Top security for Aust Defence IT upgrade

By Sarah Stokely
From ZDNet Australia, December 15, 2004,2000061744,39174215,00.htm

The Department of Defence is upgrading the IT environment for staff of its national intelligence assessment agency, the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO).

The highly sensitive project, which will largely be completed onsite at the DIO’s Canberra headquarters, will require a contractor with high level security clearance.

Defence this week sought initial expressions of interest from suppliers, ahead of a shortlisted tender process which begins in March. As most of the project will be classified up to the top secret codeword level, the cost of security checks on companies and their staff meant only a small number of tenders would be considered.

The project will involve the migration of between 250 and 500 users from a Unix thin client desktop environment to Windows 2003 using Windows Terminal Services and Citrix Metaframe. In addition, a small number of users would be located overseas.

The upgrade will be guided by a security classified high level design (HLD) blueprint which makes recommendations regarding the operating system architecture, messaging architecture, patch management architecture and environment monitoring architecture. Further details of the HLD will only be made available to suppliers who passed initial security checks.

The hardware component of the project will probably include blade technologies to accommodate space constraints and security issues, as well as large storage arrays and high end servers and server clusters. The recommended software – around 80 Windows and Unix-based applications – includes Windows Server Enterprise Edition 2003, Exchange Enterprise Edition, SMS, MOM, Virtual Server and ISA.

The supplier will also need expertise in access control and relevant security technologies such as PKI, SSL/TLS and LDAP.

The closing date for initial submissions is 31 January, and the project is expected to be completed by December 2005.

Other Defence Intelligence Group agencies are also undergoing technology upgrades – including a recently announced signals intelligence project. In the last budget, Defence was granted over AU$54 million to bolster counter-terrorism moves including improving analysis and signals intelligence.

A new head of the DIO, Major-General Maurie McNarn was appointed yesterday, replacing Frank Lewincamp.

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