Even before our world was impacted by Covid-19 pandemic, business leaders were becoming vitally aware of the multiple benefits that well-planned digitalisation initiatives could deliver to their organisations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) era.
Multiple analyst studies highlight that digital transformation acts as a positive disruptor that brings concrete returns - including cost reductions, enhanced processes and ways of working, and the innovation of new growth opportunities – all vital to proactive recovery as we move further into 2021
In today’s digital age, our everyday routines - such as going for a morning exercise, navigating our way as drivers, arranging our children’s schooling, to more complex activities such as banking or leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to remotely operate a factory floor – rely on the fundamental power of Cloud computing, which is now universally acknowledged as the main backbone of a digital nation.
Cloud together with the intelligent handling of big data equates to smarter ways of managing routine tasks and operations. According to the World Economic Forum, 4IR-inspired automation is expected to free up human resources for higher-value roles and new employment opportunities and predicts that automation will result in a net increase of 58 million jobs.
The Malaysian government has long acknowledged the importance of Cloud computing services as a key component of manifesting Malaysia’s digital aspirations - both as a digital economy and digital lifestyle enabler – and as a catalyst to enhance public service delivery and to build digital government services.
This was apparent by the recent unveiling on MyDIGITAL – the Malaysian Digital Economy blueprint, which puts Cloud as the heart of the policy, in tandem with digital connectivity (fibre and 5G), digital infrastructure (including cybersecurity) together with growing digital skillsets and talent – all within a holistic framework.
Ahmad Taufek Omar, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of TM One commented: “We are honoured to be entrusted by the Government as the only Malaysian-own Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to serve our public sector together with the Managed Service Provider (MSP) as our partner. We’re especially humbled by the confidence in our cloud capabilities at par with other global CSPs.”
Included in the measures to strengthen public sector Cloud infrastructure, the government further announced its intention to migrate 80% of public data to hybrid cloud systems by the end of 2022 with its Cloud-First strategy.
“Cloud is the technology foundation that will enable the Government to roll out new innovations, achieve cost efficiency and enhance its public service delivery to all Malaysians. TM, via TM One is well primed to accelerate the public sector’s digital transformation with our comprehensive suite of smart solutions covering connectivity, cloud, data centres and cybersecurity. We are committed to complement and enhance the Government's existing Cloud infrastructure with TM One Cloud α (pronounced Cloud Alpha). It is ideally suited to provide the technology and services needed to realise the MyDIGITAL aspirations and propel our country towards a full-fledged Digital Nation by 2030 – befitting our role as the enabler of Digital Malaysia,” Ahmad Taufek further commented.
The key factor which differentiates the Government’s Cloud computing needs from the private sector’s is digital sovereignty. Governments are mindful of the risks of migrating national data to the cloud, and of the need to protect critical cyber infrastructure from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and mitigating potential fallouts from geopolitical instabilities.
Previously, all Government data was hosted using on-premise infrastructure; however, the benefits delivered through Cloud computing can no longer remain untapped. Locally hosted Cloud infrastructure with in-country data centres significantly eliminates such risks, which allows the government to secure citizen data as well as critical national infrastructures.
Today, TM is established as a leading end-to-end Cloud and data centre service provider that delivers data residency, data locality and data sovereignty to both public sector and enterprise customers in Malaysia. “As the enabler of Malaysia’s digital government, our 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,” Ahmad Taufek added.
“We are currently developing a strong cybersecurity foundation towards positioning Malaysia as a cybersecurity leader regionally. This includes building cyber resilience to protect Malaysian cyberspace and developing a proactive cyber defence strategy. A heightened approach is needed – which encapsulates a better protected digital infrastructure, cleaner data in the Cloud, and through every end-point,” he added.
TM One has invested in technology, resources and people to ensure the security of Critical Network and Information Infrastructure (CNII) in the country. Starting from local and global network infrastructure to Internet Services Provider (ISP), CSP and MSP, security has always been part of the services provided by TM One.
TM One’s Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) is its cybersecurity solution specially designed to help Malaysian enterprises and public sector institutions build digital trust and cybersecurity resilience.
Underpinning the challenges facing many Malaysian organisations is the adage that data protection and compliance are only as strong as its weakest link. Admittedly, the people component remains a major challenge for the country in our quest to build a sustainable digital nation.
Based on a report by analyst firm Global Data, the digital competency of employees in Malaysia is low – largely because more than 80% of Malaysian enterprises have yet to reach a mature milestone in their respective digital transformation journeys.
There is a need to shift to a higher speed in building up local digital expertise and capabilities. The condition set by the Government that multinational companies (MNCs) must tie-up with local partners bodes well for the country as we encourage the knowledge and technology transfer at a much faster pace.
“We are lucky that Malaysia has a relatively young and tech-savvy population that can be guided to become future-ready. At TM Group, we play our role not only by building a digital workforce within the company but also through our business school at our education arm, Multimedia University (MMU),” said Ahmad Taufek
For example, we had collaborated in the Digital Government Competency and Capability Readiness (DGCCR) Project under the Public Service Department to upskill and reskill the civil service in digital capabilities and competencies. This will enable the civil service in leading the digitalisation efforts of the government towards providing high impact and citizen-centric services,” he further said.
As technology advances, and our reliance on Cloud technology increases, measures to ensure data protection are continually updated and to address current needs. All organisations in Malaysia’s enterprise and public sectors - are becoming vitally aware of the benefits of a data-driven economy. Together with the community, we are seeing steady public-private-people partnership progress for the nation heading towards 4IR. In tandem with this, growing a future-ready digital talent pool remains paramount.
Reaffirming Cloud computing’s role at the heart of Malaysia’s digital advancement, Ahmad Taufek also emphasised that TM One’s strengths include its comprehensive suite of digital solutions to digitally enable both the enterprises and the public sector.
“Not only are we the sole home-based CSP, we are also the only operator with the end-to-end digital infrastructure from Connectivity, Data Centre, Cloud, Cybersecurity and Smart Services. We will continue our national role in supporting the Nation’s digital journey and taking Malaysia’s transformation forward, befitting TM Group’s unique role as the enabler of Digital Malaysia.”
This article was published in The Edge on 15 March 2021.