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No cloud migration is exactly alike. However, by partnering the right partner with in-depth technical skills, knowledge and experience that follow global best practices and compliance standards, any organisation can confidently make their migration journey smooth and secure.

TM One’s step-by-step guide to cloud migration

START

We diagnose and assess your readiness to migrate by:

  1. Facilitating the syndication with your stakeholders across business and IT to understand their motivations and desired outcomes
  2. Taking stock of your Digital Estate in
    1. Data
    2. Infrastructure
    3. Applications
  3. Assessing your risks and develop mitigation strategies
  4. Helping you define a cloud migration and adoption strategy (whether to maintain, migrate, or modernise), embedding cybersecurity and monitoring strategies

Guiding you through the development of the migration plan and project design by:

  1. Developing a process plan towards cloud from both tech and non-tech aspects
  2. Developing a migration solution and contingency plan based on the migration strategy
  3. Preparing all technical requirements and migration guide

Facilitating you through the migration execution:

  1. As you conduct enablement workshops for all stakeholders, getting everyone up to speed for migration
  2. As you prepare the digital assets and environment
    for migration
  3. As together we undertake the iterative process of assessing, deploying and releasing workloads according to planned waves or releases.

Retuning the migrated workloads towards your desired end state by

  1. Load testing migrated workloads and monitor performance and cost
  2. Retuning and reconfiguring migrated workloads to achieve optimised configuration and size
  3. Promoting workload to production upon your acceptance of performance and cost

COMPLETE

By implementing best practices in project management from start to end, TM One ensures a smooth migration journey for you.

We facilitate you in establishing and continuously building your cloud governance, which is aligned to your existing IT and corporate governance policies and other compliance regulations. Cloud governance guides the adoption process and helps to manage risks along the journey.

At TM One, our local certified cloud experts and end-to-end cloud professional capabilities enable us to support your cloud migration journey so you can focus on your business priorities.

HOMEGROWN SUPPORTEND-TO-END CLOUD SERVICESMIGRATION APPROACH
TM’s team of certified cloud professionals have a vast knowledge & experience of local migration, designing, developing, and maintaining data centres and cloud for decades.Our experts are with you throughout the migration process: from advisory, consultation, migration assessment, infrastructure design validation, migration services right up to managed services.TM One offers a vibrant and dynamic spectrum of migration services: Virtual to Virtual (V2V) Physical to Virtual (P2V) Physical to Physical (P2P) Virtual to anything (V2X)

For more information about Cloud Alpha’s cutting edge Professional Services please click here.

This infographic was published in The Edge weekly on 2nd Nov 2020.

In 1994, Bill Gates said that “banking is necessary; banks are not”. 16 years later, his words remain true.

The banking industry has seen an eruption of change over the past two decades: from cryptocurrency to blockchain, from biometric log-ins to customised services. Afternoons spent lining up at the bank to set up a new account are now only a vague, unpleasant memory.

Digital banking is set to impact individuals and enterprises across the country. GovInsider examines three (3) trends set to transform the banking industry.

Biometrics

Passwords are easily hacked or forgotten, and so are not a very good way of securing bank accounts. Enter a new way of identity authentication: biometrics. These verify customers’ identities with fingerprint scanners or facial recognition technologies, so log-in information can’t be stolen or duplicated.

In 2019, Hong Leong Bank introduced an eToken that allows their corporate and SME customers in Malaysia to authenticate log-ins and approve payments with facial recognition tech. This eliminates the need for a physical token.

The eToken will also be integrated with Hong Leong Bank’s mobile banking app to create a more seamless experience. Customers can confirm transactions with just a “single tap”, according to the bank’s website.

This new service is expected to have a significant impact on customers’ banking experience. In the financial year before the app’s release, Hong Leong Bank processed more than 27 million transactions through its business internet banking platform. More than eight out of ten corporate and SME transactions were completed online.

This initiative was driven by the bank’s commitment to innovate around customer needs and preferences. “The introduction of facial recognition eToken is based on our understanding and insights on customers’ pain points when using a physical dongle and conventional passwords, which can be misplaced or forgotten,” said Yow Kuan Tuck, the bank’s Managing Director, Business Corporate Banking.

Besides using physical biometric features to authenticate log-ins, banks can also use behavioural biometrics to detect potential fraud, wrote BiometricUpdate.com. Banks can study how a customer usually interacts with their account, such as what time they usually log in, and the average value of their transactions.

The behavioural biometrics software alerts security teams on any drastically different behaviours, which may be a sign of a fraudulent transaction. They can decide to block the transaction or ask for additional authentication from the user.

