Open standards should be a priority in public administration’s IT projects, says Noel Cuschieri, enterprise architect at Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA). Open standards are a strategic part of Malta’s IT policy, Cuschieri says.
Malta’s government “will adopt open standards, encouraging the exchange of information and innovation, while seeking healthy competition and lower costs. Equal consideration will be given to open source and closed source software”, Cuschieri quoted Digital Malta, the national IT strategy for 2014 - 2020.
The IT strategy emphasises the role of open standards in the design and implementation of the government’s IT infrastructure. “Infrastructure and applications will be based on open standards to ensure interoperability and collaboration at national and international level”, Cuschieri said.
Cuschieri talked about Malta’s approach to open standards in a webinar last week. The webinar was organised by the “Open Standards for ICT Procurement” community on the Joinup portal. This project by the European Commission’s Directorate for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG Connect) facilitates the promotion and use of standards when procuring ICT solutions.
MITA is promoting the use of open standards in several areas, Cuschieri explained. The organisation helps public administrations with IT solution road maps, and helps assess IT architecture projects; two processes where deciding on open standards is prudent.
One example of the importance of open standards is MITA’s implementation of Security Assertion Markup Language SAML and Web Service-Federation. These two standards allow the identification, authentication and authorisation of web services. SAML and WS-Federation facilitate the management of government IT solutions that are hosted by IT service providers in government data centres.