technical deployment, CISA is fostering engagement through roundtables and information sessions with critical infrastructure partners across all sectors and regions. This proactive approach aims to comprehensively understand their unique needs, challenges, and existing capabilities, allowing CISA to tailor its shared services effectively. The insights garnered from these discussions, combined with the results of the Protective DNS pilot, will guide efforts to enhance support for the nation’s critical infrastructure organisations.
As the designated Cyber Defence Agency for the United States, CISA believes that delivering cost-effective, scalable, and innovative cybersecurity solutions to critical infrastructure entities is crucial to fulfilling its national cyber mission. The dynamic nature of the cyber threat environment underscores the urgency of collective cyber defence, and CISA stands ready to meet the evolving challenges, supporting entities in safeguarding the digital backbone of the nation.
In the digital realm, children encounter an abundance of online information and content. In light of this, Nezar Patria, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), emphasises the critical need for collective action among stakeholders to protect children from online risks and thwart digital predators’ attempts.
Since 2009, Indonesia has embraced the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) guidelines for safeguarding children in the online environment, with updates made in 2020. The guide is directed at four groups: children, parents/guardians/educators, industry, and policymakers.
These guidelines can be used to establish secure, participatory, inclusive, and age-appropriate digital environments for children, Patria stated during the opening of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Public Discussion Series in South Jakarta.
There are numerous threats that exist in the online realm concerning children’s internet usage, including exposure to negative content, cyberbullying, and data leakage. UNICEF data reveals that this year, there will be 175,000 new child internet users every day, equating to one child joining the online community every second. In Indonesia alone, a staggering 30 million use the internet.
Patria stressed the crucial role of AI, emphasising the importance of implementing automatic content filters and moderation to counteract negative content. AI can be used to detect cyberbullying through security measures and by recognising the patterns of cyberbullying perpetrators. It can also identify perpetrators of online violence through behavioral detection in the digital space as well as enhance security and privacy protection. Moreover, AI can assist parents in monitoring screen time, ensuring that children maintain a balanced and healthy level of engagement with digital devices.
Conversely, the presence of generative AI technology, such as deepfake, enables the manipulation of photo or video content, potentially leading to the creation of harmful material with children as victims. Patria urged collaborative discussions among all stakeholders involved in related matters to harness AI technology for the advancement and well-being of children in Indonesia.
He highlighted UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, emphasising it as a reference for safeguarding children in the digital realm. According to him, this recommendation includes discussions on the implications of AI use on children and outlines how AI governance can uphold the fundamental rights of children.
The upcoming generation, having been exposed to AI from an early age, is poised to become highly active AI users in the next 10-15 years. Hence, it is important to engage all stakeholders in crafting guidelines and addressing the potential adverse effects of AI on children.
Many countries worldwide share these concerns regarding the development of AI. Nearly every country is actively seeking ways to mitigate the risks associated with AI use, particularly concerning children. Various initiatives have been introduced to raise awareness about potential online dangers for children. “In fact, ITU and the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) from Saudi Arabia launched the Creating a Safe and Prosperous Cyberspace for Children Programme in 2020 which has two pillars, namely capacity building and policy support,” Patria explained.
Furthermore, in Vietnam, the government has held several press conferences calling for parents to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring what their children have access to online. It has encouraged parents to follow Vietnam’s principles of conduct in the network environment and ensure that their children only use applications specifically designed for them.
The northern province of Bac Giang is increasing efforts to enhance cybersecurity, strengthening its digital transformation journey. During the fourth quarter of 2023, the Department of Information and Communications plans to increase investments in equipment, software, and monitoring systems to secure the information systems and databases of government agencies.
The department will also partner with the Authority of Information Security, under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), to assess information safety and assign trusted network labels to the online portals of the province and its various departments and localities.
From now until 2025, the department will prioritise establishing operational procedures for the province’s systems. This will ensure the provision of regular updates that align with recommendations on information safety and security from experts. Operational procedures include conducting risk assessments, regularly monitoring potential threats and the early detection and warning of changes or attacks.