An upside to behavioural biometrics is that there are no privacy concerns, according to BiometricUpdate.com. Each user’s behavioural data is converted to a mathematical representation, which holds no value for criminals.

Personalised services

Could a banking app suggest personalised promotions the way Netflix gives movie recommendations? With transactions moving towards more online, it’s much easier to observe customers’ cashflow, searches, app usage, location and even the demographic variables, wrote Silicon Valley Innovation Center. This information holds precious insights into customer behaviour.

Singapore startup Crayon Data’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine allows businesses to suggest updates and services that suit customers’ needs and lifestyle. This helps businesses engage with customers better, which improves response rate, loyalty and frequency of card usage.

Crayon Data focuses on serving lifestyle-related businesses, such as banks, telcos and retailers. These industries have access to multitudes of customer data, but don’t have the ability to make the most out of them, wrote The Business Times.

The startup’s simplified solution analyses banks’ data to create a personalised profile for each customer, based on their preferences. This can be done within a week. Banks can then use this profile to conduct more targeted marketing.

Using blockchain to address cybersecurity concerns

Banks hold reams of sensitive financial data. It’s no wonder that they experience 300 times more cyberattacks than other types of organisations.

Mobile and online applications have made payments easier, but they bring inherent risks. 78 per cent of banks in the Asia Pacific claims that real-time payment platforms have led to more fraud cases, according to a Jumio report. The report highlighted the need for additional identity and authentication technologies.

Additionally, Verizon found that web applications were the number one threat pattern for financial services data breaches in 2018, wrote Codete. Accenture found at least one known security risk in all 30 of the major banking applications it studied.

The most common causes of security vulnerabilities are insecure data storage, insufficient authentication, and direct code tampering, according to Codete. Internet of Things (IoT) presents yet more risks to digital banking. As nations move to become smart and connected societies, the large number of devices will increase the attack avenues for cybercriminals. Protecting these devices is even more urgent given the extensive volumes of personal data they collect, Codete reported.

TM One, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)’s enterprise and public sector business arm, uses blockchain to address these cybersecurity issues. Its Blockchain Secure Authentication (BSA) is a new password-less authentication method, allowing users to securely access their online accounts and to securely approve an online transaction over web or mobile. It does not require a password for authentication, simple to use, extremely secure and almost impenetrable solution, represents the next layer of defence in securing online businesses.

Blockchain is a secure way of storing digital information since its records cannot be deleted. TM One has partnered with Korean tech company FNS Value Co to become the sole distributor to rollout BSA in Malaysia and Indonesia, says Thaib Mustafa, Head of Cybersecurity services at TM One.

It is the first patented authentication solution using blockchain technology in the world. BSA provides a secure and trusted access to the web and mobile services – protecting customers’ personal data and information; prevent security breaches, data leakages, ID and Password brute-force credential or digital identity attacks, he added.

The pandemic has accelerated digitisation in all industries, and financial services are no different. Biometrics, personalised services and increased cybersecurity controls are set to bring Malaysia’s banking sector into the future.

Here’s how governments around the world are using the cloud to build better lives for their citizens.

Malaysia, Singapore and the US are among many governments announcing their intent to pivot their operations to the cloud in the next few years. What exactly will this mean for public services?

The Government services sector is different than the enterprise or corporate sectors because it impacts and is responsible to all citizens, totalling more than 30 million Malaysians as well as 10 million business entities. Needless to say, the amount of data it holds is massive and it is crucial to keep these data ultimately secure, said Ahmad Nazri Ambi, Head of Digital Government at TM One.

Cloud computing offers huge potential for innovating varieties of new services to support citizens and enhance aspects of the quality of daily life. Thanks to its ability to handle large volumes of information, governments could collect the Internet of Things (IoT) data and develop actionable insights to enhance efficiency and address various issues. The cloud also enables governments to quickly expand new services across different agencies, according to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), a public agency driving digital adoption in the country.

We explore how different countries have adopted the cloud to transform the way they serve their citizens by taking advantage of the cloud’s scalability.

1. Expanding digital identity services

Digital identity services have great potentials to enable the government to streamline their services and enable advances in service delivery. A citizen could pay taxes, book a hospital appointment, and apply for loans all in one place without having to re-enter personal information, which contributes to creating a more seamless experience.

Not only it will benefit the citizens - McKinsey research revealed that countries could unlock 3 to 13 per cent of GDP in 2030 by implementing digital identity programmes – as a potential result of increasing shift from the informal economy to the formal economy, increased employment and greater financial inclusion.

