Letter to the editor
I agree with Kevin Plexico's assertion that government agencies are reluctant
to outsource their Web hosting ["The Web-hosting dilemma," Federal Computer Week, March 26, 2001]. However,
those that do choose this avenue are seeing the benefits. The city of Rochester,
N.Y., illustrates my point.
In February, Rochester launched the first installation of the Citizen Service
Center, a Web site hosted by Xerox Corp. The e-government service allows
city residents to pay parking tickets, obtain permits and pay utility bills
online. Processing fees for the various services range from $1 to $3, which
are paid using a credit card. These online transactions bring to light the
security issues that Plexico mentioned in his article trusting vendors
with very sensitive data, such as personal information about citizens.
By utilizing Xerox, Rochester has avoided the potential security concerns
that come from working with this sensitive data. The company's Citizen Service
Center uses an advanced, multilayered Internet security system to protect
transactions and data. Xerox servers are located in a protected facility
and, for an added level of security, a user's credit card information is
stored in a computer that is not connected to the Internet.
While government agencies very well may have the IT capabilities to host
their own Web sites, there is a distinct advantage to outsourcing. Outsourcing
allows a government agency to concentrate on its core competency serving
its citizens. The private sector allows agencies to deploy technology more
efficiently, thus enabling them to become more productive.
Rochester is just one example, and as government agencies acquaint themselves
with the security technologies available today, this number will grow
to the benefit of both the agencies and the citizens.
Citizen Service Center