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Government Email Services Team

Publication Date: Sep 26, 2019
 


Gov email services 2.jpg
Written by Kurt Attard 

Attard Kurt 335491m.jpgEmail remains one of the most powerful tools for timely and cost-effective communication with global reach. This also applies for the Maltese Government and related stakeholders. For this purpose, one of the main responsibilities of the MITA Email Services Team is to ensure that this service and related activities are delivered within agreed levels.

The deliverables of the Email Services Team vary from minute incidents and service requests to service design aligned to strategy. There are of course many points in between. Amongst others these include security assessments, continual improvement of services, process engineering, tools and configuration, user support and reporting.

Given the importance associated with the Government Email Service, the team also ensures that designs of the architecture include the required level of contingency. This extends from the hardware level up to the logical configurations at application and network levels.

With traffic reaching millions of email per month, the email infrastructure has several layers of protection against threats such as SPAM (unsolicited email messages) and phishing (social engineering attack normally through email, text message or instant message, where an attacker masquerades a reputable person or entity, to steal user data, including login credentials, credit card numbers. This is manifested when the recipient clicks on a malicious link, which can lead to the installation of malware.).  These are monitored to ensure they are working at optimal performance. This is also done in collaboration with other MITA units, such as the Network Operations Centre as well as the Security Operations Centre. Notwithstanding such complex mechanisms and the allocated effort of the Email Team, end user awareness remains a pivotal aspect for protection, an aspect which is effectively handled by the MITA Cyber Security Programme. Email user awareness includes, the importance to verify validity of email senders, avoid clicking on links without consideration and not providing personal details such as passwords, credit card details and telephone numbers to unknown or suspicious senders.

Government email services.jpgThe past year was significantly a challenging yet interesting year. The plan, design, implementation and deployment of an upgraded email infrastructure has taken place. This resulted in added security, efficiency, capacity as well as availability. It required a great extent of collaboration between parties to focus on value and making sure that a holistic approach is taken. The deployment has now been completed successfully. For the upgraded infrastructure to take shape, the Email Team has collaborated with a number of other internal as well as external stakeholders, each contributing their parts to form an effective and efficient system. Underlying all this is a layer of practices such as Change Control which ensures a balance between delivering increments and protecting existing aspects of the service.

In continuation, apart from the technical aspect which ranges across operating systems, applications, network layer, and continuity, the Email Team is also involved in other perspectives. In line with the four dimensions as defined in ITIL®4 , the team is also consistently ensuring that the right value streams and processes are in place and continually optimized to eliminate waste. Furthermore, the team is also ensuring a constant upskilling of its capabilities to ensuring the ability of managing all layers of the dynamic and ever changing technology. The team is also constantly involved in managing the related suppliers and partners which are pivotal and critical for the delivery of value.

The commitment, involvement and effort of the Email Team ensures that every single user of the service can access their respective mailboxes. The latest efforts have seen a considerable increase in capacity thus often resulting in eliminating the need to archive or delete email messages.

Gov email services.jpgFurthermore, end users can access the service from any mobile device where connectivity is available. The new email infrastructure also permits the integration with other tools and services creating an ecosystem of communication that  facilitate the enterprise needs.


The availability of email has long become an expected ubiquitous element and no longer a ‘nice to have’ tool.  The ability to send messages and attachments through email and therefore communicating effectively is often taken for granted. Yet, without the backstage work of a collaborative and forward-looking team of people together with the right setup of technology, procedures and partners, such a service would fail to deliver and be discarded in little time.

In a nutshell, it takes a great amount of often-invisible effort and teamwork for us to be able to write some text in a window, press the send button and have the message delivered to the intended recipients.