urges NITDA to sustain Certification
By Emmanuel Elebeke
Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Nigeria Communications Satellite limited, NIGCOMSAT, and NIPOST to immediately begin the process of attaining ISO27001 Certification in line with the digitization plan of federal government.
The minister gave the directive on Tuesday where he witnessed the presentation of ISO27001 certification to the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA in Abuja.
Pantami, also directed NITDA to come up with regulatory instruments that will make it mandatory to some selected public institutions to be certified in that regards.
He encouraged all chief executives of the parastatals to work in synergy and work together to support one another in national interest to achieve a common objective.
The ISO27001 is a globally accepted standard and best practice for managing information technology.
‘‘I direct NITDA to come up with regulatory instruments that will make it mandatory to some selected public institutions to be certified in that regards. I also use the opportunity to direct other parastatals under our superstition like NCC, Nigcomsat, Nipost to start the process immediately and make sure they are certified, so that we witness another celebration.
‘‘I encourage all chief executives of all parastatals to work in synergy, the earlier the agencies come together to support one another, the easier for the ministry to supervise. There is no time for this is our own, what is most important is Nigeria and Nigerians.
‘‘We are after the result that we are going to achieve and that result cannot be achieved by individual efforts but by collectively. The earlier we realize this the better for us.
‘‘The achievement that we are celebrating today was motivated with the achievement of Galaxy Backbone when they were ISO27001 certified. Changing the perception of your employees in public or private company is not that difficult because they are retained based on their performance. If you fail to perform, you lose your job.’’
‘‘That is why every month; employees are losing their jobs in banks and other private companies. And that is how companies operate. This should be the standard we should be operating. That is why I said the entire staff of NITDA deserves commendation. No question about the fact that any institution that attains this will change the perception of their staff.
‘‘For me, it is not only about certification but about social and security reorientation because this is now inbuilt in those who have gone through the process. Many institutions globally are striving to be certified and that why the statistics is very encouraging.
‘‘NITDA happens to be the first main stream public institution in it circle to be certified, making this feat unprecedented. Getting the certification is one thing and retaining it is another thing. Let us not go back to status quo. Sustaining success is more difficult than attaining success itself. This why NITDA must strive to retain the feat.
‘‘In the future, there could be two surveillance audits. The agency needs to be very serious about that because through surveillance, the certification can be retained or cannot be retained. Now, charity has begun at home by attaining this certification, as a regulatory agency, what is most important is to make sure other agencies attain the same certification. It will make it more easier for you to deal with the challenges of cyber security,’’ he added.
On timeframe, the minister said, ‘‘There could be a time when we sit down to look into that; then we will know what to do. It all depends on terms and budgetary provisions, if you do not have it, you wait until you include it in your budget. When that budget is passed into law, then you start the process. That is why we are being careful in giving timeframe without looking at your budget provision because without budgetary provision, certain things are beyond what you can handle through overhead and other means.’’
Earlier in his address, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi said NITDA took initiative to show example to other agencies of government.
He explained that the certification comes with three key areas: availability, confidentiality and integrity of information management.
For government to achieve the vision of digitizing services, he called on all government agencies to start focusing on attaining ISO27001 certification as best practice globally because that is the only way they can guarantee and assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of government digital services.
‘‘As a regulator we feel that we need to do it before we start preaching to others to do. We are in a digital age where everything is becoming digital, everything is about information technology.
‘‘When we are talking about e-government or digital services, it is about these three things. You need to make information available to the citizens, make sure the integrity of the service and also make sure of the confidentiality of the service.
‘‘To achieve this, you need to pay attention to information security and information security is beyond technology. It is not just about technology but about the business, keeping the flag flying.’’