Smartcard delay holds up Welfare system

A delay in delivering smartcards for Social Welfare's new internal security and navigation system, caused in part by getting export clearance from the French government, means the system won't be totally deployed till the end of March. The original delivery date was December. Social Welfare information systems co-ordinator Neil Miranda last week believed the first delivery of the cards was imminent.

A delay in delivering smartcards for Social Welfare’s new internal security and navigation system, caused in part by getting export clearance from the French government, means the system won’t be totally deployed till the end of March. The original delivery date was December.

Social Welfare information systems co-ordinator Neil Miranda last week believed the first delivery of the cards was imminent.

Security and navigation is the last infrastructure project of an enterprise rollout begun in 1994. “It had to go in after all the other projects had been implemented,” Miranda says.

“We have our own version of the network computer [there are 6000 PCs] running the NT operating system. There are a whole lot of products beyond that to ensure the client gets what is required.”

The aim of security and navigation is to give all users a smartcard that can be swiped through any PC anywhere in the country to give the user access. The card will also open security doors, so user access and use of PCs can be monitored.

“The cost benefit is simple -— a single sign-on into any system,” Miranda says. “People are losing passwords every week, which is a huge cost. That will go away.

“There are definite paybacks up front and we will clearly understand what people really do in their work. There is no question in my mind that the world is going to have to go this way.”

He concedes there are a number of unresolved issues that aren’t necessarily to do with the security and navigation system but perhaps more to do with business units not having achieved the minimum jump-start image on PCs.

The problems include the loss of some IP addresses when PCs are booted.

Miranda puts this down to departmental standards not being adhered to by some users when new PCs are installed. “It comes down to the individuals in the five business units. They own their own applications and the desktop. They have to ensure they are within the standards set, otherwise they may be locked out.

“We know all the standards are not being adhered to. But they have to be by the time security and navigation is rolled out.”

Rollout is half-way complete.

Miranda puts the non-meeting of standards down to people not wanting to adhere to a discipline. “But if we don’t have a minimum discipline on a uniform basis, it will be very hard.”

He says all PCs have been upgraded to minimum deployment specifications. “We’ve been guaranteed that all PCs will be up to scratch [by the time security and navigation is deployed].”

There are no bandwidth issues, he says. “Our network in terms of bandwidth is unparalleled in New Zealand.”

Solnet, the local sales agent for Sun, is rolling out the security solution. Managing director Murray McNae says there are some issues with the Soltice security product, which is sourced from Swedish company Dynasoft. “We’re working with Dynasoft to resolve these. It’s proving frustrating but not insurmountable.”

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