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We're All in This Together: AsiaPac16 Brief

It may have been hot and humid outside, but that didn’t keep attendees from enjoying a few days worth of spot-on conversations, keynotes and technology demonstrations. AsiaPac16, which was held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand, just wrapped up last Friday. Thanks to all of you who attended AsiaPac16 for a successful conference.

I always enjoy this type of gathering which, through the common theme of health information technology, brings together professionals from a large, diverse geographic area. It’s a great chance to gain additional perspective on the challenges we face as our dependence on information technology grows. While we’ve come to depend on IT as a data collection, movement and storage technology, issues like security now demand our attention.

During the full-day cybersecurity symposium, several speakers shared observations on the state of the security art and, through presentations and panel discussions, it became abundantly clear that this is a true, global challenge. While we’ve seen an uptick in the number of reported ransomware cases in the United States, the Asia Pacific region has been a favorite target for this and other types of malware for some time. There are widely different levels of regulations regarding privacy around the world, and this adds to the challenge of identifying globally applicable solutions. That being said, there are valuable concepts that do apply, regardless of location. For starters, thinking of security as an enterprise-wide initiative can spur the type of more detailed examinations that lead, in turn, to policies that solve for the local issue. To give you an idea of how much of an issue cybersecurity has become, Singapore announced earlier this summer that by next year, it will have removed internet access for all civil servants using government computers. We will keep our eyes on that plan’s evolution and success.

Bangkok subway traffic flow solution

Finally, while there are no simple, one-size-fits-all solutions to the cybersecurity challenge, I did want to share something from the trip that struck me as an elegant, even artistic approach to another type of problem. We’ve all seen this: the train stops, and people waiting to get on the train crowd around the door so that the people getting off the train cannot do so. It wastes time and frustrates commuters. In Bangkok, they’ve solved this problem with four lines and four arrows (see photograph). Those waiting to board the train queue at the corners of the box, while those exiting the train move straight forward to the escalators or other trains. It works. It’s a thing of beauty.

Keywords: 
HIMSS; health IT; cybersecurity