By Staff Writers
Telstra has been awarded a $32 million deal to roll out secure gateway internet services across 11 government agencies as Canberra seeks to further consolidate and modernise its public-facing online infrastructure.
The formerly government-owned national carrier has scored an agreement with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) for a minimum of 5 years that will result in the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship all migrating over to its services.
The new Telstra contract comes as agencies across federal and state governments attempt to come to terms with rapidly increasing public expectations that government online service will be on par with those in corporate Australia where the banking, utilities and transportation sectors have all largely moved to an ‘online-first’ footing for customer interaction.
The deal is part of a wider initiative known as the Australian Government Internet Gateway Reduction program that is being run out of the office of the Australian Chief Technology Officer that has the stated intention of culling the number of government agency Internet gateways from 124 to between four and eight.
Many observers regard Telstra as a logical infrastructure pick for government agencies, especially in the federal sphere, because of heightened concerns around cyber-security that stem from an increase in state sponsored and criminal intrusions aimed at the exfiltration of confidential and sensitive data.
As a former state-owned monopoly, Telstra has deep and longstanding relationships of trust with government t security agencies and services that are more challenging for foreign owned providers to forge, even after the company was fully privatised.
The company is also actively positioning itself to be a provider of choice for domestically hosted government cloud computing deals that are becoming more challenging for overseas providers to win without first committing to local points of presence.
In its statement Telstra said that its deal would help government protect “against internet threats including malware and hacking attacks.”
Telstra’s group managing director for Enterprise and Government, Paul Geason, said the agreement will cover more than 22,000 Government staff.
“This is a long-term agreement designed to deliver large-scale operational and cost efficiencies across a range of government agencies,” Mr Geason said.
“The Internet Gateway solution will utilise Telstra’s Security Operation Centre in Canberra, a maximum security ASIO T4 certified facility that provides round the clock monitoring of Telstra’s infrastructure.”
The ASIO T4 designation refers to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s fourth technical division that provides physical security certification and guidance for government premises.
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