eGov Jamaica transitioning to ICT Authority

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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CHIEF executive officer for eGov Jamaica Limited Maurice Barnes says, come next year, the agency will transition to a new entity to be named the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority.

He advised that in its new role the agency will have primary responsibility for the country's overall ICT governance framework.

“The establishment of this authority will…give it the sort of legislative power to ensure that certain standards are in place and that policies are adhered to across the Government, which is a major step towards digital transformation,” he said.

Currently, eGov Jamaica Limited is responsible for implementing ICT projects across government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Barnes was speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service think tank at the agency's head office in Kingston.

In the meanwhile, Barnes said the infrastructure for a government data exchange platform, which will facilitate secure and seamless transfer of information between state entities, is being instituted.

This, he noted, is integral to the centralised information and communications technology (ICT) network that will link MDAs, a feature deemed pivotal to advancing Jamaica's thrust to become a digital society.

Barnes explained that for any system to operate, “there needs to be connectivity”.

“So, we need to have a digital highway which will interconnect MDAs and also allow these agencies and entities to provide services to the citizens of the country,” he pointed out.

According to Barnes, GovNet is the secure, wide area network infrastructure that will interconnect MDAs to facilitate shared services, with a centralised data centre comprising a consolidated voice communication system (Gov-Talk), a consolidated e-mail system (Gov-Email); and Gov-Internet.

“What we found, by analysing the data across government, is that a lot of MDAs would have mini-data centres, server rooms and these were not operating according to any international standards as far as security is concerned, safety of data, as well as performance in terms of the provisioning of services to the citizens. So we have embarked on a project to centralise these data centres by having a primary data centre which will be under the custody of eGov, with back up sites or disaster recovery sites,” he explained.

Barnes pointed out that with the implementation of the various systems and infrastructure, a number of upgrades will take place across the MDAs.

“We want to move to what we call a tier three standard for the data centre in order to ensure that if there is power failure or in the event of a natural disaster, systems will still be able to operate,” he said.


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