State agencies and ministries have been ordered to streamline their ICT systems with a view to check the rising cases of cybercrime.
A circular from the Office of the President demanding adherence by October 14 states that uncoordinated ICT systems have left the government vulnerable to cyber criminals, which saw businesses lose about Sh15 billion to hackers in 2014.
Cases of redundancy, wastage and difficulties in sharing government data are also to blame for the current lack of standards in State-run platforms.
“The ICT ministry shall develop and issue guidelines to framework contracting for purposes of managing price, quantity, quality and standards in acquisition of ICT equipment,” said the directive signed by Chief Of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
The directive calls on all Cabinet and principal secretaries, as well as accounting officers to ensure compliance. They must notify officers working under them, that all hardware and software procurement will be conducted under the watch of the ICT Authority for seamless implementation.
The circular comes at a time when the 2015 Kenya Cyber Security report singles out government most affected by cybercrime, with an estimated loss of Sh5 billion last year.
“To address the challenge, we developed Government Enterprise Architecture (GEA) and key domain standards in collaboration with the Kenya Bureau of Standards. We have also established a working framework with all public entities,” said ICT Authority chief executive Victor Kyalo in a statement Friday.
The move is aimed at cutting huge spending on substandard ICT equipment. The trend was at its peak in 2011 where the total ICT expenditure hit a staggering Sh88 billion.
The national ICT master-plan 2017 states that the government in 2011 spent 65 per cent of the amount on hardware as opposed to the global benchmark which stands at 18 per cent.
Mr Kinyua in the directive states that the trend has created a loophole with most agencies and ministries widely using illegal and unauthorised software that quite often has malware and viruses.
“This has led to blacklisting of government data traffic by local and international organisations,” said the directive.
Further, the directive states that failed projects, unnecessary expenses and waste of resources have been caused by lack of coordination among ICT services and equipment in government.