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Security Accreditation for Malta’s Largest ICT Agency

Publication Date: Oct 21, 2010
Blata l-Bajda, Malta – [ 21/10/2010 ]: In a press conference held earlier today, the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) announced that it has recently attained the globally recognised ISO 27001 security accreditation.
Hon Minister Dr Austin Gatt, Minister for the Ministry of Information, Transport and Communication (MITC) said that Government’s strategy has always been to use the latest technologies and information systems to improve the services it offers to citizens and businesses. “Our investment in ICT not only improves the quality of life of citizens, but also boosts Malta’s position and competitiveness as an economic player” said Minister Gatt. Such an increase in usage of ICT systems within the public sector also means that the Agency faces additional illicit attempts to gain access to Government data. “As Government, we need to ensure that data is secure and that we have continuity of service at all time. The safeguarding of this information data is one of the fundamental principles in any security programme. I am therefore glad to see that MITA does not only measure this security against its own standards but also on international benchmarks such as the ISO 27001 standard through reliable and proven processes” added Minister Gatt.
MITA’s core services were accredited with the ISO 27001 standard after a five-day intensive audit conducted by AFAQ-EAQA - a UK certification body forming part of the AFNOR Groupe. As part of the accreditation process, led by MITA’s Information Security Department, the Agency identified risks associated with its operational processes and implemented the necessary controls required to lower these risks. The external auditor verified how MITA successfully implemented over 130 controls forming part of the ISO 27001 standard. MITA also implemented a lean risk management framework to identify, prioritise and address security risks related to the three main aspects of information security: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.
MITA’s Chairman, Mr Claudio Grech said that even though the agency is now ISO 27001 accredited, MITA will still be vigilant in its approach towards security. “In the last eighteen months, we have introduced new advanced virus and malware protection systems on all Government computers, we enhanced our monitoring tools and processes, and we installed a system to fully-control privileged passwords used by administrators” said Mr Grech.  An awareness campaign aimed at educating Government employees on various security aspects was also kicked off by MITA.  “Within Government we have an average of 30 serious security alerts per month. This means that MITA has to continually keep abreast of all the developments (good or bad) within the ICT world. As an Agency we invest over a million euro per annum in the technology and operations of our information security department” added Mr Grech. By achieving ISO 27001 certification in its core operations, MITA is further demonstrating its ongoing commitment towards its clients by strengthening the security processes in all its services.
In the next months MITA is aiming to extend the scope of its ISO 27001 certification and is planning to share the knowledge and experience with other entities interested in gaining the same ISO 27001 certification.
Soon after the press conference, Minister Gatt visited the newly refurbished Network Operations Centre and Service Call Centre within MITA.