With the growing demand for digital services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore allowed access to citizen services via a digitalised identification certificate called Singpass. The national digital identity is critical to achieving the country’s vision of improving the lives of citizens, creating opportunities for businesses and transforming the capabilities of government agencies. To do this, the government must ensure secure, reliable, and complete online citizen identity and centralisation of databases across different government services.
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, believes Singaporeans trust their government as, over the last 50 years, it has been working to instil confidence and create an environment of transparency. However, Mohit acknowledges this is an exception, not the rule as other Southeast Asian countries do not enjoy the same level of trust from their citizens.
Despite a quite high level of trust from Singaporeans, the government still needs to improve in many aspects, including data management. Mohit emphasises that it only takes one or two critical breaches to radically diminish faith. Therefore, the public sector needs to take this issue seriously.
OpenGov Asia had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Sascha Giese, Head Geek™ at SolarWinds, to talk about how the public sector can optimise and secure sensitive data. Sascha has more than 10 years of technical IT experience, four of which have been as a senior pre-sales engineer at SolarWinds. As a senior pre-sales engineer, Sascha was responsible for product training for SolarWinds channel partners and customers.
In the previous article, Sascha talked about transforming digital services in the public sector and how SolarWinds can help governments in their digital transformation journey. He explained most organisations, both public and private, want to increase their presence with more services and better access. Hence, they’re always exploring ways to provide more digital offerings across any platform and device—anytime, anywhere.
For this to happen, he says, the public sector must leverage technology across the entire gamut of services, from birth, education, and living to taxes, business, registrations, and more. Technology is no longer an enabler but a disruptor of business models. It can improve lives in a way previously unimaginable.
Digitalisation and Citizens’ Trust
Digitalisation at a national level, including developing secure digital services, must be a participatory process, The question is how can governments involve the public in the digitalisation process and bring citizens into the ecosystem? Mohit believes this will be the next step for Singapore to increase the trust of its citizens.
Sascha first acknowledges that in many countries, there is still a trust issue. This apart, one or two generations are still not tech-savvy, which hampers involving them in the digitalisation processes. Sascha feels governments need to explain the necessity of digitalisation in a better way—to all audiences.
The public sector needs to make sure nobody is left behind and everyone understands how digital services work. Governments need to be open and communicate to the public about the reason why they implement certain projects or initiatives. They must clearly spell out the specific benefits of digitalisation, so citizens are aware of the positive impacts of governments’ projects.
As citizens demand more digital services, the government needs to be using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to ensure agencies offer the right services seamlessly. The Cloud First initiative in the Middle East is a good example. IT experts deployed a multi-cloud strategy: sensitive data is kept on a …….