Singapore government agrees to implement measures to ensure data security

The Singapore government will be enhancing technology and processes to protect data against security threats.

However, “these can never be fully eliminated,” said Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean. The government will need to strengthen processes to detect and respond to data incidents swiftly and effectively, as well as learn from each incident.

Speaking at the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee Press Conference on November 27, SM Teo outlined five key recommendations by the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee – of which he was the chairperson. 

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The recommendations were the result of a comprehensive review of data security policies and practices across the public sector. 

SM Teo said the committee recommended that the government build data security competencies and inculcate a culture of excellence around sharing and using data securely across the public sector.

Frameworks and processes will also be enhanced to improve the accountability and transparency of the public sector data security regime. “We will ensure that our data security efforts are not one-off, but sustained and continue to evolve to address future challenges,” he said. 

In his reply to the committee and its recommendations, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the government accepts the recommendations. “Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy and a digital government. We need to use and share data as fully as possible to provide better public services,” PM Lee said in a letter to the committee. 

“As the custodian of a vast amount of data, the government takes this responsibility very seriously,” he added.

The Singapore government targets to implement the recommended technical measures in 80 per cent of public sector systems by 2021, and the remaining 20 per cent by 2023.