Simultaneously, initiatives will be undertaken to assemble a cybersecurity expert team, dedicated to timely monitoring, prevention, intervention, and resolution of security breaches and technology-related crimes.
The Department’s Director, Tran Minh Chieu, stated that the province will continue to implement the directives outlined in the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 14/CT-TTG, issued on 7 June 2019, targeted at bolstering cyberspace safety and security.
Bac Giang will roll out monitoring, evaluation, protection, and response activities for its information systems based on a four-layer model. This approach aims to ensure proactive adaptation, flexibility, and the minimisation of risks and threats to information safety within cyberspace.
The province will enhance and broaden its Security Operations Centre (SOC) system, connecting it with the national e-government support, monitoring, and management system. The system will assess risks, monitor and detect attacks, issue early warnings, and promptly respond to incidents related to information safety in the area.
The province will build and implement a system to quickly identify and detect legal violations in cyberspace. It will also direct organisations and businesses offering digital infrastructure and platforms to strengthen information safety measures.
During the third quarter of this year, the department guided agencies and units in the province to register for the use of information system security management platforms at various levels. Simultaneously, efforts were intensified to accelerate the classification of security levels for information systems across the province.
So far, the safety levels for 45 information systems managed by the provincial People’s Committee have been approved by the Chairman and the Director of the provincial Department of Information and Communications.
At the recommendation of the provincial police, the Chairman approved the organisation of a three-level online conference on ensuring network safety and security and protecting state secrets.
The province’s law enforcement force has received and investigated 13 high-tech crimes, resulting in damages exceeding VND 22 billion (US$ 910,408). They resolved an online fraud case where perpetrators posed as bank employees, offering online credit services and deceiving thousands of victims nationwide, leading to the misappropriation of approximately VND 30 billion (US$ 1.2 million). Additionally, law enforcement identified significant security vulnerabilities in 12 surveillance camera devices of the Ha Lang Railway JSC and detected 130 security errors in the electronic portal of Bac Giang Power Company.
Under the national cybersecurity strategy released last year, the government has been working to train and develop human resources in cybersecurity, raise awareness about cybersecurity skills, and secure funding to implement cybersecurity initiatives. It aims to foster digital trust and build an honest, civilized, and healthy network environment.
The era of automation is far from being a novel concept, with its roots tracing back a long time. Notably, innovations like self-operating robots and driverless vehicles, which once represented cutting-edge technology, have continuously evolved and are currently undergoing significant modifications and revolutions.
As the world embraces automation in various forms, the IT industry is at the forefront of these advancements, diligently crafting infrastructure using a cloud-native approach to support and optimise these automated technologies for enhanced performance and efficiency.
As is often the case with innovations, the adoption of a cloud-native approach is not a straightforward endeavour, as it comes with its unique set of challenges. IT teams frequently grapple with the intricacies of managing complex multi-cloud environments, which have become the primary repository for mission-critical data.
The journey is rife with complexities ranging from system performance and security vulnerabilities to application-related concerns. Consequently, teams often find it challenging to promptly detect and prioritise cybersecurity threats and performance issues, leading to potential disruptions or security breaches that may impact applications.
The complexity of monitoring and managing various devices on on-premises and hybrid multi-cloud systems can hamper the entire technology transformation journey. IT teams need the latest technology to ensure that all data and information is available in the right place at the right time.
The financial sector’s computing environment is characterised by its extensive reach, complexity, and critical significance, necessitating an equivalent level of visibility and functionality to maintain seamless system operations. Nonetheless, these are central challenges encountered by numerous organisations across a spectrum of industries.
The genuine concern lies in the potential consequences of leaving such issues unattended, as they can lead to the unauthorised extraction of valuable business data by irresponsible actors. This, in turn, poses a substantial risk to the company’s reputation and can result in substantial financial losses.
