Guidebook for departments on easing of restrictions: Guidance for Information Management and Technology

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Context

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Government of Canada departments and agencies have put in place various interim measures to ensure business continuity in the context of the pandemic. The following should be considered as physical distancing measures are lifted and federal employees reintegrate the workplace.

Information management

  • Remind your staff of the importance of good Information Management (IM) practices.
  • Employees have a core responsibility for strategically managing information and data assets throughout their lifecycle, as per the Policy on Service and Digital.
  • It is of particular importance that decisions and activities of business value are documented, regardless of medium or form, and moved into a departmental corporate repository (e.g GCdocs, RDIMS). This includes, but not limited to, email messages and attachments, information created in collaboration tools such as MSTeams, information saved on employee desktops etc.

Network capacity

Complete network assessment if the Microsoft Office 365 (M365) suite was deployed in your organization.

  • If the network assessment was completed, monitor the status of the remediation work.
  • If the network assessment was not completed, consider limiting the use of certain tools, such as Microsoft (MS) Teams, upon return to the office.

Prioritization of information technology requests

(Infrastructure/Network/Project)

  • Update Departmental IT Plans to ensure GC prioritization of IT requests, specifically where SSC services are required.
  • Engage with respective Client Executive Teams at Shared Services Canada (SSC), for the prioritization of Information Technology (IT) requests based on the level of urgency and operational requirements. SSC Client Executive teams will then ensure proper escalation against GC prioritization with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). This collaboration will ensure a balance between departmental business needs, load on government-wide IT infrastructure, and efficient coordination of support provided by SSC Service Lines.

Collaboration tools

  • Identify and decommission unsanctioned and/or temporary tools that were utilized in the context of the COVID-19 crisis (e.g. GCCollaboration.ca, Zoom, etc).
  • Engage with departmental IM teams in any decommissioning efforts to ensure that documented decision making and information of business value are moved into a departmental corporate repository (e.g GCdocs, RDIMS).
  • Consider how automated tools can be leveraged, where possible, in moving information and data to corporate repositories and during clean-up exercises.
  • Encourage the use of GC managed collaboration tools moving forward (e.g. M365, Cisco Jabber)
  • In collaboration with SCC, assess the utilization of existing tools (e.g. Webex) to determine the impact of the newly deployed tools (e.g. MS Teams).
  • Restore provisioned infrastructure and licensing, which was increased during the crisis to improve efficiency and application performance from remote locations, to normal capacity as departmental staff return to GC sites to perform duties.

IT service operations

  • Data Centre Infrastructure Hosting Capacity
    • Additional DC infrastructure capacity was procured and/or provisioned into production across several GC department application environments to ensure the stability and performance with extraordinary transaction levels due to COVID-19.
    • Application assessments should be conducted to determine where and how much of the additional capacity should be decommissioned for ongoing system maintenance and cost management reasons.
  • Data Centre Facilities Management
    • Resume regular electrical and cooling systems maintenance schedules at all GC data centres as support and vendors are permitted to return to regular work schedules.
  • Data Centre Operating System Patching and Maintenance, Changes, Upgrades
    • With limited change windows and Covid-19 workload prioritization, normal patching schedules and system changes were disrupted and/or deferred.
    • GC Departments should proactively determine appropriate extended change windows to allow security patching and functional change requests back log to expected standards.
  • Ever-greening projects / IT Refresh
    • Project activities to refresh infrastructure hardware and software versions were slowed down due to COVID-19 workload prioritization.  Funding and prioritization schedules should return to normal governance to ensure sustainability of application health.

IT assets

  • Based on a review of your departmental teleworking practices, ensure GC IT equipment continues to be provided to employees and the balance of equipment that was provided strictly for teleworking activities during the pandemic are returned once GC workplaces are reintegrated.
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