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GSSC embarks on ID Management solution to reduce risk exposure

In an effort to decrease its exposure to the risk of fraud, corruption and nepotism, the Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) has announced an extensive re-engineering of its business processes, security policies and procedures, undertaken by Ubusha Technologies and Novell South Africa.

The project will ultimately culminate in the implementation of an Identity Management Solution from Novell, which will revolutionise the department’s management of user credentials, reduce the load on its IT department and provide a secure platform for rolling ICT services out to the Gauteng provincial government (GPG) employees.

Since the project entails a strategic re-engineering of business and security processes, it is deeply rooted in services and consulting. In fact, the business process re-engineering is predicted to be 90% of the total work that needs to be done, while technology and the implementation thereof would make-up the remaining 10%.

“The approach and delivery methodology is key to the success of this project and very unique. A business case and the accompanying business value propositions have already been define in conjunction with the GSSC. This acted as input for building a solution architecture, phased implementation roadmap and operational framework to ensure that the solution is not only successfully implemented, but also operated successfully to deliver the stated business value propositions“ [Marius]

“We applaud the GSSC for its foresight in choosing to implement such a complete solution. While such solutions are more prevalent in the corporate arena, the fact that such a system is being put in place by a public sector organisation shows government’s commitment to ending fraud and corruption is genuine and that they are serious about enabling and delivering an eGovernment strategy.”[Marius]

“It makes little sense to simply automate the security processes and policies within the department, when the policies and procedures themselves may not be completely appropriate,” says Lemmy Chappie, CIO and General Manager – Technology Support Services at GSSC.

“We have taken a good hard look at our business processes around employee life cycle management, authentication, tracking and overall security policies; and embarked on an identity management strategy which will not only simplify the working life of employees within the GSSC and the GPG, but will also ensure that governance is maintained at all levels.

“It makes sense that this project should start at the GSSC and roll through to the rest of the GPG, and government at large, because the GSSC was originally formed to allow departments to focus on their core business. As such, all government departments within the Gauteng region make use of the GSSC to fulfil on their human resource, procurement, internal audit, ICT, project management and finance needs.

“With these functions centralised within the GSSC, it stands to reason that the potential for fraud and corruption to take place is considerable,” Chappie adds.

“By starting the project at the GSSC level, we have the ability to reduce the biggest area of exposure as a first priority, and then progress to other areas of concern,” he says.

Chappie says that Identity Management is not only the best route forward in dealing with the potential for fraud and corruption, but also the best solution to reducing the load on IT helpdesks, simplifying the security procedures employees need to adhere to and the most logical platform on which to safely and securely roll out an increased level of IT service to government employees on the fringe of connectivity.

“Statistics show that one of the primary reasons for helpdesk load is the need to reset passwords and deal with user sign-on issues. This stems from the fact that users are required to remember multiple credentials for the different systems they require access to,” says Marius Agenbag, managing director of Ubusha Technologies.

“While a number of users are likely to write these credentials down, thereby risking credential theft, those that don’t are likely to forget them over time,” he says.

“The implementation of an Identity Management solution, besides allowing a central authoritative source for providing and managing access, reduces the need for multiple sign-on credentials as well as stronger means of authentication e.g. Smartcard/Certificates, Biometrics etc.. It solves the password and user name issues from a single central point. In time to come. Self-service password resets will be facilitated using the Identity Management solution as a platform,” Agenbag adds.

“A second area the Identity Management solution will have dual impacts on, is the automatic provisioning and deprovisioning of user credentials as and when employees join the government workforce, or move on to other posts. The proposed solution would allow the provisioning and deprovisioning of credentials to be facilitated through our central HR package and not as an external request to IT, thereby once again reducing load on the IT department and lessening the number of parties involved in a specific business process,” Chappie says.

“It is important for Novell, as citizens of South Africa to be proactive about Identity Management and show government at large that it is possible to implement a secure, transversal user permission solution, that not only centralises the management of access to systems, but delivers the ability to integrate disparate systems’ security,” says Stafford Masie, managing director of Novell South Africa.

“As such, we believe that in concert with the GSSC, we have provided a blueprint for an Identity Management solution that will solve many of the security issues faced by all government departments.

“In line with the GSSC’s wishes we intend to make this blueprint and best practise available to government. This will not only speed the delivery of services but will also assist in the integration work taking place at a national government level, assisting to deliver a single view of the citizen from government’s perspective; and a single point of interacting with government from the citizen’s perspective,” Masie concludes.

Press Contacts: Trish Barwick; Marketing & Channel Manager; Novell SA; (011) 322-8300; Craig Rodney; Emerging Media Communications; (011) 792-4378; Matumane Tshabalala; Service Manager; GSSC; (011) 689-8398;