The opportunity for digital identity services has increased exponentially with technology advancements, greater access to smart devices, and lower implementation costs. We have seen many nations implementing such services, and initiatives such as the World Bank’s ID4D will help more countries build inclusive and trusted identity systems.

GovTech Singapore leverages the power of the cloud as it works with developers and partners to create more services that build on its national digital identity system. These services are built on a developer platform that is hosted in the cloud, which allows them to quickly scale up and build more services as demand from businesses increases, reports Computer Weekly.

The cloud also makes it easier for GovTech to manage ongoing projects. The agency receives status updates on the progress of each project, and the system automatically sets up a testing environment once the software is ready for trial. It also benefits from cloud analytics that provides key service statistics to aid GovTech in its decision making.

2. Predictive public services

Numerous events throughout history - including the current Covid-19 pandemic – prove that governments must adopt an anticipatory rather than a reactive stance. After all, as the adage goes, prevention is better than cure.

Advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence have enabled governments to stay ahead of tax evasions, floods, overcrowding in hospitals, and many more.

In the United States, residents of Kansas City now hit fewer bumps in the road. Thanks to data analytics, the city is able to predict potholes before they appear.

The city government uses existing traffic cameras to gather data on factors such as the age of the pavement. This is combined with information on the weather, traffic accidents or road maintenance to predict when and where potholes might form, reported Government Technology magazine. 

City leaders expect that this will allow Kansas to repair or resurface up to 70km of roads a year, up from only about 30 to 40km before. This technology is parked in the cloud – and is another good example of how the cloud can help governments quickly build all sorts of specific solutions to improve citizens’ lives.

As seen from Kansas City’s case, integrating a data analytics tool into existing infrastructure resulted in significant cost savings for the city. It is the added convenience of not having to install new equipment or find new power sources. Large amounts of data are stored in a central and accessible cloud and rapidly processed.

3. Emergency Financial Assistance

The Covid-19 pandemic has created turmoil across the global economy. Economic activities were halted and livelihoods were impacted, spurring intervention measures from governments. The Malaysian government has deployed several financial assistance programmes for individuals and businesses. The Movement Control Order (MCO) measures require that applications must be processed online.

This is where the government’s IT infrastructure was put to the test, noted Ahmad Nazri. “The government was swift to act by shifting several critical services that were previously hosted on-premise - and were facing the risk of overload to the cloud. This helped the services to remain accessible despite simultaneous access requests from millions of citizens.”

Shifting securely to the cloud

We’ve looked at examples of the broad range of uses made possible by cloud computing in the public service sector. Governments have been forced to recognise the advantages and efficacy of shifting their services into the cloud; however, security remains a top concern.

The cloud holds enormous potential for business efficiency and innovation, but also can create a 'wild west' of broader and more distributed environments for organizations to manage and secure, said Abhijit Chakravorty, Cloud Security Competency Leader, IBM Security Services.

According to an IBM study, the two biggest cloud security risks are data theft and ransomware. Organisations have to take a unified approach that combines both cloud and security, rather than rely on cloud providers to provide security.

That’s why governments have taken care to guide their agencies into safeguarding their networks during the shift to the cloud.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) released specific guidelines on how to choose a cloud platform. This includes advisories for organisations to carefully consider what services or data they can put on the cloud and to assess if a cloud service provider is reliable and competent.

As the enabler of Malaysia’s digital government, our own cloud platform, Cloud Alpha promises top-of-the-game cybersecurity and data sovereignty, so government agencies can rest assured that citizen data will be protected. Cloud Alpha is hosted in our highly secured Tier III data centre within Malaysia, so data residency is assured, Nazri explained when discussing the key features of Cloud Alpha. In the past, the government was obliged to host all of its data on on-premises infrastructure, but there is now a realisation of the potential power of the cloud for certain applications.

With Cloud Alpha, civil servants can seamlessly make use of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, big data, and blockchain to improve citizens’ lives. As the government is adopting an open data policy, a data lake stored and processed in the cloud will become a powerful source of insights and innovation for government services moving forward, concluded Ahmad Nazri.

When facing the next normal, leaders often find themselves hindered by limited data processing capacity, slow tech-building and ageing infrastructure. By shifting to cloud computing, government services and citizens are only one click-of-an-app away, many processes can be made more efficiently - with the bonus of innovative new possibilities to enhance and forging new services. The ultimate result will be better outcomes for citizens.

As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.

We have been caught off-guard by the unprecedented pandemic. However, Covid-19 can be looked at as a game-changer to accelerate the digital transformation of our nation. Until two months ago, the actual transformation has been rather slow for many. Now, companies are speeding up the adoption — which was either in discussions for years or put on hold — as they see digital readiness is no longer a choice, but a must.

