Availability of Government digital services (PQ Reply by SMS Janil Puthucheary)
Measures to ensure the availability of Government digital services
Fourteenth Parliament of Singapore – First Session for the Sitting on 29 November 2022
Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong asked the Prime Minister with the increased digitalisation of Government services (a) what are the measures to ensure the availability and resiliency of these systems; and (b) what alternatives are available to the public for continued access to critical services when there is a sustained system and service outage.
Oral reply by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of GovTech (for the Prime Minister)
Mr Speaker, unscheduled downtime of Government digital services occurs infrequently, affecting service availability less than 0.1% of the time in 2021. Among services that experienced unscheduled downtime, the median cumulative downtime for the whole of 2021 was 4 hours. This is partly because the majority of Government systems providing services to the public have been moved to commercial cloud hosting platforms, which have high availability, and these platforms and the services that run on them are designed for better availability.
For systems which provide critical services, there are further measures to better ensure high availability and resilience. For example, backup hardware and network links, as well as monitoring tools to detect and alert system owners of potential problems.
When systems go down, we seek to detect the outage quickly and recover service availability fast, while mitigating the impact of the outage. Government agencies have ICT incident management plans and exercise them regularly. Agencies may also activate measures to allow citizens to perform critical transactions offline, in-person or over the phone.