Networks

To realize the vision of a Digital Government, the Government of Canada must deliver end to end digital services to public servants and Canadian citizens. A simple, agile, robust, efficient, reliable, and appropriately secured network infrastructure is key to enabling a digital government.

Shared Services Canada was created to provide integrated and reliable digital solutions to public servants for the delivery of government services to Canadians. The department is responsible for providing infrastructure, including network services, to more than 400,000 users across Government of Canada Departments and Agencies.

The current digital landscape resides on a highly complex system of network infrastructure that is aging, costly to maintain and not ideally suited to supporting modern services. As part of its ongoing modernization efforts, Shared Services Canada is working to consolidate, standardize, simplify and modernize networks across the Government of Canada.

A vision for the future

Network security is more important than ever as Canadians access more and more programs and services online. Protecting the Government’s IT infrastructure from vulnerabilities and responding to cyber security related attacks is critical to the safety and security of Canadians’ data and services provided by GC.

To effectively deliver services to Canadians, GC users depend on fast, appropriately secured and reliable networks and expect to access services from anywhere, at any time, regardless of the demand and circumstances. With the growth of Cloud-based services across the GC, ubiquitous access to appropriately secured and high quality network services has become even more important.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a dramatic shift in the GC’s network landscape with the vast majority of GC employees being suddenly forced to work from home. It is expected that employees will continue to work from home or adopt a hybrid office/home work environment in the future. These factors coupled with the migration towards software-defined networking and improved wireless technology (for example, 5G) have caused SSC to reassess how it delivers and secures its network services. A modernized approach, leveraging software-defined infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI), provides both improved manageability and performance to enable the GC’s “Cloud First” strategy. Now is the time to re-imagine our vision for the future of Enterprise Network Services.

Enterprise Network and Security Strategy

To address the government’s ambitious digital agenda, SSC is developing a modern GC Enterprise Network and Security Strategy. The focus is to increase network, cloud and mobile access and ensure agile service delivery to our partners. Key to our modernization efforts will be the move towards open standards, which will open up competition to a multitude of networking vendors, increasing competition and reducing reliance on any one vendor.

With the growth of Cloud-based services, the recent advances in software-defined networking and wireless technologies, ubiquitous access to appropriately secured and high quality network services has become more important. New technology trends require us to rethink how we architect, provide, manage, and secure network services. Most importantly, the approach must be agile enough to integrate any technology that is deemed necessary to Government operations.

SSC is currently designing the future state solution, and establishing corresponding contracting vehicles to deliver new Enterprise Network Services. However, given that many technology foundations are new to the GC and must be integrated into the existing networking infrastructure, industry consultation has started as part of the procurement process.

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