Manitoba’s aging information systems at risk, Auditor General says

Manitoba’s Auditor General says the province needs to do a better job of monitoring risks related to aging computer software and hardware.

In a 36-page report released on Thursday, Auditor General Tyson Shtykalo said the Manitoba Government is not identifying and managing the risks associated with operating older information systems.

Those systems include software and hardware used to collect and share information. Shtykalo said the province relies on that hardware and software for things like fee payments, online registrations, and program applications.

“Especially over the last two years, there’s a real move towards making services accessible online, which only highlights the need to ensure the systems are there,” said Shtykalo.

He said as these systems age, there is a chance the technology will become obsolete and fixes will no longer be available, leading to a greater risk of extended outages, decreased reliability and security threats.

The audit found the province does not have a full inventory of its systems, and the way in which it assesses risks is outdated.

“What we noted in our report is that the process they’re using to analyze the risks is inadequate,” said Shtykalo.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said this is something the government should be urgently trying to remedy.

“It’s a security risk, it’s a risk to how we continue to do our business and work in government,” said Lamont.

The auditor makes eight recommendations. A key one states the government should beef up its risk assessments to identify threats and act to minimize them.

The report contains a response from provincial officials to the recommendation. It says management is aligned with the recommendation in principle and is assessing options, timing and costs to develop a more comprehensive set of risk factors.

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