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New IBM & NCS partnership to fortify Singapore's data
Tue, 13th Feb 2024

IBM and technology services firm NCS have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-develop and provide quantum-safe and privacy-enhancing services for public agencies and enterprises in Singapore. The partnership comes at a time when data protected with public-key encryption could be decrypted by a capable quantum computer in the future.

According to both companies, this agreement aims to support Singapore organisations with quantum-safe encryption, thus securely protecting present data from potential future quantum-enabled attacks. Both parties are committed to provide professional services, technological solutions, and strategic expertise for cybersecurity protection.

Besides, IBM and NCS have co-authored a whitepaper, titled 'Managing Risks and Opportunities for Quantum Safe Development'. The paper offers a comprehensive guide for organisations on their quantum-safe journey, highlighting the vulnerabilities of current cryptographic technologies to 'harvest now, decrypt later' threats. These threats calculate that adversaries may steal encrypted files now and store them until more advanced quantum computers emerge in the future.

Colin Tan, General Manager and Technology Leader of IBM Singapore, emphasised IBM's longstanding leader position in quantum-safe technology development. "At IBM, we pride ourselves on being a leader in quantum-safe technology development," he said. "We have played a crucial role in the development of quantum-safe algorithms that are now being evaluated by the US government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"Some of our latest enterprise infrastructure systems already come with quantum-safe cryptography to help organisations stay ahead of emerging threats," Tan adds.

Tan welcomed the MOU with NCS, a firm well-recognised in the Asia Pacific region, and expressed enthusiasm about helping Singapore organisations safeguard data and update their cryptography for the quantum era.

On the necessity of the quantum-safe journey, Foo Siang-tse, Senior Partner, Cyber, NCS, said, "In line with our commitment to building digital resilience for enterprises and governments, NCS has been assessing, developing, and evaluating quantum-safe solutions over the past few years. We firmly believe that the time is now for organisations to embark on a quantum-safe journey."

Siang-tse emphasised the significance of this partnership with a quantum-safe technology leader like IBM and expressed hope to enable organisations to plan, execute strategies for remediation, and leverage NCS' expertise in transforming a company's security posture, processes, and governance for a quantum future.

According to the whitepaper, systems used today in sectors like energy, transportation, finance, and government infrastructure, with product lifetimes of 15-30 years, have even longer requirements for data protection and privacy. As quantum computing technology is advancing rapidly, organisations will need to transition many cryptographic systems to quantum-safe solutions. However, many organisations still lack a clear insight into the cryptographic technologies used in their current IT operations. Hence, beginning the assessment and transition to quantum-safe security is deemed critical.