Keeping a tab on IT resources
When it comes to a states Department of IT (DoIT),
it is important to keep a check on every system and make sure that IT resources
are not being abused. Then theres the barrage of attacks by cyber criminals.
Rishiraj Verma reports how the DoIT of the Government of Punjab has gone
about solving its problems
Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi
The Punjab Governments Department of IT seemed to be
facing major problems relating to managing their computer systems. They were
looking for software tools that would help them in this task.
Says Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary of the
Punjab DoIT, The management of 500 machines in the secretariat was proving
difficult. We had to figure out a way to manage things right. Staff were
starting to use office computers to download music and install unnecessary software.
We were basically repairing other peoples faults, adds Kalsi.
Further, there was no proper mechanism for ensuring that virus definitions were
kept up-to-date, resulting in security threats to computers that carried critical
information. The amount of spam inundating the departments servers was
Avoiding downtime was an imperative. The answer was to deploy a monitoring system.
Remarks Amarjeet Singh, Systems Manager-cum-Consultant at the DoIT, The
critical factor was managing 500 computers at the secretariat. He says
that there was no real business case as such, and that infrastructure management
was the only thing troubling them.
The DoIT conducted a thorough evaluation. A state technical committee was set
up, and they evaluated a number of vendors and their solutions including HPs
OpenView and IBMs Tivoli. Says Kalsi, We wanted a vendor who would
be ready to do undertake this project on a pilot basis. In the end Computer
Associates (CA) was chosen as the partner for implementing an information technology
Amarjeet Singh states that the DoIT and CA took about two-and-half months to
conclude the implementation. It was started on January 10, 2005 and was
finished in seven weeks by February 25, 2005.
According to Amarjeet Singh, the project was a success from the very start because
it took less than the projected 10 weeks. He says that there were no phases
per se, but the modules were implemented in a staggered manner.
Modular Problem Solvers
The Punjab DoIT implemented six major modules of CAs Unicenter solutions.
Kalsi explains that Network and Systems Management allowed them to have a centralised
view of the entire network, enabling them to locate a single system that may
be sending out faulty packets or using excessive bandwidth. Further, the Network
and Systems Management Network Performance Option was implemented to ensure
that all the IT assets could be managed centrally.
Another module that Kalsi and Singh say has helped the DoIT is the Secure Content
Manager. All we have to do now is make policies, and the software automatically
scans both incoming and outgoing traffic, says Amarjeet Singh. Thanks
to Unicenter Remote Control, DoIT is now in a position to operate, scan and
even isolate faults remotely, saving time and money in the process.
Its all about control
On the benefits received due to this implementation Kalsi says, We can
now control the entire IT infrastructure in the secretariat. According
to him, it has now become much easier to pinpoint both the systems that are
being used for unwanted activity as well as the URL. While the URL may be blocked,
the user of that PC is first advised to avoid such activity in the future.
Amarjeet Singh cites another problem that has been solved. Spam control
has been very effective, and now the spam rate has come down to about 1 percent.
Roadmap for the future
In the near future, we plan to connect the entire
state of Punjab on a WAN with not less than 15,000 computers
The Punjab DoIT has plans on the IT infrastructure front.
The present infrastructure management project will play an integral part in
how the scaled-up infrastructure will be managed.
In the near future, we plan to connect the entire state
of Punjab on a WAN with not less than 15,000 computers, discloses Kalsi.
He adds that around 85,000 systems from the Education Network of Punjab will
also be connected through the WAN.
Singh concludes: We are planning to further augment the Unicenter solution
with more modules in addition to annual technical support from CA.
- The organisation
The Department of Information Technology (DoIT) of the Government of
Punjab. Its main focus is to ensure that better IT services are provided
to various departments that are part of the Government of Punjab.
- The challenge
The DoIT wanted to manage all the 500 computers in the secretariat that
houses the Government of Punjab. They also wanted to make sure that
there was no downtime or security threat. Cutting down on misuse of
bandwidth and managing the governments assets were other issues.
- The solution
CAs Unicenter set of solutions were implemented to help the DoIT
improve services for the government.
The solution included six major modules:
- Unicenter Network and Systems Management
- Unicenter NSM Network Performance Option
- Unicenter Asset Management
- Unicenter Software Delivery
- Unicenter Remote Control
- eTrust Secure Content
- The benefits
- Spam rate cut down to about 1 percent
- No misuse of bandwidth
- Troubleshooting of hardware made easier
- Various usage patterns can be generated to pinpoint the exact
cause of a problem