Both organisations, in the private or public sectors, must rethink their strategies to invest in more integrated digital infrastructure to manage current disruptions and stay relevant in the future.

Viewing it in a wider context, the use of technology has seen a rapid uptick during the Movement Control Order (MCO). Many digital solutions have been innovated and are energising an ecosystem which were in a transitional stage of transformation. We have seen business behaviours reshaped, consumer activities shifted to online platforms, social and conducting business done across online conferencing tools.

By using robust connectivity, complemented by the most effective digital infrastructure, TM One is playing the role in providing the most effective platform to help drive Malaysia’s digital strategy forward.

Equipped with newly launched comprehensive digital solutions, TM One, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad is determined to help businesses rapidly adapt and continue operations in these challenging times. As an enabler of the Digital Malaysia, TM One is well-positioned to enable the ecosystem for digital society, digital business, and digital government.

In an exclusive interview with Ahmad Taufek Omar, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of TM One, the leader explains why with every crisis there comes an opportunity.

Without a doubt, technology played a key role during the MCO in keeping us connected and safe, Ahmad Taufek points out. We have witnessed an increase in cloud adoption as businesses leverage the power of the cloud to stay in operation and connected.

At TM One, we aspire to spearhead the digital transformation for the nation but as it turns out, the pandemic has accelerated many of our initiatives,” Ahmad Taufek says. When the government enforced the first MCO in March, I threw a challenge to the team to come up with a digital solution to help businesses during the pandemic.

Hence, towards the end of March, they launched TM One Cloud α (Cloud Alpha), the key enabler of the digital transformation for Malaysian businesses and public sectors. Its objective is to help organisations to reduce information technology infrastructure complexities towards cloud adoption and particularly to boost their resilience amidst the challenging times.

Ahmad Taufek Omar
Ahmad Taufek Omar, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of TM One

Forging resilience through optimisation and technology-driven strategies is crucial across industries”

Cloud Alpha’s robust and resilient infrastructure is hosted in our highly secured, Tier III certified, and global standards-compliant data centres within Malaysia.

“We want to ensure our customers are able to fulfil their data residency requirements, and ultimately, data sovereignty,” Ahmad Taufek explains, adding that customers then will have peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their business.

In a response to a question, the CEO also points out the key factor that differentiates Cloud α from other cloud services is the comprehensive offerings and multi-cloud offerings that provide flexibility to complement multiple deployment models customer’s cloud adoption strategy and business objectives.

Case in point was when our valued customer needed a scalable solution as a stop-gap measure for the temporary surge on their website. Cloud α was deployed as the solution and within one week, from capacity planning to deployment to testing, the government’s backend system was put in place to support the wave.

As with the recent collaboration with Huawei, it will enable TM One to offer an additional array of cloud computing services under the umbrella of Cloud α. With the additional of Huawei and existing collaborations with other hyper-scale cloud providers such as Microsoft, AWS and VMware will further strengthen TM One’s position as Cloud Aggregator and to become the leading Cloud Services Provider in the country.

“It is another testament of TM’s promise and prominent role as the enabler of Digital Malaysia aspirations.”

According to Ahmad Taufek this partnership will enable them to accelerate the digital services and solutions to the nation, forging ahead as the only Malaysian-owned end-to-end cloud infrastructure service provider.

This adds another milestone for TM One as they now have full cloud capability as a core offering to capture growth in Malaysia, which is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent in the next five years.

In May, when the government announced the extension of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), it meant that more Malaysians are beginning to return to work. This has raised its own set of questions, primarily on how businesses can ensure a safe work environment for its employees.

One such solution has presented itself. TM One, unveiled their smart digital health screening solution – TM One Predictive Analytics Screening Solution, or One PASS. It works by screening the body temperature of individuals as they enter business premises.

It is a purely local product developed by their own software designers, software architects and coders.

One PASS is aimed at providing business continuity for organisations to declare their building as a ‘safe zone’ to work by implementing state-of-the-art health screening solutions, Ahmad Taufek elaborates.

One PASS is a non-contact connected solution with three main digital service features such as visitor management, thermal sensors, and monitoring and contact tracing. The real-time digital solution includes an employee and visitor management app for self-declaration assessment and deployment of thermal cameras and sensors to check body temperatures prior to entering a building.

“We leveraged on the opportunity to launch two key products which are beneficial to the nation while working at home, Ahmad Taufek remarks proudly.

