Department of Agriculture taps Macquarie Telecom for web gateway project

Head agreement paves way for Macquarie to secure contracts with department and 11 other agencies.

Macquarie Telecom has been recommended to provide cybersecurity services for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and 11 other agencies, under a head agreement announced Wednesday.

It is the first outsourcing agreement under the Australian Government’s Internet Gateway Reduction program. DAFF is a “lead agency” in the program representing itself and 11 other agencies. The recommendation by DAFF paves the way for Macquarie to win individual contracts with DAFF and the other agencies under DAFF's umbrella.

The Internet Gateway Reduction program, which covers all government agencies governed by the Financial Management and Accountability Act of 1997, aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks against government bodies. It has a goal of reducing the number of Internet gateways used by agencies to eight from 124.

Each gateway will be administered by a “lead agency” representing itself and several others. DAFF represents Australian Antarctic Division; Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority; Department of Innovation Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities; Fair Work Australia; Geoscience Australia; Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; and Wheat Exports Australia.

“Cybersecurity is a key priority for all lead agencies as we seek to consolidate the internet gateways upon which nearly every government body relies to communicate securely with the Australian public,” DAFF CIO, Graham Gathercole, said in a statement. “Macquarie Telecom’s geographically distributed multi-gateway environment provides enhanced cyber security capability and operational resilience.”

“Macquarie Telecom was identified as providing the best value option that also met the Australian Government’s cybersecurity needs,” Gathercole said. “The ensuing negotiations resulted in an outstanding commercial and technological proposal for the Australian Government and DAFF that all parties are happy with."

“This is a major milestone for the Internet Gateway Reduction program and provides a strong template for ongoing work with the Defence Signals Directorate to ensure better long-term cyber security for all government agencies,” he added.

Macquarie Telecom said it was pleased to win the contract. “DAFF in being first to market has set a precedent on the inclusive role that lead agencies can take with their client agencies,” said Macquarie Telecom's managing director of hosting, Aidan Tudehope. “We anticipate other agencies may choose to leverage DAFF’s leadership to their advantage.”

“With further significant security investments in Canberra as part of the Gateway Reduction program, we look forward to progressing our partnership with the DAFF and the broader range of government agencies,” Tudehope added.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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