Reinforcing your security blanket

There’s no question that technology has transformed the way governments deliver service and interact with citizens and businesses. Public services have never been more widely available, efficient and innovative. That means we need to be more vigilant than ever, as our IT systems are often prime targets for viruses and hackers.

The Ontario government alone repels 1.6 million “hack” attempts on its computer system per month. That’s one attempt about every 1.6 seconds, roughly equivalent to how frequently you blink. In 2003 and 2004, the province of Ontario’s Corporate Security Branch reported that 30 percent of attacks come through e-mails and downloads and 37 percent just from being connected to the Internet. The lag time from vulnerability to attack has fallen drastically from 27 months back in 2001 (Bugbear) to 18 days in 2004 (Sasser). How do we protect ourselves?

Showcase Ontario, the largest public sector IT education conference and trade show in Canada, will address these concerns in detail September 19-21 in Toronto. Hosted by the Ontario government and open to all municipal, provincial and federal public servants, this year’s event will bring together a top-notch panel of experts to discuss the challenge of maintaining system integrity and availability in a constantly changing and increasingly hostile IT environment.

The Corporate Security Branch of the Province of Ontario will bring together a panel of experts to take a broader look at security and its increasingly pivotal role.

“Seamless services to the citizens of Ontario rely on integrating computer networks and co-operation from all levels of government, providing both opportunities and challenges,” said Peter Macaulay, Head – Corporate Security Branch. “We have an opportunity to spread the security blanket wider and improve overall security, but our challenge is dealing with the new vulnerabilities introduced through inter-connectivity.”

From the panel discussion, participants will learn how certain jurisdictions counter cyber threats and maintain a stronger security posture. Designed to be interactive as well, the discussion will invite all members to help design strengthened secure networks we can all rely on in today’s environment.

Registration for Showcase Ontario opens July 11. In the meantime, tour the website at www.showcaseontario.com for more information and to review testimonials from the hundreds of municipal colleagues who return each year to take advantage of the renowned educational programs, inter-jurisdictional networking opportunities and leading Ontario initiatives on display on the trade show floor. A Showcase Ontario booth will be at the MISA Conference June 5-8, 2005, in Windsor.

As public servants, your registration fees to attend the conference are generously sponsored by the Information Technology organization of the Government of Ontario.

Panelists:

Serge Dupuis

Chief Security Officer Government of Alberta Chair, National CIO Sub-committee on Information Protection (NCSIP). NCSIP is a committee formed by the Public Sector CIO Council (PSCIOC) to provide an effective inter-governmental forum focused on Information Security. Members regularly exchange information on technology, practices and policies and provide recommendations to the PSCIOC. Members include all governments (Federal/Provincial/Territories) and the Municipal sector (MISA).

Claire McKay Manager

Technology Infrastructure Information & Technology Services Region of Peel, MISA Representative on NCSIP. The Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) is an established Canadian Association of municipal government representatives and others interested in the effective use of information technology to provide better and more cost effective services to municipal taxpayers and clients.

Barbara Conrod Chief

Strategic Coordination Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC). The Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) serves as Canada’s focal point for dealing with cyber threats to Canada’s critical infrastructure. The CCIRC provides cyber security services such as incident response coordination and support, monitoring and threat analysis, as well as technical advice and awareness for critical infrastructure owners and operators.

Dale Tasker

Manager, Policy and Information Protection Centre and Policy, Corporate Security Branch (CSB) Government of Ontario. CSB is responsible for information technology security from policy development to network monitoring within the Ontario government. CSB works with the Information and Information Technology Clusters supporting Ontario ministries.



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