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Simpler, Secure and Agile IT Infra for Government

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With the focus on ‘Defending against the unknown – Anycloud , Anyworkload , Any deployment’, the Delhi edition of Express Digital Governance Series was organized by Express Computer in partnership with high-end network technology giant Juniper Network. Head of government departments, policy makers and IT leaders from the central government came together to discuss and debate about the great potential of emerging technologies in government and how they can be made cyber secured.

The conference began with the keynote address from Pankaj Dikshit, Senior Vice President (IT), GSTN – Goods and Services Tax Network, Government of India. Dikshit spoke in detail about the impact of emerging technologies on life and how over the years the dynamics of governance has changed due to tech intervention.

Citing the example from his own organisations – GSTN – he said that the IT infrastructures are becoming complex as the demand from citizen are increasing and there is continuous improvement in the system. “You have heterogeneous environment today, wherein some of your IT infra is on-prem and some are in cloud and then government organisations also works with lot of outside contractors, therefore, security of IT infrastructures including the data becomes critical and tricky to handle,” said Dikshit.

Explaining about the technology architecture followed GSTN, he said that GSTN has put in place a solid IT architecture which is robust and highly secure. “Everything that we put into action are properly tested before it goes live,” he asserted.

Dikshit was of the view that with proliferation of technology, the vector for cyberattack will also increase, therefore both government organisations and enterprise should adequately invest in cybersecurity. “As there is proliferation of technology, cyber attackers are also becoming smart to use the same technology. So, the organisations have to strategize in a way to minimise the cyber risk,” he said.

On the challenge of adoption of emerging technology in government, he was of the view that only those efforts will succeed that can easily be adopted by people. “Your architecture could be complex but at the user end, things should be simple,” he said, adding that this could only be achieved if organisations keep people in mind while deploying technology.

Delivering his expert presentation on “Defending against the unknown”, Rajesh Kumar, Technical Consultant, Juniper Network explained the evolution of networking and how network security has become a critical factor especially in the age of cloud.

With the help of a power point presentation, he emphasised that SDN and SDWAN are changing the dynamic of networking as organisation are looking to create superior infrastructure. According to him, this has increased huge bet on agile IT infrastructure which has to be secured and can be deployed on the go. “Agility is everyone need and security is no longer only about perimeters. Application based security has become critical,” he said.

Kumar also shared information about Juniper’s Junos Fusion technology. He said, Junos Fusion provides a method of significantly expanding the number of available network interfaces on a device—called an aggregation device—by allowing the aggregation device to add interfaces through interconnections with satellite devices.

The conference also featured a panel discussion on the topic of “Simpler and Secure IT for Agile Government” moderated by Mohd Ujaley, Special Correspondent, Express Computer. The panellists which included senior government officials discussed about the existing IT infrastructure in the central government and how they could be made more secure and agile.

Participating in the discussion, Vijay Devnath, GM & CISO, Infrastructure & Security, Centre For Railway Information Systems brought the attention of delegates towards the importance of government assets and its security. He was of the view that security is paramount but organisations need to ensure a better balance between security and user experiences.

Citing examples from Indian Railways, he explained that hardening of the system do bring some discomfort level to the users. “For example, if I make it mandatory to use OTP for booking ticket on IRCT, there are large number of people who may face some difficulty, so what we need to do is to create a fine balance which offer the best possible security and great user experiences,” he said.

Sharing his views on cloud and security, Ramesh Singh, DDG, NIC, Government of India said that cloud has indeed democratise IT and made IT affordable but the security piece still need a lot of attention. On the network security, he was of the view that network needs to be self healing and automation in networking is a better step towards future of networking.

Agreeing with the views of Singh, Sandeep Kumar, GM – Technology, NHIDCL, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said that his organisation is using cloud technology for hosting some of the key projects. According to him, all of them have shown great resilience towards cybersecurity and improved user experience.

Participating in the debate, Swapnil Bhatnagar, Research Director, Avasant said that emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and blockchain are going to disrupt different industries and governments. “What government organisations need to look at is how they can use them for improving citizen service delivery? Since, government services include lot of data sharing, the security has to be ensured at all the levels – from application to perimeter to entire networks,” he said.

Agreeing with Bhatnagar, Rajesh Kumar, Technical Consultant, Juniper Network said that cloud technology has changed the way people look at the IT infrastructure but it has also brought lot of complexity and heterogeneity in the data centre. “The government organisations need agility and security in their IT infrastructure and this could be ensure when they deploy flexible solutions which can scale as per the requirements,” said Kumar.


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