“In essence, this is congruent to TM One’s actual plans, where our role is towards the nation’s digitalisation process.”

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS KEY TO SURVIVAL

In this Covid-19 period, a digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses. It has become a necessity for operational efficiency and business survival.

International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that by 2020, cloud-based IT spending will reach up to 60 per cent on IT infrastructure and 60 to 70 per cent on all software, services and technology, whereas Global Data estimated Malaysia’s spending on cloud computing is RM10 billion.

The CEO is optimistic and remains committed. “TM One’s role as part of TM Group is to deliver a Digital Malaysia, hence the pandemic has allowed us to really show our support for the country and its entire ecosystem.”

“Malaysia is on the right track towards digital transformation, and Digital Malaysia sums up what we are as a developed nation,” Ahmad Taufek says positively.

On another note, the CEO tells Business Today that some businesses are not able to embrace the transformation coherently. Previously, digitalisation was largely seen as IT-driven and required high investment. Technology moves so fast but not all companies are able to keep up in terms of financial capability. Hence, because of this, they become irrelevant very quickly.

And, digital transformation requires agility and speed. There is a saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If the culture of the organisation does not embrace agility, business leaders will find that their digital transformation strategy will falter.

Ahmad Taufek explains that for businesses to embrace a coherent transformation, firstly they must be customer-centric. It is always customers first – creating the best experience for them. It applies to all business strategies as well as digitalisation.

Secondly, business leaders must ensure that people strategy evolves to support their business transformation. When the whole team has a common objective, the journey will be smoother, and things will fall into the right places.

And finally, you must have strong collaborative partners, Ahmad Taufek emphasises. Trusted partnerships with other players in the technology ecosystem will help your customers achieve their digital journey.

Nevertheless, TM One is part of TM Group, and each line of business within the Group has its very own part to play in driving transformation and helping Malaysian companies transform digitally.

data centre

“We remain committed to playing our part in improving the ecosystem. TM One is the only local player with its own state-of-the-art core Data Centres and Cloud infrastructure with full data residency, locality and sovereignty in Malaysia. Our twin-core data centres are located in Cyberjaya and Iskandar Puteri respectively,” Ahmad Taufek says with conviction.

With these digital infrastructures and services, TM One offers a comprehensive data residency and locality in Malaysia. Holistically, they are an ideal cloud services provider for the nation.

Regarding why businesses should no longer be hesitant about their transformation journey, the CEO says it is the only means of staying relevant in these trying times.

“We have the capabilities to support them,” Ahmad Taufek affirms. If they turn to us from an infrastructure standpoint, TM One has the network, software, and platform and most importantly, full data sovereignty, but if it is from an advisory perspective, we have the expertise from top solution consultants.

“Our role as a responsible organisation is to support businesses to elevate to an era of digitalisation”

Furthermore, TM One, also working is with the Government to support local small and medium businesses (SMEs) so that they #stayinbusiness in these challenging times.

“We are offering some free services for businesses to leverage, according to their specific needs. Hopefully, they will get a perspective of where they want to head towards by adopting the necessary applications for digitalisation in their business,” Ahmad Taufek says.

WEATHERING THE COVID-19 STORM

To some extent, during the MCO, the use of technology has already been proven to enable many business operations and social connectivity to remain in place. However, the increased deployment of technologies will also speed our path in the post-COVID world.

Undoubtedly, Ahmad Taufek stresses that during any crisis, telecommunication is one of the critical sectors, and at TM One their role is to ensure business continuity for their customers to stay in operation.

“It is business as usual. We are committed and ever ready to serve our customers in these trying times,” he states. The team’s responsiveness to address the demands of our customers and our scalable offerings have helped many businesses and public sectors to stay connected, stay in business and stay served.

Understandably during this time, businesses are pulling the handbrakes and accessing the overall expenditure of their business for survival. Hence, to convince the market to spend, Ahmad Taufek says they must ensure the services they offer are well managed and serviced.

“We are here for the long-term.”

THE ADVENT OF IR4.0

This is the biggest objective for the TM Group, according to Ahmad Taufek. “We fully support TM in the Group’s role as a national telecommunications infrastructure provider of Malaysia’s Digital Nation aspirations.”

TM Group will continue to lay the foundation for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) and roll out 5G nationwide if it is awarded to us – serving a more digital society and lifestyle, digital businesses and industry verticals, as well as digital Government – to enable a Digital Malaysia.

“We fully engage ourselves around key industry verticals, and with the team and industry experts to enable us to gain a deep understanding of industry needs to exploit the market quicker,” Ahmad Taufek points out.