Research findings indicate that a significant 61% of enterprise IT leaders encounter challenges when it comes to addressing “blind spots” in monitoring, particularly within their multi-cloud environments, exacerbating the issue at hand. These elusive “blind spots” can lead to heightened risks due to the lack of an effective method for comprehensively monitoring and understanding the entirety of their infrastructure.
To address the array of challenges outlined earlier, organisations are relying on Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) and Observability. Both of these approaches can autonomously detect and mitigate emerging issues concerning the infrastructure and applications within a cloud-native environment. In doing so, they assist organisations in sustaining peak performance, swiftly identifying cybersecurity threats, and ensuring uninterrupted business operations.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 17 November 2023 at Voco Orchard Singapore discussed how financial institutions can gain real-time visibility over the entire IT ecosystem, enabling proactive monitoring, rapid troubleshooting, and informed decision-making to deliver uninterrupted and reliable services to their customers.
Mohit Sagar, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia acknowledges that AIOps, with its emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), offers robust automation and analytics capabilities, serving as a valuable solution for tackling the intricacies of the contemporary IT landscape.
By the year 2024, over 30% of business leaders will find themselves heavily reliant on AIOps platforms, underlining the substantial role AIOps will play in assisting companies in the management and optimisation of their operations.
He is optimistic about the ongoing expansion of the AIOps market, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 15% from 2020 to 2025. This robust growth forecast underscores the growing significance of AIOps within the realm of information technology, with organisations spanning various sectors expected to increasingly embrace it as a means to enhance their operational efficiency and overall effectiveness.
Mohit also underscores the significance of observability within the realm of IT management strategy. Observability is an approach centred on the monitoring of crucial, pertinent, and pivotal aspects of system operations. This approach aids organisations in upholding visibility into the diverse facets of the performance and experience of their applications, infrastructure, and overall IT systems.
Observability empowers financial institutions with profound insights into intricate systems, enabling real-time monitoring and analysis of data. On the other side, AIOps leverages the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate IT operations. The combination creates a synergistic approach that facilitates proactive issue resolution and optimisation within the financial system.
Mohit stressed that a holistic IT management strategy incorporating AIOps offers numerous substantial advantages for a spectrum of organisations, particularly in the context of the fiercely competitive financial industry.
In an era where efficiency, security, and innovation are paramount, leveraging AIOps can empower these institutions to streamline operations, enhance cybersecurity, and stay ahead of the curve in a dynamic and fast-paced industry. AIOps not only offers a cutting-edge technological edge but also positions organisations to offer better services and navigate the complex landscape of financial services with confidence and success.
Mohit elaborates on the critical nature of uninterrupted operations, emphasising that any instance of system downtime or malfunction can lead to dire consequences. These repercussions extend beyond missed business opportunities and encompass substantial revenue losses. In the ever-evolving financial industry, both customers and policymakers place a premium on services that not only exhibit efficiency but also unwavering reliability.
“Ensuring uninterrupted service is critical to maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, building and maintaining customer trust and ensuring customer loyalty,” Mohit affirms. “Maintaining a robust and resilient operational environment is paramount to meeting demands and ensuring the continued trust and satisfaction of stakeholders.”
Effective policies and sophisticated IT infrastructure management are critical foundations for achieving this. Financial institutions, as well as other organisations, must be prepared to face intense competition, and one of the keys to success is ensuring that their systems and services are always available and performing optimally.
Proactive monitoring and structured incident management are important strategies to ensure smooth service to create efficient operations. By leveraging the power of observability and AIOps, financial institutions can detect and address root causes, thereby reducing the ongoing impact on business operations.
AIOps in the financial sector offer a multitude of advantages, notably the enhancement of operational resilience within financial institutions. This, in turn, enables these organisations to provide their customers with optimal services, ensuring their competitiveness in an increasingly challenging business landscape.
“The implementation of AIOps equips institutions with the capacity to proactively detect, mitigate, and avert technical issues that might otherwise disrupt system and service performance, culminating in a seamless and dependable experience for their valued customers,” Mohit says. “This strategic advantage is pivotal for maintaining competitiveness in an ever more competitive landscape.”
