The Department of Conservation is targeting zero trust to mitigate ever-increasing threats in today's "cloud connected, work from anywhere world".
The arrival of cloud-based systems and modern collaboration tools is prompting DOC to implement a new high performing and secure architecture, the agency said in a tender.
The new network would also replace DOC's current infrastructure, supplied under the all of government Telecommunications as a Service (TaaS) agreement.
"DOC is ideally seeking a high performing and very secure (zero trust) cloud-based network which includes modern collaboration and network management tools," the department specified.
"A refresh of the network will also allow DOC to re-implement foundational principles and technologies that underpin a zero trust architecture where every interaction is assumed to be untrusted, and users must establish trust through an authenticated identity and healthy context."
Specific requirements include the ability to scale to meet fluctuating business demands, increased visibility of the technical network environment, and improved transparency and management of operating costs.
The network refresh seeks to greatly enhance end user productivity and experience as well as to ensure data is safe and secure.
Richard Kay, chief information officer at DOC, told Reseller News the department had "every confidence" in the existing TaaS panel.
However, DOC had challenging and unique requirements that differed from a lot of other government agencies.
"DOC has many people and sites in very remote areas, such as uninhabited islands, working on boats or deep in remote forest areas, where secure, reliable and sufficient connectivity can be challenging," Kay said.
With technology evolving rapidly the department intended to poll the market and gather a larger potential pool of new and emerging offerings to match against its current and future requirements.
"This is also in line with the government procurement rules to ensure that DOC is fostering competition and innovation, resulting in better solutions," Kay said.
The current all of government TaaS panel includes telcos Spark, 2degrees and One NZ as well as major ICT service providers including Fujitsu NZ, Datacom and NTT among others.
"The intended outcome of the request for proposals is to modernise DOC's network and management of the network to bring extreme visibility and control to the network, enhance application performance and ensure we are secure from a cyber perspective - all of this with the end user experience in mind," Kay said.
The new zero trust network would be delivered with an eye to the future direction of security and networking growth and would be able to keep pace with the department's evolving workforce practices and requirements, such as large scale IoT, he said.
Richard Ashworth, general manager AoG services delivery at the Department of Internal Affairs, told Reseller News the telecommunications as a service (TaaS) panel was still fit for purpose.
"It provides a wide range of products, services and capabilities, and helps to improve the overall security, integrity and resilience of government’s digital infrastructure," he said.
"It also reduces cost to agencies, as agencies can procure services more quickly and cheaply than running their own procurement exercises."
302 agencies currently used TaaS, up by 13 or around five per cent, since 2020, Ashworth said. Over $210 million of services are consumed each year through the contract, a figure that grew each year and now represented approximately 40 per cent more than in 2020.
"TaaS was central to agencies ability to transition to new ways of working during COVID-19 and continues to offer agencies fit for purpose, value for money offerings," Ashworth said.
TaaS also already enabled agencies to use zero-trust architectures, he said, and a number of agencies successfully use it for this.
The TaaS contract ends in 2026 and DIA has been planning the next iteration for a while.
"We have recently undertaken a review of TaaS, which involved considerable engagement with agencies and service providers, including those who do not currently provide TaaS services," Ashworth said.
"This review helped to confirm that we can provide even more value to agencies through developing the next generation of TaaS in the coming years."
DIA is also about to begin work on defining how this will be made available to agencies through its Pae Hokohoko| Marketplace.
DOC's tender said it aimed to contract a single supplier to deliver a solution including all the software and hardware components needed to meet the department's network and secure access requirements.
"The preference is that this contract reflects a ‘as-a-service’ model where the supplier will support and retain ownership of the solution and its constituent components," it said.
DOC expected its new contract would commence in July and would continue to cover support post-acceptance for a minimum of five years with two rights of renewal of up to two years each.
In 2018, DOC opted to shift its computing requirements to Amazon Web Services to allevate risks posed by ageing servers in an outsourced data centre.