Singapore Scripts Cloud Outage Incident Response Guidelines for Better Cloud Resiliency


Singapore’s Smart Nation cloud ecosystem grows more resilient with the announcement of a set of Cloud Outage Incident Response (COIR) Guidelines to assist in Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Plans.

This was announced at the Singapore Computer Society’s Business Continuity Management Conference on February 26 2016 by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) Assistant Chief Executive Khoong Hock Yun.

The creation of these guidelines addresses the need of preparing for and mitigating the threat of cloud outages – whether for business-critical uptime or data sensitivity – in the face of rapidly emerging new technologies. It gives clarity to enterprises and cloud service providers (CSPs) on what measures and processes should be put in place to prepare for and respond should cloud outages occur.

Critically, this builds upon IDA’s track record of standards on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans in the changing landscape of disruptive technologies such as the cloud, the Internet of Things and Big Data.

Worked on since September 2013, the COIR Guidelines draw on the combined work and feedback of enterprises and public agencies to form a cohesive blueprint to enhance CSP resilience capabilities. There are four tiers of responses CSPs can prepare for based on projected impact of outages, ranging from most to least severe:
•Tier A – Systemic/Life-Threatening Impact (E.g. Airplane traffic controls industry)
•Tier B – Business Critical Impact (E.g. Payment gateways)
•Tier C – Operational Impact (E.g. Corporate emails)
•Tier D – Minimal Impact (E.g. General information websites)

By utilizing these guidelines, CSPs can clearly outline the scope and scale of resilience measures they offer as part of their cloud services. Such measures can include clarity on mobilisation of emergency resources, prioritisation levels for recovery and restoration of affected cloud services.

Khoong said, “One important foundation for a vibrant digital economy is a flexible, cohesive, and integrated cloud ecosystem that meets our business enterprises’ needs. In our journey towards being a Smart Nation, this Cloud Outage Incident Response Guidelines complement our efforts to drive ICT standards, strengthen resiliency and encourage clarity for businesses as cloud users. This effort, in collaboration with industry, shows IDA’s continuing commitment to encourage the industry to have robust Business Continuity Management and Disaster Recovery plans as well as Service Level clarity, to foster a more competitive business environment that enhances our digital economy.”

Paul Lee, President of Singapore Computer Society Business Continuity Group, said, “The Cloud Outage Incident Response Guidelines are a welcome addition to the business continuity and disaster recovery body of knowledge for our industry. It brings clarity and assurance to enterprises and strengthens Singapore’s resilience as part of a Smart Nation.”

COIR Guidelines also complement IDA’s multi-prong approach towards a cohesive and integrated cloud ecosystem. Together with the world’s first Multi-Tier Cloud Security Singapore Standard, the Guidelines will help improve transparency and build greater trust of cloud services.

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