Introduction to Cloud in Singapore
Singapore is fast-becoming a global leader in cloud and digital technologies.
As the country accelerates towards its goal of becoming the world's first "Smart Nation", the Government is investing heavily in its digital agenda and is backing this up with a series of regulatory moves to drive innovation. Whether it is the "green light" to cloud computing that was issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2016, or the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy in 2017 that aim to "create a regulatory environment to support innovation and risk-taking", these developments have rightly been hailed as major steps forward for Singapore's economy.
Institutions and organizations across the city-state are benefiting from this innovation-friendly environment by leveraging new technologies to improve operations and services. Singapore's DBS Bank, one of the largest banks in Asia-Pacific, is leading the charge in transforming its workforce for the digital age. By adopting cloud-based productivity technology in the form of Office 365, it has enabled its employees to change the way they work, as well as make a major leap forward in mobility, efficiency and productivity. Meanwhile, Singapore's Changi Airport, one of the world's busiest by passenger numbers, is improving the availability of its baggage handling system through the use of Microsoft Azure. And in the education sector, PSB Academy is embracing agile applications such as Microsoft Dynamics to enhance workflow automation and gain even greater visibility into its over 11,000 student-strong institution.
These are just some of the growing number of examples of organizations, businesses and institutions that are adopting cloud technologies, not just for the efficiency and cost savings, but also to achieve strategic business objectives, enhance security and privacy and increase productivity in comparison to on-premises solutions.
Regulatory Deep Dive
As in many countries, the pace of cloud adoption in Singapore has, in the past, been hampered by concerns about the regulatory environment. The concerns focused, in particular, on the ability of cloud services providers to ensure compliance with a high level of security and privacy. This was a particular issue in highly-regulated sectors such as financial services, education, healthcare and the public sector. That has now changed as various new regulations and guidance across sectors make it clear that organizations can move to the cloud in a way that meets all applicable security and privacy requirements. Indeed, cloud services from leading providers such as Microsoft are now recognized for their ability to offer levels of security and privacy compliance that exceed those available via on-premises solutions of even the most sophisticated organizations. As a result of these developments, Singapore is regarded as one of the most innovation-friendly environments in the region for the adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing.
At Microsoft, we welcome these positive developments, which have brought greater clarity to the regulatory requirements for the adoption of cloud. In fact, we are pleased to have already participated in a large number of compliance conversations with customers and regulators across sectors, from becoming the first global cloud services provider to receive a certification across all three classifications under IMDA's Multi-Tier Cloud Security(MTCS) Standard though to partnering with major Singapore organisations such as DBS Bank on their procurement of cloud. Through these conversations, we have developed a broad range of materials to help our customers move to the cloud in a way that meets applicable regulatory requirements in Singapore, such as product checklists, which map Microsoft's cloud services against the underlying regulations, so that organizations can be confident that their use of Microsoft cloud services meets the necessary requirements. We are delighted to share these materials via this guide.
As in many other countries, the laws governing the adoption of cloud computing fall into two categories – general privacy laws and regulations that apply generally to all organizations; and laws and regulations that only apply to organizations within specific sectors.
The Personal Data Protection Act, Singapore's first comprehensive data protection law, took effect in 2014 and regulates the collection, use and processing of personal data. It imposes obligations on organizations concerning matters such as notice, consent and purpose, disclosures, international transfers, security, data retention, data subjects' rights of access and correction and subcontracting.
In addition to general privacy laws, specific requirements may apply depending on your industry sector. You can find out more about the requirements that apply in your industry sector by selecting from "Industries" on the top right hand corner. More industries will be added to this guide over time.
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