Human Services ups security ante in email tender

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Human Services ups security ante in email tender

Service to be used by Centrelink and Medicare.

The Department of Human Services has heightened the security level and scalability requirements of  a tender for provision of secure messaging services after a number of questions were raised about its statement of requirement.

DHS has recommended prospective tenderers to re-submit responses to the tender and address a new statement of requirement.

The tender seeks a service to enable the secure transfer of email data over public networks - a contract currently held by Verizon and due to expire within months.

The Department has specified a preference for a system that immediately forwards email traffic over a secure channel to be stored on department messaging systems.

The revised tender now requires the service to be hosted in a gateway that reaches Defence Signals Directorate Gateway Certification to the X-IN-CONFIDENCE level (restricted), and that enables TLS encryption between the hosting environment and the DHS.

The new Statement of Requirement specifies that there will be 2000 end users of the service, with a total of 100,000 incoming and outgoing emails per year.

The system will potentially be deployed for staff of both Centrelink and Medicare, with the Department now seeking future infrastructure and capacity demand to grow threefold as a result. 

The successful tenderer must also provide system support and maintenance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The changes to the tender were minor technical clarifications, the details of which (were) in the revised tender specification," John Wadeson, Deputy Secretary ICT Infrastructure, Human Services Portfolio told iTnews.

When asked if it would employ an SaaS proposal, the Department said it would consider all solutions.

"We are interested in the market presenting solutions that will provide the required functionality rather than us specifying a specific technology."

The contract is expected to run over two years with the possibility of a further one year extension.

The closing date for tender submissions has been extended from 5 May to 9 June 2010, while the cut-off date for enquiries has been extended to 26 May.

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