Andrea Webb, Chief Customer Officer, SolarWinds Inc, underscores the significant economic potential and stability of the Asia Pacific region, setting it apart from other global economic powerhouses like the United States and Europe.
Inflation emerges as a fundamental differentiator between the Asia Pacific region and its Western counterparts, as highlighted by Andrea. In comparison to the United States and Europe, the intensity of inflation in Asia is less pronounced. This distinction holds significant consequences, given that inflation can wield a substantial influence on the economic stability of a region.
Asia has managed to maintain price stability, with the latest inflation figures hovering just above 2%. This remarkable feat suggests that the Asia Pacific economy has been successful in preserving economic stability, a key indicator of its potential for continued growth.
Andrea highlights the trend of declining core inflation in most Asian countries, except Japan. This trend reflects the prudent management of inflation in many Asian nations, fostering an environment conducive to stable and sustainable economic expansion.
The optimistic economic outlook in the Asia Pacific region serves as a catalyst for innovation and adaptation within the financial sector to meet evolving societal needs. With ongoing economic growth, the financial sector is positioned for rapid development, necessitating a crucial shift toward digital transformation to align with this expansion.
Andrea underscores that digital transformation is not merely an option for the financial sector; it is an absolute necessity across all levels of the industry. Leveraging multi-cloud solutions, for instance, can enhance financial services, enabling providers to offer more responsive and reliable services to their customers.
“However, the use of multiple cloud platforms can introduce complexities and challenges. Managing infrastructures that overlap with one another can lead to issues in integration and coordination of operations,” Andrea explains. “Differences in infrastructure, security policies, data management, and technology architecture among various cloud providers can exacerbate these challenges.”
To address the complexities of multi-cloud management, effective strategies and tools are essential. Organisations need to invest in management platforms that can help handle multi-cloud infrastructure efficiently, automate processes, and monitor system performance and security. A well-trained team with a deep understanding of various cloud platforms is an invaluable asset in dealing with this complexity.
Selecting the right cloud provider and multi-cloud architecture is also crucial to minimise overlap and complexity. Developing an architecture that enables smoother integration between different cloud services is a critical step in optimising the benefits of multi-cloud deployment.
While multi-cloud offers flexibility, resilience, and efficiency, it requires a concerted effort to manage effectively. This involves meticulous planning, selecting the right tools, and investing in the necessary resources to keep a multi-cloud infrastructure optimised and secure.
SolarWinds, with its observability and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) approach, is ideal to help overcome the complexities of multi-cloud environments. It offers observability and AIOps solutions tailored to address these challenges.
With these tools, organisations can monitor, analyse, and manage their multi-cloud environments more efficiently. They can understand how cloud services interact, identify problems quickly, and optimise system performance.
The Asia Pacific region continues to lead the way in innovation and is a source of potential and change for the world economy as a whole. Andrea’s perspective on the economic growth potential in the Asia Pacific region highlights the finance sector’s favourable prospects, positioning SolarWinds as a key player in simplifying multi-cloud complexities to harness the region’s potential.
Romil Sharma, the Group Head of Technology and Operations at Singlife, is pioneering a path towards cutting-edge technological solutions while remaining steadfastly focused on meeting the needs of the client, underpinned by a comprehensive strategy built on innovation, personalisation, and security.
A cornerstone of Singlife’s strategy is a commitment to investing in cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, Romil reveals. By harnessing the power of AI and data, the company can deliver tailor-made financial solutions that resonate with individual preferences. These technologies act as a window into the hearts and minds of customers, allowing Singlife to gain a profound understanding of their needs and behaviours.
Another crucial element of Singlife’s strategy involves nurturing a culture of ongoing innovation throughout the organisation. It firmly believes that innovation serves as the cornerstone for remaining pertinent in an ever-evolving digital landscape. The company actively motivates its teams to explore novel ideas and technologies with a dedicated commitment to enriching the customer experience through innovative and imaginative methods.