“We believe in long term partnerships and customer-centricity.”

Ahmad Taufek also shares that TM One will continuously develop and deliver digital solutions enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“Through our end-to-end digital solutions, we will fulfil the dynamic needs of the various industries in today’s hyper-connected ecosystem,” he says.

STEERING AHEAD

Now, acceleration is key. “We are focused on taking transformation forward for every one of our customers, buoyed by our digital solutions, Ahmad Taufek says with commitment.

“Our role is to enable a reliable hyperconnected ecosystem, one which will empower Malaysia’s enterprise and public sectors to realise the the full potential of their digital opportunities through our end-to-end digital solutions and industry experts, he adds.

“We are fully committed to combating this pandemic, to help industries, and the nation move forward – stronger than ever before!”

The digital enabler’s approach opens the avenue for growth in a post-MCO landscape and helps to build resilience for future upheavals.

“At TM One, we want to provide technologies which will further assist businesses and organisations to bounce back safely and responsibly to revive our economy,” Ahmad Taufek concludes.

It is no exaggeration to say the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an extreme spike of digital technology adoption, both at work and at home.

As physical distancing becomes unavoidable, two (2) aspects of digital adoption have now become highly prioritised.

We rely increasingly on digital tools. From paying our bills to buying our groceries and even to staying connected with loved ones. Just look at how video calls have overtaken voice calls these days.

At the same time, digital tools are more sophisticated, as much of office work has become mobile. Instances such as high-speed cloud storage and high-definition multi-channel video conferencing are now widely accessible.

As another definite sign of change, customer service software outfit Zendesk recently reported a spike in usage of between 150% and 230% among new adopters who were previously reliant on brick and mortar outlets, such as restaurants and grocery brands.

Global internet exchange operator DE-CIX saw data traffic rise 20% for its internet nodes worldwide since March — comprising 50% rise in video conferencing traffic, and a 25% increase in cloud gaming.

At Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), we have seen more than 30% increase in usage trend during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. Fortunately, our extensive, and diverse network connectivity both nationwide and worldwide have comfortably supported sudden spikes in internet bandwidth demands.

Recently, the Malaysia Internet Exchange, MyIX, reported the highest-ever peak of internet traffic at 532Gbps after the start of the MCO on 18 March 2020 – an increase of 6.4% from 2019’s highest traffic peak point record of 500Gbps.

Essentially, the pre-COVID scenario, which was already seeing a steady rise of digital adoption across multiple sectors, has transformed into what is virtually a digital revolution of sorts. Today, we are seeing a major uptick of organisations embracing all things digital to solidify their business survival and build growth for a new normal. All sectors in Malaysia need to take full advantage of digital means to secure success in the new era.

Using Cloud to power through a crisis

Many companies have enhanced their adoption of cloud services to bolster their digital infrastructure backbone to support remote working more efficiently - as well as to deliver digital services to their customers.

However, we have heard some cases of organisations experiencing IT infrastructure failure during the MCO, arising from unforeseen spikes in traffic. These are critical organisations, which serve and support the nation, especially during our ongoing battle with the global pandemic.

Such disruptions necessitate an overnight infrastructure upgrade, which demands careful and intelligent handling.

The current challenge for many enterprises and public sector bodies lies in whether their IT infrastructure is robust enough to accommodate any temporary increase in traffic. The upsurge working from home has led to frequent spikes in demand for bandwidth, and we can expect this trend to stay.

The obvious answer rests in an all-cloud approach for organisations. Cloud is accessible from anywhere, at any time, and is immediately scalable, which addresses the challenge of network spikes.

Cloud is the backbone of future growth

Moving forward, many companies face challenges arising from different forces, which include shifts in consumer behaviour, technical disruptions and global uncertainties, among others. We see the cloud as an inevitable trajectory to power future growth. Cloud computing, in its myriad formats, offers the agility, flexibility, scalability and security to meet corporate needs rapidly.

Currently, many organisations remain highly reliant on internal IT environments to host and run their business-critical applications. As we move forward, on-premise networks no longer sufficient to guarantee the availability, reliability and quality of service required to meet the challenges of a digitalised world of demanding customers.

Some organisations will, of course, choose to retain certain functions and information in house on internal servers. However, these organisations will still be able to enjoy the benefit of speed and efficiency from the public cloud, by adopting an increasingly popular hybrid approach whereby any non-mission-critical workloads may be implemented externally, while retaining certain workloads on-premise or in a private cloud.

