New InforME Contract Offers More eGovernment Services To State Agencies
By Paul Sandlin, eGov Services, OIT
InforME was statutorily created in 1998 to provide the system through which the State electronically provides public information, access to public information and premium services to individuals, businesses and other entities. InforME operated under the original contract from 1999 to this year. Through an extensive requirements gathering process, a list of desired services was arrived at and included in the new contract. Beginning with this edition, eGov Services will provide What's New with details on the various services as they become implemented. Services to be presented in the upcoming months are:
- Multi-media audio/visual
- Time and material statement of work process
- Content Management System
- Web analytics
- Data center move
- Infrastructure implementation
- Disaster recovery
- Availability/Back up/failover capability
- GIS integration
- Customer relations software implementation
- Personnel service capacity
New FTP Service - SimpleDataTransfer is the first new service to be highlighted.
If you have need to send or receive non-sensitive data to or from parties outside of State government then you should consider using a new free InforME service called SimpleDataTransfer (SDT). The service was developed to handle the ad hoc movement of non-sensitive data in a secure manner. It is ideal for transfers that have heretofore been sent via email. It was developed in preparation to the impending retirement (Oct. 2008) of the ftp service at ftp.maine.gov which has a number of vulnerabilities that have necessitated it be taken out of service. Its replacement SDT has a number of qualities that make it an excellent alternative:
- It requires no extra software. The user only needs a web browser.
- It uses the https protocol to encrypt data in transit.
- Its use is limited to parties where either the sender or the recipient has a Maine.gov email address. This will guarantee that all transfers will have associated with them someone who is accountable for the data being transferred.
- File sizes sent by the drop box will be limited. Currently, the limit is 100mb. Transferring very large files has a negative impact on the bandwidth of the portal as a whole.
- Files will have limited retention periods. A significant problem with the old service was that users rarely cleaned up their outdated content. The consequence of this was that the file space allocated grew to a tremendous size.
The application works by letting users upload files to the Internet and sending the recipient an email with instructions on how to download the file.
Originally SDT was not planned to be generally available until July 1. However, because of the sudden changes to the anonymous ftp environment last week the ‘live' date on the service was pushed forward and it can be used now. Users should know that though some final touches are still being applied, like a web form for automated account set up, the core functionality of the service is solid and ready for use.
Parties interested in using the service should contact their web coordinator who will forward the request to InforME.