July 7, 2014
Back in 2012 the Mauritian e-Government Portal was launched. Media along with many IT professionals criticized the website that had a whopping price-tag: Rs 50M. We were told the cost was high because aging servers needed to be replaced & there were also license costs for various proprietary software. One of them was Microsoft Sharepoint, an enterprise solution consisting of a Document Management System (DMS), Content Management System (CMS) and supports intranet features. The product is indeed a robust one & surely configuration is meticulous.
Who developed the e-Government Portal?Wait! Before we go any further, was the solution based on SharePoint developed 100% locally? Nope, media outlets reported that it was developed in collaboration with an Egyptian company. The same was indeed published on the said company’s website: LINK Development celebrates the launch of Mauritius e-Governement portal!
I would like to help readers distinguish between two kinds of specialists when it comes to Web Projects. First we have the Web Designers/Developers who design, develop & implement the websites. Then we have System Admins/Engineers who design the hosting infrastructure & assure smooth running of the websites once implemented. The last part, that is maintenance & smooth running is thus assured by our local folks, who are mainly Government officials.
In many of my previous articles, I highlighted malpractices at every level within the ICT Ministry. I have strong reasons to doubt the capacity based on observations of the current projects & those that left a bad precedence.
To complement the same I recently noticed another security blunder on the e-Government portal. Before that, let me ask you a simple question. If you have to login to Yahoo Mail, what do you type in your browser? Usually, that would be yahoo.com/mail, just to be redirected quickly. Thus, the use of slash “/” and something is a common practice. Right? Now, on the e-Government Portal, I was looking for eforms, so I cut short the longer address to www.gov.mu/English/eforms. Oh! Oh! Can a Microsoft expert explain to me why I am welcomed by the back-end of Microsoft SharePoint? … and we’re talking about the Government Web Portal here.
A comprehensive analysis of the Rs 50M website project was published by Island Crisis. It’s worth reading with some very good observation.