In Malaysia, we find that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) accounts for about 50% of enterprise expenditure on cloud computing, while spending in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is expected to rise due to increasing demand from enterprises looking for more cloud storage, compute capacity, cloud-based database, application development software, and analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Taking steps to ensure cybersecurity

Even with a global uptick in digital adoption, some companies may delay digitalisation due to cybersecurity concerns.

However, putting a secured framework into place requires some straightforward steps: a practical blend of people training, processes in addition to the tech tools. Simply put, security concerns should no longer delay the inevitable process of digital adoption!

According to a recent EY Global Information Security Survey, less than 43% of organisations in South East Asia involve cybersecurity function at the planning stage of a new business initiative.

Malaysia’s National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA), and Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) have also released warnings of the increase of scam campaigns and phishing attacks that target personal identifiable information (PII) by using Covid-19 fears as bait.

Today, security steps are simply part of the critical planning and implementation that businesses must utilise when scaling up their IT capabilities. This is especially true considering that digital identity is expected to become a foundation layer for all things that we do online and will be another aspect of multiple levels of security measures.

In addition to scaling up layers of cybersecurity provisions, education has proven to be key. Increasing our people’s awareness about today’s highly sophisticated attacks, such as personalised spoofing, is a must.

One positive sign is that multiple cybersecurity technologies are currently being tested in the market. Blockchain authentication, for example, holds some potential to address password issues as well as to provide a more secure and advanced login method.

Digitalising work is a necessity, not discretionary

As many analysts and industry leaders have pointed out, one silver lining of Covid-19 pandemic is the sudden surge in digitalisation. Once a new technology has taken root, it is here to stay. The future of how we work and play has dawned in a matter of months.

Digital lifestyle has permeated into every layer of society. This trend has been accelerated by various factors. These include remote working, continuing digitalisation of the workplace, Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0), eGovernment, and of course eCommerce: underlying all these is the shift to the reality of the digital customer and the digital citizen. This poses an ongoing challenge to every company, whatever the size, as well as to public sectors all over the world.

Today, we see that even the most conservative businesses are embracing digitalisation merely to survive. We have seen how other digital-centric businesses have experienced dramatic growth in this era - thanks to early adoption.

PwC’s 2019 Global Crisis Survey highlighted that companies are able to not only survive in times of crisis but are able to emerge even stronger in the aftermath; as a result of being prepared and maintaining effective stakeholder communications.

Other analyst firms such as Omdia (formerly Ovum) expect Malaysian businesses will conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic plays a significant catalytic role; one that will help to sharpen business continuity measures, and transform the way they do business.

As the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of TM, at TM One, we serve as a digital enabler for enterprises and the public sector, enabling a complete ecosystem for digital society, digital business and digital government. Part of our role is helping our Nation become stronger in the post-pandemic era, building Malaysia’s resilience towards further transformation and progress.

The key is that we ensure people’s mindsets are primed and ready for the digital journey.

This article was published in The Edge Weekly, 24 August 2020.

Expert insights on how cloud services are transforming education.

For those who followed the 1990s children’s book and cartoon series The Magic School Bus, it seemed way ahead of its time. It featured the extravagant adventures of a class of wide-eyed students, led by a quirky teacher. They visit outer space, a swamp, and even shrink down to enter the human body.

Today, we’re already seeing schools offering virtual field trips to their students (minus shrinking the entire class), thanks to the flexible power of cloud computing. The current Covid-19 pandemic has seen schools pivot to online lessons so that students can continue learning wherever they are, ensuring that students are not left behind even during the lockdown period. Cloud computing delivers much faster processing times, and learners are able to connect with one another quickly and easily.

Will this mean our children will soon be collaborating with students in other countries to complete group work? Or that they can one day take national exams from their living rooms? Let’s explore the possibilities.

Virtual Learning

You’ve heard about virtual classrooms – through which students learn, discuss and collaborate, through an online platform – but probably not much about virtual field trips.

Arizona State University in the US has taken online learning to another level. Students can experience virtual trips such as visiting a rainforest in Central America, or they can travel back in time to see how early Mexican civilisations lived. They can even learn about underwater microorganisms by diving deep into Australia's tranquil bays. 

The university has partnered with MIT, NASA, and six other institutions to develop the virtual content. The website, launched just as schools around the world were shifting to e-learning, is free for all to access.

Within Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources is looking into using Virtual Reality (VR) for employee training[i] as part of the Skills 2.0 campaign to help citizens maintain awareness of technological advances. Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), for example, has adopted a flipped classroom, 3D modelling content, and high quality Virtual Reality Devices (VIVE and Oculus Rift), to innovate a new learning experience. TM One, Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s (TM) enterprise and public sector business solutions arm, supports UTP’s efforts by providing the virtual content, as well as an Experience Centre that enables students to experience immersive learning through virtual simulation.