Collaboration plays a pivotal role in Singlife’s strategic approach, as the company actively seeks out partnerships with prominent fintech leaders and industry experts. This emphasis on collaboration reflects Singlife’s recognition that by joining forces with established players and experts in the financial technology sector, they can harness their collective knowledge and resources to drive innovation, provide cutting-edge solutions, and enhance their overall competitiveness.
“By working hand in hand with these partners, Singlife harnesses its knowledge and expertise to remain agile and adaptable in the ever-changing financial domain,” Romil asserts.
These partnerships provide Singlife with valuable insights, access to cutting-edge technologies, and a deeper understanding of industry trends and customer demands. It’s not just a strategic choice; it’s a manifestation of Singlife’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve.
By fostering these collaborations, Singlife not only expands its capabilities but also positions itself to better meet the evolving needs of its customers in an increasingly dynamic and technologically-driven financial landscape.
One notable aspect of these collaborations is the synergy they create. Singlife recognises that they can’t do it all on their own, and their partners bring specialised knowledge and capabilities to the table. Whether it’s the integration of advanced AI algorithms, innovative payment solutions, or breakthrough security measures, these partnerships empower Singlife to offer more robust and comprehensive services.
According to Romil, these collaborations are a testament to Singlife’s openness to innovation. By actively engaging with fintech leaders and industry experts, the company demonstrates a willingness to adapt and evolve. This dynamic approach allows Singlife to keep pace with emerging technologies and industry trends, ensuring that they can continue to deliver solutions that align with the changing needs and preferences of their customers.
Singlife’s collaborative spirit extends beyond technology alone. It also encompasses the collective intelligence of professionals who are passionate about shaping the future of digital banking. By tapping into this broader network, Singlife isn’t just embracing innovation but actively driving it.
Arjun Chib, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank underscores that handling various tools within on-premises and multi-cloud systems poses several challenges for organisations seeking digital transformation and operational efficiency. These hurdles include integration complexities, data silos, security and compliance concerns, scalability and performance issues, operational complexity, vendor lock-in risks, and cost management challenges.
Integration challenges arise from the need to coordinate diverse systems with varying protocols and data formats, leading to project delays and increased costs. Data silos hinder a holistic view of operations, hindering data-driven decision-making. Security and compliance complexities arise when ensuring data security and compliance across multiple cloud providers. Balancing workloads and resources across these environments is essential but can be demanding.
“To navigate these hurdles successfully, organisations must adopt a clear strategy that includes effective integration solutions, robust data management practices, stringent security measures, and a solid grasp of cost management,” explains Arjun. “Flexibility, scalability, and adaptability are vital elements of technology infrastructure to drive successful digital transformation and operational efficiency initiatives.”
At Standard Chartered Bank, the transition from manual to digital operations in a multi-cultural, multi-product setting is approached with a holistic strategy. Cultural sensitivity and inclusivity are prioritised to ensure that the diverse workforce is engaged and that all voices are heard, creating an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. Change management strategies, including clear communication, tailored training, and support systems, facilitate the transition and help employees adapt to the digital environment.
To optimise efficiency, the bank standardises technology where possible and employs data-driven decision-making to continually monitor and improve digital operations, Arjun elaborates. Feedback channels are established to ensure employees’ experiences and concerns are valued, allowing for necessary adjustments and improvements. This comprehensive approach ensures a seamless transition to digital operations while maximising efficiency within a diverse and dynamic work environment.
Bharat Bedi, Managing Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, SolarWinds acknowledges that in the rapidly evolving landscape of financial institutions, the dynamic interplay between team building and customer satisfaction underscores the importance of optimising the effective utilisation of observability and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations).
The connection between customer satisfaction and a collaborative approach is of utmost importance, particularly in the context of proactive issue resolution. This relationship becomes evident when considering how teams, armed with real-time data and predictive analytics provided by observability and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) tools, can identify and resolve potential problems before they escalate and negatively affect the customer experience.
By working together and leveraging these advanced tools, organisations can not only maintain high levels of customer satisfaction but also preemptively address issues, ensuring a smoother and more seamless experience for their customers.
