Economic network

Group wins federal contract to automate network device authentication

A group led by integrator Optiv Canada that includes Venafi and Ottawa-based Crypto4A Technologies has won a competitive contract to automate much of the authentication process for federal government network devices.

The contract with Shared Services Canada, which provides data centers and messaging services to most federal departments, was signed in March, but it has taken so far for the government to approve the announcement. optiv.

Being implemented, the on-premises solution is part of Ottawa’s transition to a zero-trust environment by managing digital certificates for 1.5 million devices – anything with an IP address on the federal network , including PCs, servers, printers, routers and switches.

Optiv Canada is the integrator. Utah-based Venafi provides automated certificate lifecycle management that protects machine identities from TLS certificate failures or compromises, replacing a manual system. Crypto4A Technologies sells a range of quantum security solutions that can be used for public key infrastructure, unified key management and code signing in a zero-trust architecture. In January, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced that Crypto4A was receiving a repayable contribution of over $2 million to accelerate the commercialization of its QxEDGE quantum-safe cybersecurity platform.

A manual lifecycle management system can take up to 45 minutes to oversee a certificate, said Mike Watson, Optiv Canada’s senior demand and delivery manager for crypto, in an interview. “Now they can automate it for up to one to two minutes.”

“Implementing this service will significantly contribute to the overall efficiency of Government of Canada operations and IT security by ensuring that all authorized devices connect securely to a consolidated Shared Services Canada network.“, the government said in a statement.

“This service will provide a centrally managed public key infrastructure to create interoperability between departments and provide increased security and compliance for authorized devices connecting to Government of Canada networks, sites or services. The service will also improve reliability by providing self-service and automated support services to users. »

There were no details on the value or duration of the federal contract.

“The goal is to secure devices and prevent network outages” from expired certificates, said Ann Garber, Optiv Canada’s regional director for the public sector, in an interview. “This will help government networks stay stable and healthy.”

“We are thrilled to have won,” added Cheryl McGrath, National General Manager and Regional Vice President of Optiv Canada. “But we are also delighted that the government is on this path to lay this secure foundation for zero trust.”

The contract was awarded following a lengthy process that began in 2020 and involved a request for proposals and submission of proof of solutions. It was awarded under the Government’s New Cybersecurity Supply Vehicle (CSPV) program. Under this program, provinces and territories can use approved solutions to enter into similar agreements. According to Optiv Canada, an unidentified province is already doing this with this agreement.