“With cloud services, we are set to transform the way students experience learning,” said Iskandar Iskak, Head of Education Vertical at TM One. “Through VR, it is possible for students not only to get into virtual spaces, but machines, or even travel through time into the past or the future. By doing this, we are not only stimulating interest among students but also accommodating different styles of learning to maximise learning potential.”

VR is set to become a common teaching method in the near future. Running VR on the cloud instead of within a computer enjoys faster processing times[ii], which means the system is able to interact in real-time with a student’s activity, and videos can be streamed with minimal lag time. As a result, students benefit from a more deeply interactive and immersive experience.

Deeper collaboration between students and teachers

Educators agree on the importance of group work[iii] in teaching soft skills such as communication and time management, and project-based assignments have become common in schools. But could future schools group together students of different classes, schools or even countries?

Perhaps the next step in group projects will be for students to collaborate with peers of different cultural backgrounds[iv], perspectives and working styles. This will allow them to sharpen and enrich each other’s worldview.

In addition, there is room for more collaboration between teachers. Cloud services allow teachers to more fluidly share lesson plans, and feedback with one another, even with their peers in other schools and countries. New teachers can instantly refer to existing lesson plans to help kickstart their roles.

Cloud will also enhance communication between students and teachers. Teachers will be able to give instant feedback[v], providing students with guidance at every step of their learning journey.

Smoother, data-driven operations

University stores and produces massive amounts of data in its operations: student records, financial statements, as well as the troves of research generated by professors. This demands a strong infrastructure to effectively manage data flows, and the cloud fulfils a fundamental role. The pliable and infinitely customisable types of cloud solutions – subscription-based, flexibility to ramp-up/down, and so forth – will help meet the particular demands of any university’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

“We leveraged the cloud to enable Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) in embarking on a digital manuscripts system and on-demand storage for its library – allowing 35,000 digital manuscripts files to be made available securely and on-demand by its students and researchers,” cited Iskandar about another Malaysian university that TM One is working with.

It is an exciting project for us because UniSZA is the first university in Malaysia to establish a digital manuscript facility of globally sourced Islamic and Malay manuscripts on the cloud. There are great opportunities that lie ahead. Imagine going back to the golden age of Islamic civilisation or the Malay sultanates, via virtual reality, powered by cloud! he added.

As the cloud enables rapid date processing data, schools will benefit from using data analytics to improve operations. For example, The Singapore Management University uses data to manage teaching staff, and reduce energy consumption. By using the cloud, this data will be processed much faster than an inhouse server. It also allows more reliable website performance especially during high traffic scenarios such as student application or even online examination period.

In addition to enhancing teaching and student interactivity, employing cloud will improve a university’s research capability and productivity, which helps to boost its academic rankings. On top of that, education institutions can flexibly choose the type of services suitable for them, and there’s no need for them to maintain extraneous expensive in-house IT infrastructure.

“Our recently launched Cloud Alpha platform opens up opportunities for schools and universities to dynamically transform their teaching efficacy and operational performance,” said Iskandar. Another solution that is enabled by Cloud Alpha for the education sector is the Predictive Analytics Screening Solution or ONE PASS – a smart, contactless health screening and monitoring solution equipped with a Visitor Management System (VMS) and thermal cameras which has been deployed in several schools nationwide. ONE PASS allows real-time temperature updates at an accuracy to within +/- 0.3 degree Celsius for up to 100 persons a minute within the range of between 1 to 3 meters.

As we move into the recovery phase of Covid-19, we are helping schools to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers. The health authorities require everyone to declare their health status each time they enter a premise. A manual system wastes a lot of time especially in schools when the valuable time will be taken away from learning and teaching. ONE PASS enables school administrators to scan students' temperatures without contact in a fast and accurate manner, Iskandar concluded.

All schools and indeed all educational institutions face a bright future. Cloud services will both transform and unlock vast potentialities to enrich the way we learn by bringing different worlds of immersive experience into the classroom for students to enjoy, absorb, and share.

[i] https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/malaysias-2020-talent-vision-less-dependency-on-foreign-workers-ar-and-vr-training-and-more

[ii] https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/wiki/cloud-ar-vr-whitepaper/

[iii] https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/instructionalstrategies/groupprojects/benefits.html

[iv] https://www.dsm.net/it-solutions-blog/how-cloud-computing-benefits-educators-and-students

[v] https://www.vandis.com/insights/the-importance-of-cloud-computing-in-education/

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