MacTel secures AU$20 million cybersecurity contract with ATO

Macquarie Telecom has scored a AU$20 million contract with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to deliver secure internet gateway (SIG) and cybersecurity services.

Under the initial three-year contract to commence next year, Macquarie Telecom will deliver its SIG services to secure the connection between the ATO’s IT environments and the internet. This will include leveraging the company’s recently launched security operations centre, data centres, and ASD-certified cloud computing platforms.  

In order to support the deal, the company said it will upgrade its whole-of-government SIG and continue to add to its cybersecurity technology portfolio with additional products.

As a result of the deal, Macquarie Telecom now expects total group capital expenditure, excluding the expansion of IC3 East, to be between AU$61 million to AU$64 million for 2020 financial year.

Must read: MacGov says Australian government is becoming stifled by cloud vendor lock-in

However, the contract value hardly makes a dent to the ATO budget, after the agency landed nearly AU$151 million over three years to improve its data storage and security systems when the federal government handed down its 2019-20 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The ATO recently renewed its IT service management contract with Leidos Australia for another 29 months in November, in a deal worth AU$87 million.

Last year in March, Leidos escaped being penalised after the ATO faced a series of issues that had plagued the taxation office since late 2016, including “one-of-a-kind” SAN outages, and although the ATO said the issues were rectified, further service disruptions ensued, resulting in the ATO website being pulled offline

The government department had to turn its mainframe off and switch it back on again in July 2017 when a disruption occurred five days into the new financial year. 

Following that, the department responded with promises of “smooth operating” IT, as well as the assurance of a more “connected and bulletproof” system than ever before. 

In addressing the Finance and Public Administration References Committee, ATO’s CIO Ramez Katf and CDO John Dardo confirmed the agency imposed penalties on DXC Technology — which owns Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the company that was contracted as the storage solution provider for the ATO — for allowing the SAN outage to occur in the data centre.

More recently, in July, the ATO’s services, including its portals and myGov online functions, were down once again. Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers labelled the outage as a “monumental stuff up”, saying the Australian government needed to fix the outage so that people could lodge their tax returns.

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