Canada consolidates IT systems to boost security, save money

The government plans to consolidate 100 different email systems into one government-wide email system, reduce the number of data centers from 300 to 20, and streamline over 3,000 networks within and between government departments.

Canada is setting up a new entity called Shared Services Canada to oversee the consolidation and to provide IT services and security going forward. The new entity will be part of the Ministry of Public Works and Government Services. Shared Services Canada will consolidate the existing IT resources and personnel from 44 separate departments and agencies.

Canada currently uses three different email platforms: 80% of departments use Microsoft Outlook, 15% use Lotus Notes, and 5% use Novell Groupwise. As a result, departments have adopted a variety of email rules and practices, which results in duplication of effort and less secure email, the government noted.

The government has over 300 data centers around the country with excess capacity and different reliability and security standards. In addition, there are over 3,000 overlapping and uncoordinated networks. By consolidating and organizing those data centers and networks, it will be easier for IT security personnel to detect and respond to security challenges, the government stressed.

Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters said that Shared Services Canada will help “the public service streamline and modernize our administrative services. Through new business models, we are renewing the organization as a whole and supporting innovation and excellence across the public service.”

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