Budget 2014 - Federal agency mergers could create cyber security gaps

IT departments will face the challenge of pulling together the disparate systems, according to Dell Software MD Ian Hodge

Dell Software Australia MD Ian Hodge.

Dell Software Australia MD Ian Hodge.

Up to 36 Australian federal government agencies will be merged or scrapped as a result of the federal budget, meaning the remaining IT departments may not be across shared services and cyber security, according to Dell Software Australia managing director Ian Hodge.

“By merging federal agencies, the government is looking to achieve more with less,” he said in a statement.

“The consolidation of these agencies will require significant changes within their IT systems, presenting the IT department with the challenge of pulling together the disparate systems and establish shared services to provide back-end IT services to multiple [government] agencies.”

According to Hodge, this transition can be a “risky process” as it is not a simple task to replicate different resources across government agencies.

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“A key concern for the government will be security. As agencies merge, different people will require access to information stored within the different repositories. This will only increase the risk, complexity and cost to securing data and IT assets.”

To manage consolidation, government agencies may look to create disparate layers of security, effectively managing their security in silos, he said.

“Whether the [cyber security] threat comes from internal or external sources, disconnected security can leave dangerous gaps for exploitation. By connecting security across government data, infrastructure and applications, as well as ensuring the right people have access to sensitive information, agencies can safeguard consumer and business information.”

According to Hodge, government agency adoption of integrated security systems will help keep “data out of harm’s reach".

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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