Reseller News

Internal Affairs contracts Unify Solutions to shift RealMe to Azure

RealMe identity verification service to remain hosted in NZ with Datacom
DIA teams with Microsoft and Unify Solutions to shift RealMe to the cloud

DIA teams with Microsoft and Unify Solutions to shift RealMe to the cloud

Unify Solutions has been selected by the Department of Internal Affairs to help manage the transition of the RealMe login and assertion services to the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Australia-based Unify Solutions and Microsoft New Zealand will work in partnership with DIA to manage the transition to and deliver service improvements over time.

The RealMe Identity Verification Service is not transitioning to Azure with all of its data remaining within New Zealand under the current data hosting arrangements with the Datacom Cloud Service for Government. 

DIA contracted Unify Solutions' in December 2019, following a competitive procurement. The transition is expected to be completed by 30 June.

Unify Solutions is Microsoft’s global partner for security and identity collaboration work.

Managed by DIA, the RealMe login and assertion services allow New Zealanders, immigrants and organisations to manage and securely prove their identities online across multiple services.

David Philp, DIA general manager, service delivery and operations, said the project both secures the future of RealMe and sets it up with the flexibility needed for future developments. 

The transition from the current infrastructure as a service platform to the new, cloud-based Azure platform is expected to bring DIA savings in operating costs, as well as ongoing capital investment.

One of the goals of the project is to strengthen RealMe’s high privacy and security standards, while bringing the RealMe login and assertion services into alignment with DIA’s cloud adoption strategy.

Other expected benefits include reduced operational and development costs and increased speed and flexibility as a result of the cloud-based operating system, network, middleware components and version management.

Security protection and access will also be enhanced, including detection and reporting based on risk profiling while usability will be improved due to a much wider user base and more mature interface and workflow.

Users of RealMe login and assertion services are unlikely to notice the change.

Last year, Reseller News reported satisfaction levels with RealMe were not where DIA expected them to be.

Efforts to deliver RealMe verified identities on mobile phones had also been delayed over fears the system could be undermined by emerging photo morphing technology.

Unify Solutions chairman Mark Goodall said today that with its responsive, innovative and future-proof solution, DIA was setting a "powerful example for governments across the region,”  

Country manager Tony Temaru said identity was the cornerstone of the New Zealand government’s citizen-centric digital transformation initiatives, and the preservation of identity as Taonga is fundamental to trust in government as its custodian.

”Throughout the transition to the new platform, Unify Solutions’ Wellington-based security, identity and access management centre of excellence will enable a seamless migration and ensure that continuity of service and trust in the RealMe brand is maintained.”

Microsoft New Zealand chief technology officer Russell Craig said Microsoft believed the Department of Internal Affairs was firmly establishing itself as a leader in modern digital identity and was well positioned to deliver on the goals of the Digital Public Services Strategy of bringing about a more "joined-up", citizen-centric approach to service design and delivery.