Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group first to tap on AWS Dedicated Local Zones

By Yogesh Hirdaramani

Amazon Web Services have announced the new provision of dedicated cloud infrastructure capabilities that can meet digital sovereignty requirements, with Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) as its first customers.

Singapore's Smart Nation and Digital Government Group will be the first customer for Amazon Web Services' dedicated cloud computing infrastructure solution. (Image: Canva)

On 23 August 2023, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the opening of AWS Dedicated Local Zones, which provide customers with dedicated cloud infrastructure that can address regulatory and digital sovereignty needs – and Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG), comprising the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, and Government Technology Agency (GovTech), will be the first customers to deploy one such zone.


In an AWS blog post, Government Chief Digital Technology Officer Chan Cheow Hoe is quoted as saying that “SNDGG collaborated with AWS to define and build Dedicated Local Zones to help us meet our stringent data isolation and security requirements, enabling Singapore to run more sensitive workloads in the cloud securely.” 


AWS Dedicated Local Zones refer to AWS cloud computing infrastructure that is fully managed by AWS built for exclusive use by a customer. Such infrastructure is placed in a location specified by the customer to comply with data residency requirements that regulate certain data to be kept within national boundaries.


These dedicated zones may include additional security features such as data access monitoring and audit programmes, controls to limit infrastructure access, and options to enforce security clearance on local AWS operating personnel, wrote Matt Garman, Senior Vice President of AWS Sales and Marketing in the blogpost.


Unlike storing data on premises or within government private clouds, dedicated infrastructure provided by a cloud computing provider like AWS means that customers can tap on public cloud benefits like elasticity and scalability while reducing the costs of managing on-premises infrastructure.


Currently, Singapore has nearly completed migrating 70 per cent of less sensitive systems to the Government Commercial Cloud this year, which will enable government agencies running less sensitive workloads to tap on public cloud services offered by AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Dedicated cloud infrastructure may support agencies in tapping on the benefits of public cloud infrastructure for more sensitive systems. 


“In addition to helping the Singapore government meet its cybersecurity requirements, the Dedicated Local Zones enable us to offer its agencies a seamless and consistent cloud experience,” said Chan in the blog post.


Digital sovereignty and greater oversight over government data residency and security controls has become an increasing concern for governments over recent years.