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Hockey's cybertrust lost in space

If ever there's been a prelude to a government agency cutting ties with a red-faced service provider, Joe Hockey's veiled rant about Cybertrust was probably it.The Department of Human Services minister has let his feelings be known about failed backup power in one of the security giant's datacentres that housed a Centrelink mainframe.
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Written by Steven Deare on

If ever there's been a prelude to a government agency cutting ties with a red-faced service provider, Joe Hockey's veiled rant about Cybertrust was probably it.

The Department of Human Services minister has let his feelings be known about failed backup power in one of the security giant's datacentres that housed a Centrelink mainframe.

The incident came at "significant operational cost" to Centrelink, Hockey told ZDNet Australia.

Having a portfolio as closely watched as his, with Centrelink and the access card constantly under public scrutiny, Hockey could easily have wound up looking like a minister in charge of a wreck.

While he didn't go as far to name Cybertrust, he wasn't shying away from letting us know he and Centrelink CEO Jeff Whalan were not impressed.

He seemed to make a point of noting an "extensive contract" was in place to deliver backup power.

There's also the possibility that the Department of Family and Community Services' systems were affected, as they take some data feeds from Centrelink.

For Cybertrust to have a federal minister air his frustration about their mistake certainly breaks new ground for the average vendor stuff-up.

A Cybertrust spokesperson confirmed the incident was initiated by a failure in Canberra's power grid, and that there had been a "glitch" in providing backup power. "We deeply regret the incident", she said.

Cybertrust, Hockey and Centrelink all reassurred ZDNet Australia that all the welfare payments for that day had been made, but the fact that the minister wants new backup facilities shows how seriously the incident's been taken.

None of it bodes well for Cybertrust.

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