By TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
The Dominion Post
20 October 2008
Government agencies should weigh up the risks to security and New
Zealand's wider economic interests before outsourcing IT systems
overseas, says the State Services Commission.
The commission has been developing guidelines for agencies considering
"offshoring" information processing for 18 months.
An IT industry executive at one multinational says the upshot is that
while departments could send processing overseas, it would probably be
easier for them to "pass their datacentres through the eye of a needle".
Commission spokesman Jason Ryan says the advice stresses the dangers of
offshoring, but also sets out how they could be managed.
"That was the intention - to make people well aware of what the risks
were and how they could think about mitigating them."
The biggest supplier of IT services to the Government, EDS New Zealand,
now a division of Hewlett-Packard, says the framework gives agencies a
tool to weigh up the risks. "In the business world, it is accepted that
sending work offshore can provide an opportunity to improve service
delivery and reduce costs."
But the commission says agencies should create a risk report and look at
the "worst case scenario". Risks include industrial espionage,
"intelligence-gathering by foreign governments" and the difficulty of
enforcing privacy and legal rights in overseas jurisdictions.
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