E-Government in Indonesia and the Importance of Cyber Security

Over the past few years, we have been witnessing an encouraging development of enterprise digitalisation across verticals in Indonesia including transport and logistics (Logistics 4.0: The State of Digitalization in the Logistics Sector in Indonesia) and banking and retails (The Rise of Digital Bank and e-Commerce in Indonesia). However, it is important to point out that the government of Indonesia themselves has realised and acknowledged the importance of digital transformation in the public sector too.

Indonesia, an archipelagic country with more than 17,000 islands, is a home to more than 260 million people – this proves to be a challenge for the government to manage the country efficiently. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can definitely be an important aspect in assisting government to run their system effectively and efficiently – such system powered by ICT is commonly acknowledged as e-Government. The concept of e-government is not new as the government has established a blueprint called “National Information Systems” since the 1990s. However, the development had been very slow and only when President Jokowi took power, a call to accelerate the development of e-Government was made and subsequently, an e-Government Roadmap was published in 2016. President Jokowi stressed the importance of e-Government, including the applications of e-budgeting, e-catalog, and e-audit, to increase transparency in the government system which in turns can prevent corruption and improve public services.

The implementation of e-government in Indonesia is spearheaded by 2 ministries: Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform. Director of e-Government, Firmansyah Lubis, shared that the focus in the short term is to build proper infrastructure to support the system including data centers as well as to integrate, standardise and store data from various data points in the government’s system. Directorate General of ICT Applications has also recently highlighted the need for ministries and government agencies to build a Government Integrated Data Centre (GIDC) for Indonesia to have a proper e-Government system and to be a smart nation. Further, Firmansyah also believes that cloud computing and big data analytics would play an important role in the development of e-government as seen in other developed countries. Technology such as cyber security, network infrastructure, information management and mobility solutions would be of high relevance as well.

Deputy of Institution and Procedure Division of Ministry of Administrative Bureaucratic Reform, Rini Widyantini, outlined the main challenges in implementing a robust e-Government system currently:

  1. The business process in the system of governance has not been integrated well due to the low awareness of inter-agencies data and information sharing,
  2. Not all agencies have proper ICT infrastructure, and
  3. Cyber security threats due to vulnerable information system management in almost all government’s instances.

Hence, there is a need for formulating a comprehensive approach as well as support from technology partners to create this robust system of e-Government in Indonesia. Rini also shared that one initiative to hasten the pace of e-Government implementation in Indonesia is to work closely with the Korean government, who has been established as an industry leader in e-Government system. E-Government Cooperation Center has been established last year in Jakarta to cement this partnership, with Korean National Information Society Agency representing the Korean government in Indonesia to assist with the e-Government implementation.

Initiatives to implement e-Government are not done by the central government only, but also by regional government institutions. A good case in point would be Bandung City, the capital city of West Java province. Ahyani Raksanagara, Head of Department of Communication and Information Technology of Bandung City, explained that various public services in the city have leveraged on technology as part of Bandung City’s vision to be “Loveable and Liveable Smart City.” Ahyani further elaborated that in 2017, integration data and application for e-Government have been a focus and in 2018, big data analytics and cyber security technology would be important to enhance the existing system.

Cyber Security

With the rise of digitalisation in both public and private sector, therein lies a need to protect the digitised system and entity from ever-evolving threats. According to A.T. Kearney, Indonesia’s cybersecurity is still in the infancy stage compared to countries in the region such as Singapore, Thailand and the Phillippines. Indonesia is predicted to remain susceptible to cyber attacks up to the year 2025 due to the low policy supervision, lack of experts, and low investments. Time and again, officials have also stressed the full spectrum of challenges Indonesia is facing in the cyber world, not just in terms of national security or critical infrastructure but also in the distribution of online falsehoods and issues related to e-voting.

Amidst this rising concern over cyber threats, the Indonesian government set up National Cyber and Encryption Agency early this year with Djoko Setiadi as the Chief. This agency will be the first line of defense, protecting critical infrastructure of the country and protecting both public and business sector by securing the personal data of customers and employees. Djoko mentioned that the agency will be recruiting hundreds of people this year and training them to enhance the capability of the agency. It would be interesting to listen more from the agency on the concrete plans Indonesia has to ramp up her cyber defences.

Further in-depth discussions with key stakeholders from Indonesia public sector will be carried out at the 25th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Jakarta this August and this will include:

  • Djoko Setiadi, Chief, National Cyber and Encryption Agency
  • Firmansyah Lubis, Director of e-Government, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
  • Rini Widyantini, Deputy of Institution and Procedure Division, Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform
  • Ahyani Raksanagara, Head of Department of Communication and Information Technology, Bandung City
  • Kiyoung Lee, Executive Principal Researcher, National Information Society Agency – Republic of Korea

Drop me a note at if you are interested to join the discussion.

Felix Fernando

13 June 2018

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