In response to the recent McAfee report on a 5 year hacking scheme, the Canadian government announced plans for a consolidation of its Email and Data Center operations. The goals of this consolidation of government IT operations is improved network and data security. The Canadian government will reduce their data centres from over 300 to 20. Their over 100 email systems will be merged into one. 44 of their most IT intensive agencies will be merged into one system called Shared Services Canada. All network systems will be reworked for increased efficiency both within each agency and with inter-agency systems as well.
Rona Ambrose, minister of Public Works and Government Services and Status of Women, will head the merger of over 40 IT systems into one, Shared Services of Canada.
Currently, each Canadian government department and agency has set up and run its own IT, data centre and email functions. This fragmented system has led to duplicity between agencies and its resultant waste. Even the email systems have compatibility issues. There are three different email systems in the Canadian government, none of them compatible. There is variation of reliability between the agencies IT systems. Some of the older systems are not functioning at current energy efficiency requirements. Some of the systems do not utilize all of their servers’ capacity. Shared Services Canada is expected to correct these deficiencies.
The consolidation of IT, email and data centres will improve security from outside cyber attacks. McAfee’s report on the five year hacking named “operation shady rat”, revealed that two Canadian Government departments were victims of the hacking. With all agencies using the same email system and more efficient networks, security breach attempts will be simpler to detect and counteract. The fact that the rumour is that the hacking was probably initiated by the Chinese government, a quickly growing nation and economic powerhouse, just underscores the need for a prompt update of Canada’s government IT systems.