Lorraine Ong, Assistant Director, Advanced Cybersecurity Capabilities, GovTech, Singapore

By Sean Nolan

Women in GovTech Special Report 2021.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

At the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), our vision is to empower the nation with possibilities through infocomm technology and related engineering technology. We believe infocomm technologies are powerful catalysts and crucial to enable Singapore to be a Smart Nation.

I have been with the organisation for 9 years, developing and managing central programmes and products which serve government agencies as well as citizens. My passion in applying technology and the use of innovative ideas to resolve complex business challenges, sustains my interest in my job.

The products and programmes which we deliver have cumulative effects as agencies adopt our central platforms for the delivery of their digital services to citizens. We need to constantly ensure that the programmes and products which we provide in-house are innovative, and have a greater value and cost effectiveness to compete with the wide range of solutions available in the market.

Currently I am leading a team to deliver whole-of-government cybersecurity programmes, research and development projects, cybersecurity training, capability development as well as international government-to-government cybersecurity engagements. The work that we do, help to contribute to a more secure government, and build a stronger and more responsive public service.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

This year, my team launched a new Vulnerability Rewards Programme (VRP) – a bug bounty programme which that tests the resilience of critical government systems – for the Singapore Government. The Vulnerability Rewards Programme, together with the existing Government Bug Bounty Programme and Vulnerability Disclosure Programme, complete the three crowdsourced vulnerability discovery programmes to supplement the suite of cybersecurity capabilities to safeguard the Government’s Infocomm Technology and Smart Systems (ICT&SS). This is a meaningful project as it helps to safeguard government assets and protect the citizens’ data.

What is one unexpected learning from 2021?

One unexpected learning from 2021 is on the importance of self-care and taking care of the well-being of ourselves as well as our teams. As the boundaries between home and office work diminishes due to work from home measures, we need to remind ourselves to take proper breaks and have time to rejuvenate so that we can have more energy to thrive in the new year ahead.

What’s your favourite memory from the past year?

One of my fondest memories is winning the “Transformational Leader of Year 2020” award at the Women In IT Award for Asia, last year. I am truly humbled and honoured to have won this award considering the number of outstanding women who have participated in this regional award. Upon reading the judges’ comments, it warms my heart to hear that the work we do greatly impacts and influences the communities.

I am equally grateful to be included in this year’s Singapore 100 Women In Tech 2021 Award. This is an award which recognises women who have been inspiring communities and making significant contributions to the tech industry.

I hope to contribute back to inspire more women to nurture their talents. I participate in forums such as the Singapore Computer Society’s Women In Tech Chapter and also the Project Management Institute’s Singapore Chapter Women In Project Management to support and encourage other women in the workforce.

What’s a tool or technique you’re excited to explore in 2022?

Lately I have attended a course on coaching and leadership. I am keen to put the learnings into use in 2022, as I will be mentoring some young talent in our Technology Associate Programme to groom and develop early career professionals into tech leaders at GovTech. I feel it is important to share our experiences and provide support for one another in the course of work.

What are your priorities for 2022?

In 2022, my priority will be to continue to embrace uncertainty and changes in landscape. I see them positively as opportunities to drive transformation and change. I will also continue to prioritise family and work as personal priorities.

Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you?

My bosses are my mentors and heroes. I do not think you need to be a famous person to be a hero. A good boss who leads by example can inspire through their wisdom and are good mentors for people to learn from.

What gets you up in the morning?

A good cup of coffee always perks me up for the day.