Rob Clark, National Data Protection Director, CGI Canada
1. Many people know CGI but for people who are new to the community tell me more about CGI and the latest updates going on with you?
CGI is a unique Canadian success story. From our beginnings as a boutique IT firm operating out of a Quebec City basement in the 1970s, we have grown to become Canada’s largest independent business consulting, systems integration, and IT outsourcing services provider and a global technology leader with over 70,000 employees located in more than 40 countries around the world – all headquartered right here in Canada. We are the 5th largest IT services provider in the world, and we are fiercely proud of the fact that we have accomplished all of this while remaining true to our Canadian roots and values. We provide a wide range of services to public and private sector clients around the world, including high-end, strategic business and IT consulting, systems integration and implementation, application development and management, managed security services, infrastructure/hosting services, IT outsourcing, and business process innovation. We offer exceptional depth and breadth of expertise in a wide variety of IT disciplines and business domains while maintaining a focus on a number of key verticals, including Government, Financial services, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Communications, Utilities, Retail and consumer services, Oil and gas, Post and logistics, and Transportation. A few recent highlights from around the globe include:
in partnership with the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Royal Bank of Canada, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG), the successful completion of a proof of concept establishing seamless interoperability between CGI’s Trade360 platform, a trade finance platform used by banks in 90+ countries worldwide, and Skuchain's blockchain-based Brackets platform for smart contracts;
contract renewal with the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs for onsite management, administration and processing support at three passport centers and 24 passport agencies nationwide, continuing CGI's longstanding position as the nation’s lead passport services provider
in partnership with R3 and eleven multinational financial institutions, the successful development of a blockchain-based trade finance prototype using R3’s Corda platform;
the opening of CGI’s 10th global Security Operations Centre, located in Paris, France;
provision of IT consulting services and credential management tools, sensors and services to multiple US federal agencies operating under the Department of Homeland Security - all working to comply with the White House's Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP);
successful implementation of the California Franchise Tax Board’s (FTB) Enterprise Data to Revenue project (over US$2.6 billion collected, to date) using a unique and highly successful “benefits-funding” model, wherein no monies are paid to CGI until state revenue is generated;
a new global center of excellence (COE) in Lyon, France dedicated to helping clients worldwide transform their supply chains and eco-systems through advanced digital technologies;
selection by the European Commission to oversee IT quality assurance, quality control, and project management services for the Commission's Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union;
a large scale, enterprise IT modernization initiative for a leading US commercial aerospace innovator, Aerojet Rocketdyne, intended to unify disparate technologies, simplify mobile platforms and lead an overall transformation to a next-generation architecture across the enterprise;
development and maintenance of the Netherlands’ Burgernet 2.0—the next generation of a highly successful digital community policing solution (originally developed by CGI) that uses mobile and emerging digital technologies to provide citizens, municipalities and the police with a digital collaboration platform to work together to combat crime and enhance the safety of local communities; and
the successful launch of the central market operating system (CMOS) that underpins the world’s largest competitive water market, located in the UK.
2. What are some of the biggest questions and opportunities in digital identity and authentication today? As a large end-to-end IT services provider serving thousands of global clients across dozens of verticals and business domains, we are privileged to have a unique, cross-industry perspective regarding digital identity and authentication. Leaving aside traditional enterprise identity and access management considerations, which are well-served by a number of mature market solutions, our clients’ digital identity and authentication concerns typically fall into two broad, related categories: Digital Transformation. Many of our clients seek to transform their business from traditional brick and mortar installations that are supported by manual processes and traditional communications into data-driven and fully digital enterprises that are capable of worldwide, omni-channel customer engagement. In many cases, a key strategic enabler for these kinds of transformations is the implementation of a secure and privacy protecting digital identity solution capable of reducing business friction, bringing service providers digitally closer to their customers, and enabling the development of advanced, high-value online services that might otherwise be considered too risky or impractical to pursue. We recognize that so many of the digital economy use cases that we all imagine when thinking of a fully realized digital future are fundamentally dependent upon the existence of a strong, secure, and interoperable digital identity ecosystem capable of conferring a high degree of assurance that a digital customer is who they say they are in the context of an otherwise anonymous online transaction. In too many cases, without that trusted, interoperable digital identity layer in place to enable the development of truly innovative services and products, Canada’s business, government, and technology leaders simply can’t get there from here.
Risk Reduction. Our clients do important work. Whether it’s a government delivering critical and potentially sensitive services to its citizens, a large bank providing core financial services upon which millions of Canadians rely every day, a regional utility mandated to keep the lights on, or a local non-profit helping the most marginalized members of our society, they all share at least one common concern: risk management. Governments require assurance that the right services and entitlements are provided to the right individuals at the right time and private sector service providers need to know that they are doing business and sharing sensitive information with legitimate customers. And, of course, citizens and consumers of all types must be able to trust that they can access critical services and entitlements when they need them. The ever-present potential for service delivery failures, privacy and security breaches, and myriad other negative outcomes associated with misidentification or outright identity fraud translates into significant financial, legal, and reputational risks that must be managed in one way or another – and almost always at substantial cost. A robust, flexible, secure, and privacy-enhancing pan-Canadian digital identity ecosystem capable of both conferring to service providers a high level of identity assurance and providing end users with more control over their own personal data will go a long way toward reducing and mitigating the inherent risks associated with online service delivery. As those risks decrease, so too should the costs of providing high value services to Canadians.
3. What is CGI doing to address the questions and opportunities from question 2? CGI is a proud member and board director of the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (the DIACC), and we believe very strongly in the DIACC mission to both solve these problems on behalf of all Canadians and lay the foundation for Canada’s full participation in the global digital economy. We are channeling that core belief into tangible effort by becoming deeply involved in a number of the DIACC’s Trust Framework Expert Committee (TFEC) working groups, with a special focus on the development of a robust and flexible Trusted Infrastructure that will ultimately support and enable a pan-Canadian digital identity solution. In order to support this work, we continue to donate a significant amount of time and effort to the furtherance of the DIACC’s goals. In Canada and around the world, we work with hundreds of clients across multiple verticals to help drive digital transformations that can genuinely take advantage of advancements in digital identity, and we are helping a number of our European government and financial sector clients to develop their own digital identity solutions that follow the same guiding principles as those promoted by the DIACC. We are formally operationalizing “Privacy by Design” principles in terms of both our internal processes and the services that we provide to our clients, and we continually search for ways to leverage our client and partner relationships to bring together widely disparate organizations together in support of our common digital identity interests. We believe very strongly that our global, pan-Canadian, and cross-sector reach can serve as a significant net benefit to the DIACC and the Identity North community as we all work together to solve these problems and ultimately put a “Made in Canada” stamp on an industry- and world-leading solution.
What Attendees are saying
“The only conference in Canada where one can meet the who’s who of knowledgeable people and champions of digital identity to discuss the real issues and opportunities in this space.” Dave Nikolejsin, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines at Government of British Columbia
“A fantastic platform bringing together Canadian thought leaders and key industry experts to promote innovation in digital identity and authentication.” Mike Vanderkaden, VP Corporate Development, Equifax Canada