Critical Licenses for Cybersecurity Near Expiry Across 32 Ministries/Divisions

Web DeskDecember 21, 2023
Critical Licenses for Cybersecurity Near Expiry Across 32 Ministries/Divisions

The expiration of crucial licenses for firewalls and switches, affecting 32 ministries/divisions, poses a substantial risk of cyber threats and service disruptions. These licenses are set to expire on January 23, raising urgent concerns regarding cybersecurity and service continuity.

Ministry’s Plea for Rule Relaxation

To mitigate this imminent risk, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has made a formal request to the Cabinet. They seek relaxation from Pakistan Public Regularity Authority (PPRA) rules governing license renewals, emphasizing the critical need for immediate action.

Vital for Cyber Protection

These licenses play a pivotal role in safeguarding against cyber threats and ensuring uninterrupted service delivery. The impending expiration after three years necessitates urgent renewal. While responses from 12 divisions have been received, budgetary constraints are a prevailing concern, urging the National Information Technology Board (NITB) to initiate procurement proceedings.

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Risk and Remedial Measures

The looming expiration deadline poses a significant risk to 32 Ministries/Divisions. In response, PPRA advises open competitive bidding, yet the logistical complexity of individual tenders prompts a proposed solution:

  1. Centralized RFP Issuance: NITB to issue a centralized Request for Proposal (RFP) for license renewals.
  2. Vendor Acceptance via Purchase Orders: NITB to facilitate vendor acceptance via Purchase Orders.
  3. Procurement Committee: Establishment of a dedicated procurement committee comprising MoITT, Cabinet, and Finance Divisions.
  4. Agreement Signing by NITB: NITB to sign agreements on behalf of all Ministries/Divisions.
  5. Budgetary Allowance for Purchase Orders: Ministries/Divisions authorized to issue Purchase Orders through their allocated budgets.

Estimated Costs and Funding

The anticipated renewal cost for firewall licenses, maintenance, and support across 32 Divisions totals approximately Rs. 230 million. Ministries/Divisions are urged to arrange funds by January 15. In cases of insufficient funds, the Finance Division may provide the necessary financial support.

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