Published: Jun 11, 2024

driving AI adoption while maintaining trust using hybrid cloud


As governments embrace digital transformation, is a hybrid cloud approach the safest option to transition towards AI-enabled government? GovInsider hears from Vicardo Ng, Practice Lead for Hybrid Cloud, NCS.

Governments in Asia-Pacific are going all in on artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation. Singapore’s refreshed National AI Strategy aims to make the country a leader in developing AI solutions for the public good, while the Southeast Asian region is taking a proactive approach to nurturing AI solutions, reports East Asia forum.

Governments are adopting AI via established cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft. This helps them access machine learning (ML), deep learning, and generative AI tools, as GovInsider reported previously.

Many governments are adopting a hybrid cloud strategy that allows them to adopt cutting-edge tools via the commercial cloud while keeping the most sensitive data within on-premises systems.

NCS’ Practice Lead for Hybrid Cloud, Vicardo Ng, tells GovInsider how the company is working with clients to help them adopt AI safely via cloud-based platforms and the key considerations that need to be looked into for a safe and secure hybrid cloud strategy.

Moving to the commercial cloud and tapping solutions can be a daunting task for government agencies, says Ng. This is why NCS recommends that agencies consider a hybrid cloud approach, where sensitive systems remain on the private cloud while less sensitive systems are migrated to the cloud, he adds.

Adopting AI via the cloud with confidence

Agencies can embark on their AI journeys by working closely with cloud service providers, many of whom offer a range of AI development tools as well as foundation models, says Ng. He adds that government departments can use these models to create specific AI applications, while AI development tools can support them in creating specialised AI and ML workflows.

For example, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry worked with Google Cloud tools to develop a chatbot that public officers can use to retrieve data, while GovTech Singapore worked with AWS tools to create a whole-of-government AI and analytics platforms that agencies can tap on to automate ML workflows.

Over the past six months, NCS has partnered with key cloud service providers, including Microsoft and Google, as well as hardware provider Dell, to support public and private sector clients in accessing the latest AI technologies quickly.

For example, the partnership with Microsoft will enable clients to tap on pre-built Microsoft solutions, including generative AI applications and cybersecurity tools. Clients can also tap on NCS’ digital services to co-create AI innovations on Microsoft tech.

The partnership with Dell will also enable NCS clients to access generative AI solutions within on-premises environments, he adds. This will enable organisations to tap on AI even within more sensitive systems, explains Ng.

NCS has also signed an agreement with AI Singapore, Singapore’s national AI programme, to co-develop generative AI technologies to drive innovation and strengthen Singapore’s position in the global AI landscape, according to a recent press release.

 

Adopting hybrid cloud approach safely

As agencies embark on their cloud migration journey, Ng highlights five key safety considerations:

  1. Data security and privacy – prioritise the protection of sensitive data during migration and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
     
  2. Resilience and continuity – plan for business continuity and disaster recovery to mitigate risks associated with potential downtime or service disruptions during migration.
     
  3. Risk assessment and management – conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential security vulnerabilities, compliance gaps, and operational risks associated with cloud migration. Develop a risk management plan to mitigate identified risks and establish clear protocols for risk monitoring and mitigation.
     
  4. Vendor due diligence – select reputable technology solutions partners and cloud service providers with a proven track record of security, reliability, and compliance.
     
  5. Employee training and awareness – invest in comprehensive employee training and awareness programmes to educate staff about security best practices, data handling policies, and the importance of maintaining security vigilance during the migration process.

NCS offers cloud migration consultancy services for the Singapore government and has supported public agencies in Asia-Pacific in redeveloping systems to run optimally and securely on the cloud, Ng adds.

Educating and upskilling staff

Education and upskilling of staff is crucial for organisations transitioning to cloud-based environments, he notes.

Employees must be trained in the relevant skills to navigate the complexities of the cloud and uphold security best practices. The right training can help employees understand the unique security challenges associated with cloud migration, such as data protection, access management, and compliance requirements.

“There will always be malicious actors seeking to infiltrate your systems,” says Ng and adds: “To protect against adverse events, we help clients to implement established security frameworks and therefore uphold digital trust.”

As a technology partner for enterprise and public-sector clients, NCS seeks to ensure a smooth transition towards hybrid cloud and cloud-native end-states.

“Together with our clients, we can make tomorrow safer by harnessing the power of technology such as AI to create a more secure and trusted digital future for all,” says Ng.

 

This article was first published by GovInsider."


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