Indian Railways: Ready to go on Cloud but is it secure? Check what RailTel CMD Puneet Chawla has to say
Indian Railways till date is burgeoned with manual ways to handle office documents and is trying to change this. .
What every government ministry has in common is a big stock of files and use of paper for documentation purpose. However, Indian Railways is trying to change this. It had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with RailTel, a Miniratna PSU under Ministry of Railways, on March 8. Indian Railways till date is burgeoned with manual ways to handle office documents. This not only makes the process slow but consumes more energy on its workforce. The aim of E-Office implementation is to provide a reliable, efficient, and effective way to handle office files and documents.
E-Office is a cloud-enabled software that is deployed/hosted from RailTel Tier III-certified data centre. It is based on the Central Secretariat Manual of e-Office Procedure (CSMeOP). The product is built as a single reusable system by bringing together independent functions and systems under a single framework to enhance transparency, increase accountability and transform the government work culture and ethics.
However, in a time when cybercrime is rampant and the government data is considered most vulnerable, will the security provided by RailTel prove to be a tough nut for hackers to crack?
Puneet Chawla, CMD, RailTel, told ZeeBiz.Com that the Indian Railways E-Office application is deployed on Private Cloud with multi-layered security.
"Indian Railways E-Office application is deployed on Private Cloud of RailTel and not on Public Cloud. The RailTel cloud platform is secured by multiple layers of security provided through UTM (Unified Threat Management) with IPS/IDS functionality, Anti-malware, secure VPN etc. Also, the network layer is provided on a secure MPLS VPN layer which is highly secure compared to the Internet/IP layer. All the Railway units are connected over the secure MPLS-VPN based RailNet connection. The user devices ie PC's are provided with End Point security managed from a central location. The user login is authenticated by LDAP server for providing user access to the eOffice application using CAPTCHA. The system provides for DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) for each of the eOffice users for electronically signing the office notes/proposals. RailTel IT systems conform to the ISO/IEC 27001 information security standard and the RailTel Data centres are certified to ISO/IEC 27001 standard," said Chawla.
The E-Office implementation will first be taken up at the South-Central Railway zonal headquarter along with Guntur division by Mar-2019. The work of implementation in the entire south- central railway would be completed by June 19 and other Zonal headquarters and one division in each zone will be completed by Dec-19. RailTel has already completed the soft rollout of E-office in a record time of one month in the Guntur Division of Indian Railways.
Currently, 4 modules (File Management System (eFile), Knowledge Management System (KMS) Collaboration, Messaging Services (CAMS) and Personnel Information Management System (PIMS)) will be the part of the e-office system being implemented.
"The benefits will be visible once the system is fully put to use and the manual file system is stopped. It will result in a delightful experience for the end-user, eOffice will be a milestone in Digitization of Indian Railways. It will continue to be a tool to foster improved reliability, efficiency and productivity. E-office promises enhanced transparency, increased accountability, data security and integrity, and promotes innovation by releasing staff energy and time from unproductive process and procedures. E-Office fosters a paper-less culture which will not only save operational cost but also promote a green way of working," RailTel had said.
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When asked about the estimated amount that railways will be saving using the move, Chawla said, "Currently, the exercise to estimate the savings has not been done. However substantial direct saving in terms of paper, printing cost, printing hardware & consumable, photocopiers & consumables etc, will be achieved. The system will help in faster disposal of files and improve the overall administrative and operational efficiencies and enhance the productivity of Indian Railways."
Indian Railways has offices in almost every part of the country and the savings using the move may go into crores.