Government event management can be tough, especially when you are dealing with events that attract a lot of national or even global attention. The 2018 DPRK–USA Summit is a flawless example of this. The historic meeting of the U.S. President and the leader of North Korea became one of the most talked about topics in June 2018, with the world’s leading media buzzing about the details of the event for weeks.
The summit took place in Singapore, and GlobalSign.in was honoured to be an official tech partner for the government of Singapore, which was the organiser of the event. Because the GEVME team has a proven track record of working with government events, the experience wasn’t completely new. Still, due to the nature of the event, the bar was set high.
Over 5,000 attendees, multiple levels of access for media representatives, and stringent security regulations were only part of the challenge. For the onsite team, it was not only about automation and proper onsite settings but also about the whole range of data access requirements, four levels of testing and the tight cooperation with an incredible number of stakeholders.
How do you possibly handle such complexity without going crazy? In this blog post, we’ve curated the main hacks from the GlobalSign.in team that will help you dive deeper into the technical aspects of the summit as well as find out why an integrated SaaS platform is the best solution for government event organisers.
1. Testament to quality
GlobalSign.in is an ISO 27001 certified company. Because this certification comes with a whole checklist of security requirements and control measures, this in itself is a great testament to the quality of the products the company is offering.
2. Integrated applications
One of the benefits that the Singapore government gained by choosing GEVME was integration. As an SaaS product that is built for the management of an entire event lifecycle, GEVME minimizes the fuss of unnecessary data transferring. There were certainly some measures that had to be implemented at the application and server levels, and this was done in cooperation with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). Apart from that, the onsite team didn’t have to do much in terms of system compliance.
3. A full-fledged overhaul of potential risks
For every enterprise-level event powered by GEVME, a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted during the planning stage. Therefore, in preparation for the DPRK–USA Summit, the team only had to apply the existing framework for risk overhaul, which was a time-efficient solution for the key stakeholders. The list of risks was developed based on the product, the types of data that were managed, venue capabilities, and staff responsibilities. Each of these risks was rated and put at the core of the contingency plans. In general, there were two contingency plans for each scenario.
4. Multiple levels of testing
As a complicated arrangement of software and hardware tools, the onsite system had to be properly tested prior to the launch. For the DPRK–USA Summit, we optimized testing procedures to meet the expectations of the client and to ensure flawless and smooth operation of all systems. Here are the four major levels of testing that were covered:
- Vulnerability testing: Testing of the GEVME application in terms of vulnerability by an independent party
- Penetration testing: Simulated attacks on the servers
- User acceptance testing: Cooperation with users in terms of product use
- Performance testing: To prevent the risks associated with the website crashing or other performance-related issues.
5. Collaborative venue check-up
Successful onsite management largely depends on how well the technologies that a vendor brings to the event can be aligned with the venue’s capabilities. Together with the client, the GEVME team had to do at least two to three visits to the site before the most optimal floor plan could be developed. The visits helped the team understand what the flow would be so that they could ultimately recommend the best scenario in terms of what type of hardware to choose, where to place the hardware, and how to manage queues during the event.
6. Thin client approach
Needless to say, data protection was a big concern for all of the stakeholders at the DPRK–USA Summit. GEVME enabled a very restrictive approach on part of the software in terms of data accessibility control. Because of this, no one except for those who were explicitly invited to the GEVME project had the ability to view the data. Most importantly, no data could be stolen, because the so-called thin client approach was employed, and all of the information was stored on the government cloud and not on computers.
7. Reports for better cooperation
One of the main challenges the GEVME team had to tackle was the cooperation with multiple levels of stakeholders. Apart from the regular partners like security personnel, operational specialists, and organisers, the onsite team also had to work with the end users at multiple stages of organisation. Fortunately, the solution was already within GEVME. The technology of ad-hoc reporting helped the team to keep track of event-related information and handle communications easily.
8. PDPA compliance
Within any event management software, there are mechanisms that should be aligned with data protection laws. Otherwise, it would be impossible to interact with the personal information provided by registrants. For the organiser of the DPRK–USA Summit, the challenge was easy to solve since GEVME was already compliant with Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) right from the start.
9. Volunteer training
Volunteers made up a big part of the onsite staff, and they formed the silver service in terms of the Singaporean government. To get all of these volunteers on track, the GEVME team had to activate the experience of onsite technical specialists. What worked the best in terms of volunteer training was the practice of role playing, which allowed for the demonstration of the key capabilities of the system from the practical side of things.
10. Supportive environment
Last but not least, the vibe of the event was very inspiring for the whole team. There were people from many different government agencies, like MFA and MCI, who came just to help put together the goodie bags or set up the buffet. The local stores gave out food and drinks to the guests. The commitment of the onsite team was incredible in this supportive environment.