"We are pleased to see the good growth of cloud adoption and cloud services in Singapore over the past few years," said Ronnie Tay, chief executive officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. "Singapore now hosts more than 10 cloud data centres of global cloud service providers."

He was speaking at the Oracle Cloudworld event in Singapore on 4 April as a keynote speaker where Oracle announced the opening of its first data centre in Singapore.

"For Singapore to be a cloud computing hub in the region, there is a need for ultra-high speed and seamless broadband connectivity as well as secure storage and processing of data," he said. "The development of major infocomm infrastructure such as the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, Singapore Internet Exchange and Data Centre Park, provides a conducive environment for nurturing a vibrant cloud computing ecosystem here."

Tay pointed out the 2013 report of the BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, which tracks year-over-year changes in the international policy landscape for cloud computing. The report has placed Singapore in fifth position, up from tenth position in the previous year's report.

"As part of Singapore's iN2015 Masterplan, we aim to grow our infocomm sector and use technology to drive economic growth and enhance the competitiveness of key sectors," he said. "Cloud computing is a key driver for such business transformation - with lower implementation costs, ease-of-use and agility for deployment."

SaaS Call-for-Collaboration

Tay said that the Singapore government is encouraging the adoption of SaaS-based solutions and asking companies to collaborate in this area.

For example, IDA, together with Spring Singapore, Ministry of Education, NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute and Ministry of Social and Family Development, launched the SaaS Call-for-Collaboration in June last year-a multi-agency effort to spur demand for high-impact sector-specific SaaS solutions. The CFC also encouraged ICT vendors to develop innovative high-growth SaaS solutions with export potential as well as to promote user confidence in SaaS.

According to Tay, IDA also encourages the adoption of SaaS based solutions among SMEs under iSPRINT, a collaboration between IDA, Spring Singapore and the Inland Revenue Authority (IRAS). "Currently there are 41 SaaS packages under iSPRINT that SMEs can adopt, and I would like to encourage more SaaS solutions providers to be part of iSPRINT," he said.

IDA has also collaborated with various private and public organisations to boost cloud adoption and capability development through R&D, he said.

As a result of these efforts, a research initiative to study cloud computing, and a technology evaluation programme have been set up where ICT companies can develop cloud computing solutions. Competency development for industry and manpower is facilitated under IDA's Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP) funding for cloud computing courses.

CITREP was expanded two years ago to cover new and emerging areas, which includes Cloud Computing. The aim of this was to deepen the capability of infocomm professionals in Singapore.

Cloud computing standards taskforce

Tay said that IDA has worked with Singapore's Information Technology Standards Committee to set up a cloud computing standards co-ordinating task force in February 2011.

The task force, which comprises representatives from IDA, ITSC, Singapore Computer Society, Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation, Information Technology Management Association as well as industry sectors, work on guidelines for various cloud issues with inputs from the industry.

"Arising from the effort, the task force has developed two Technical Reference documents which are available to the public - one that provides best practices for server virtualisation security, and the other on guidelines on cloud security and service level for public cloud services' users," he said.