The Department of Defence has become the first of eight lead agencies to commence procurement for the Australian Government’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program, engaging Verizon to supply gateway services to be used by itself and eight client agencies.
Verizon acquired Cybertrust in 2007, and therefore gained Cybertrust’s very strong portfolio of Federal Government contracts.
The $52 million contract is the first of its kind to be entered into since the details of the gateway consolidation were revealed in the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s incoming government brief in November 2010.
The brief explained that the number of gateways would be reduced from 124 to between four and eight over the four years, under a program administered by Finance and following a lead agency model.
“A reduced number of gateways will provide improved security through a more consistent approach to gateway management, accreditation, monitoring and incident response. Gateways will be hosted by selected lead agencies that will, in turn, be allocated client agencies. These agencies will share gateway services on a cost recovery basis,” the brief said.
The other lead agencies nominated to manage the gateway services as part of the program are:
- The Department of Human Services (DHS)
- The Australian Tax Office (ATO)
- The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
- The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS)
- The Australian Federal Police (AFP)
- The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)
- The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAFF)
DAFF may well be next of these agencies to go to market for gateway services as part of the program, having listed an approach for ‘Secure gateway Services’ in their 2010-11 procurement plan, which is scheduled to take place in Q3.
The Department of Defence has revealed that the contract with Verizon will involve a five-fold increase in capacity from its existing single internet gateway, provided through parallel managed services and housed in several separate locations to ensure optimum security.
According to Intermedium’s contracts data, Verizon dominates the internet gateway component of the Federal Government ICT market.
They have won over $27 million in internet gateway contracts since 2007-08, prior to this most recent signing with Defence. That is more than half the total identified value of the market, but it is possible that some agencies have not clearly described their secure gateway contracts as such with telecommunications suppliers such as Telstra and Optus, which might be providing such services as part of a broader generically labelled ‘managed service’.
Macquarie Telecom has also emerged in this market as a specialist provider of such services.
A spokesperson for Defence told Intermedium that prior to signing with Verizon, Defence operated their own internet gateway with ISP services provided by Optus.
Currently, eight suppliers have been approved to provide secure gateway services, under a process managed by the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). It is assumed that any future supplier of secure gateway services utilised by a lead agency as part of the Gateway Reduction scheme would either have to come from this group, or else go through the DSD process of obtaining such approval.
The eight currently approved suppliers have differing levels of DSD granted security clearance. Verizon has been given clearance to supply within the highest category of security, ‘highly protected and restricted’.
The other suppliers and their security clearances are as follows:
- Earthwave Secure Internet Gateway (up to Highly Protected status);
- IBM (up to Protected and Restricted)
- Optus Secure Internet Gateway – Secure Networks Operations Centre (up to Highly Protected and Restricted)
- CSC Secure Gateway Services (up to Highly Protected and Restricted)
- Macquarie Telecom Secure Gateway (up to Highly Protected and Restricted)
- Telstra Government Data Centre (up to Protected)
- KAZ Group (now Fujitsu) - (up to Protected and Restricted)
The shared-services style lead agency model deployed by the Internet Gateway Reduction Program could be a trend on the rise in Canberra if the recently released Draft Strategic Vision for the Australian Government’s use of ICT is any signal of future intentions.
The draft strategy places and emphasis on inter-agency cooperation in terms of ICT procurement, with the proposed timeline for implementation scheduling the use of “a lead agency model to develop new technology capability where there are gaps and share technology capabilities across agencies” for 2012 onwards.