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The Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform, an incredible opportunity for public services

The adaptable platform has been deployed across various provincial and territorial governments in Canada, driving adoption of digital services across the population. 

The Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform is now available for all governments and organizations that wish to offer online services in a unified way to citizens, students, patients and businesses alike. With a core focus on the protection of privacy, an individual can access all public services through one unified platform using one single login.  

An Imperative for Governments 

The UN's 2022 e-government survey clearly demonstrated the importance of government digital migration. Economic development and the trust relationship between the population and governments is becoming increasingly dependent on the authorities' ability to digitally transform their public services and administrative processes. The labour shortage, climate resilience, and technological lag of public agencies exacerbates the need for this transformation. 

"The only way Governments can survive in the digital era is to embrace change and create a culture of innovation in which people and organizations experiment, learn and develop. There must be a commitment to staying the course and a willingness to resist outside forces or pressures that seek to undermine digital transformation. Governments must break down the silos that divide IT systems in order to improve collaboration between departments and achieve optimal digital integration and development. The culture of the public sector needs to change, with priority given to increased flexibility and productivity for government employees and improved user-centred approaches and outcomes."1 

The Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform allows for a smooth transition while respecting legal requirements regarding privacy. Regional governments alliances or para-public organizations can invite their various entities to gradually integrate their customized platform to simplify life for the population.

An Opportunity to Restore Trust

The perception of existing digital channels is already somewhat unfavourable, with over 62% of Canadians saying they have experienced problems accessing digital services previously. Yet still, almost three quarters of Canadians (74%) are open to accessing more public services online. In fact, 84% of them believe that their access to government services would be simplified if more digital options were available.2 

However, the sporadic deployment of disparate public digital portals over the last 20 years has burdened users as it requires them to handle multiple login credentials for distinct systems. This increases the risk and potential for fraudsters to carry out their illegal activities. 

Accelerate, but Not at Any Cost

Across North America, inflation, the labour shortage, the pressing need for affordable housing and pressures brought on by the war in Ukraine, are forcing us to rationalize resources in record time. The digital response is often cited as a miraculous solution. However, recent evidence of vulnerabilities in public and private systems reveals that going fast without privacy-preserving tools carries enormous risks. 

The Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform, designed in partnership with provincial and territorial governments,  protects user privacy while ensuring the responsible acceleration of digital services.  Government programs and services are  more secure, cyber-resilient and can serve businesses and citizens more quickly and cost effectively using our platform. 

Adapts to Existing Systems 

The Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform was created with the aim of safeguarding users' privacy while simultaneously enabling them to access public services. It integrates with current government systems and databases, obviating the need to replace existing infrastructure and systems to provide online services, and enabling agencies to avoid disruption. 

The platform can be hosted on the cloud or internal servers, allowing it to adapt to the specific requirements and budgetary constraints of each organization. 

Privacy-Preserving Access Management 

The access management is made possible by Portage CyberTech's advanced solution: Privacy-Preserving Access Management (PPAM) which acts as a bridge between identification sources like driver's licenses and account numbers and the service platform. By using this approach, a user's personal information is safeguarded and can only be accessed by them; it is not disclosed to government personnel or other organizations involved in the platform. This ensures that citizens' privacy is preserved while still providing access to essential services.  

To gain access to the platform, the user must first agree to the use of their information for authentication purposes. This agreement can be revoked at any time, and the information is not shared with any other parties beyond the requested service. The necessary authentication information varies depending on the level of confidentiality required for the specific service. For instance, to access municipal tax records, only a tax roll number and postal code are needed, while obtaining health records requires multiple pieces of information to verify identity, such as a personal identification number, multifactor authentication, and health card number. 

In addition, the system validates the corresponding information and tokenizes it as it circulates. Thus, a department can request an identification document to access a specific service without seeing or storing the information, protecting the user's identity. 

Integration of Existing Tools Through APIs 

The platform can integrate with  existing tools such as  CMS, DXP, CRM, digital and electronic signature features. Portage CyberTech already provides these proven solutions, but organizations can also integrate their own. The flexibility of the service platform is such that organizations can use it as the Identity Provider (IDP) or integrate their existing Identity & Access Management solution or identity store (IAM or CIAM).  

A Responsible and Realistic Acceleration 

In conclusion, the Portage CyberTech Online Services Platform presents an opportunity for governments and organizations to provide unified and easily accessible online services. The platform is designed to protect users' privacy while allowing for responsible acceleration of digital services and an improved user experience.

The platform connects to existing government systems and applications , which means that it is not necessary to reform internal systems to offer online services. Architected to the principles of PrivacyByDesign,  the platform allows for user-driven consent for the sharing of their personal data. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest, and access restricted to parties only the user has authorized. Personal information stored in the platform is kept to minimum and it is not shared across program areas without the consent of the user.   

Ultimately, Portage CyberTech's platform offers an efficient and secure way for governments to provide services to citizens and businesses while complying with current and future data privacy and security standards. It is an essential tool for navigating the digital age and preparing for the widespread adoption of advanced digital technology without disruption.

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