Bharat believes this proactive approach not only mitigates downtime but also minimises service disruptions, fortifying customer satisfaction and trust. To sustain and fortify this customer-centric approach, financial institutions embed the customer perspective at the core of their decision-making processes, leveraging the insights gleaned from observability and AIOps data to optimise response times, minimise errors, and bolster service reliability.
“This unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction catalyses continuous improvement within financial institutions,” explains Bharat. “By actively addressing customer pain points and diligently making necessary enhancements, these institutions maintain a trajectory of elevating service quality, ultimately nurturing stronger, long-lasting customer relationships.”
To actualise this vision of customer excellence and operational efficiency, financial institutions can employ a set of strategic approaches when harnessing the potential of observability and AIOps within the realm of digital transformation.
The initial step is the alignment of these initiatives with customer-centric objectives, ensuring that technology improvements are intrinsically linked to customer needs and expectations. This involves leveraging observability to secure real-time insights into customer interactions and AIOps to proactively address issues affecting customers, with the overarching goal of enhancing the customer experience.
Bharat highlights that comprehensive data collection and analysis serve as the cornerstone for optimising operations, reducing downtime, and ensuring the delivery of a seamless customer experience. A cross-functional approach is essential to encourage collaboration between IT, operations, and customer support teams, facilitating the seamless sharing of insights and the prompt resolution of issues.
“In this journey towards customer excellence and operational efficiency, SolarWinds emerges as a trusted ally,” Bharat says emphatically. “SolarWinds offers a suite of customised solutions tailored to address the unique needs of financial institutions.”
SolarWinds’ observability tools provide real-time insights into IT operations and customer interactions, forming the foundation for data-driven decision-making, allowing proactive issue resolution, preventing service disruptions, and optimising the customer experience.
Bharat emphasised the critical role of observability in gaining real-time insights into systems and customer interactions, and AIOps in proactively predicting and addressing issues. These tools, together with a customer-centric approach, were identified as the driving forces behind resilient financial IT operations.
Collaborative teams, seamlessly sharing insights and collaborating across IT, operations, and customer support, are recognised as instrumental in this transformation. Besides, the customer-centric approach, marked by proactive issue resolution and data-driven decision-making is the path to enhancing customer satisfaction and improving IT operations and services.
“This approach ensures that financial institutions remain aligned with customer expectations and industry trends,” Bharat believes.
He acknowledged the pivotal role of SolarWinds in providing observability and AIOps solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of financial institutions. These solutions empower organisations to navigate their digital transformation journeys successfully, fortifying customer excellence and operational efficiency.
“With observability and AIOps as catalysts for change, the financial industry is poised for transformation, fortified by a customer-centric culture, and equipped to deliver superior service excellence,” claims Bharat.
Mohit underscores the essential role of observability in providing real-time insights into IT systems and customer interactions. When coupled with AIOps, it becomes a dynamic force for predicting and mitigating issues proactively. This synergy paves the way for elevated service quality and operational excellence, essential for future-proofing financial institutions.
Cross-functional collaboration emerged as a cornerstone of resilience, empowering organisations to harness the full potential of observability and AIOps. The seamless exchange of insights and prompt issue resolution were identified as vital components of a resilient financial IT landscape.
“The customer-centric approach was a recurring theme, emphasising that continual enhancement of IT operations and services based on customer feedback and data-driven insights is a pathway to building enduring customer relationships,” Mohit elaborates.
Security and compliance remained non-negotiable, given the sensitivity of financial data. Hence, observability and AIOps play a crucial role in identifying security threats and ensuring adherence to industry regulations, establishing trust and operational efficiency.
Mohit is convinced that the financial sector stands at the threshold of an exciting and transformative future, driven by observability and AIOps. Besides, technological collaboration is a driving force behind many of the advances and breakthroughs that shape every organisation. It encourages innovation, cost efficiency, risk mitigation, and global cooperation, ultimately contributing to economic growth and the betterment of society.