Secure e-Government Services: A Comparative Analysis of e-Government Maturity Models for the Developing Regions–The Need for Security Services

Secure e-Government Services: A Comparative Analysis of e-Government Maturity Models for the Developing Regions–The Need for Security Services

Geoffrey Karokola (Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden), Louise Yngström (Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) and Stewart Kowalski (Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/jegr.2012010101

Abstract

E-Government offers many benefits to government agencies, citizens and the business community. However, e-Government services are prone to current and emerging security challenges posing potential threats to critical information assets. Securing it appears to be a major challenge facing governments globally. Based on the international security standards – the paper thoroughly investigates and analyzes eleven e-government maturity models (eGMMs) for security services. Further, it attempts to establish a common frame of reference for eGMM critical stages. The study utilizes the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) of scientific inquiry/ learning cycle adopted from Checkland and Scholes. The findings show that security services (technical and non-technical) are lacking in eGMMs – implying that eGMMs were designed to measure more quantity of offered e-government services than the quality of security services. Therefore, as a step towards achieving secure e-government services the paper proposes a common frame of reference for eGMM with five critical stages. These stages will later be extended to include the required security services.
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1. Introduction And Background

The advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have made many electronic services possible. These services are often referred to with the prefix “e”, for example e-Commerce for commerce services, e-Learning for distance learning services and e-Government for government services. The concept of e-government has been given many definitions depending on the perspective and background of the interpreter. Brawn and Brudney (2001), Busu Subhajit (2004), Mean and Schneider (2000), UN (2008), and World Bank (2001) all define e-government in different ways. In this paper the World Bank (2001) definition is chosen because it gives a wider meaning of e-government. “The government-owned or operated systems of information and communication technologies that transform relations with citizens (C), the private sector (B) and other government agencies (G) so as to promote citizens’ empowerment, improve government efficiency and service delivery, strengthen accountability and increase transparency”. In this regard, e-government services are considered to be the primary means by which governments (G) interacts with its domains, i.e., Businesses (B) and Citizens (C). However, other commentaries consider employees (E) as part of e-government domain (Hwang et al., 2004). But in this paper, the three commonly widely used (G, B and C) are adopted, for the reasons that employees (E) are considered to be part of the government (G). Additionally, based on the nature of e-government domains interrelationships, e-government domains are categorized into two groups, namely: internal and external domains. The former refers to: Government to Government (G2G), Business to Business (B2B), and Citizen to Citizen (C2C); and the later refers to: Government to Business (G2B), Government to Citizen (G2C), and Business to Citizen (B2C) (Mean et al., 2000; World Bank, 2001).

To guide and benchmark e-government implementation, international organizations, consulting firms, academia and individual researchers have proposed various types of e-government implementation models, called “e-Government Maturity Models (eGMMs)” defining different maturity stages. A maturity stage reflects the level of e-government maturity, the degree of technology complexity, the degree of systems sophistication, and the level of interaction with users (Gronlund et al., 2005; Moon, 2002; World Bank, 2001). It is broadly recognized that the advantage of having a stage-wise approach in eGMMs is to offer governments the ability to measure the progress of e-government implementation, giving them flexibility to develop and prioritize e-government-related activities, and facilitating organizations to meet their e-government goals by ensuring that business and technology components are effectively aligned (Gronlund et al., 2005; Iran et al., 2006; Layne & Lee, 2001; UN, 2008; World Bank, 2001). With the advent of e-government services – it has become possible to virtually make e-government services easily accessible and available to more users (World Bank, 2001). This implies that e-government mission-critical information assets and/or infrastructure are exposed to more security threats. Traditionally, interactions between governments (G), businesses (B) and citizens (C) require a physical visit to government offices – posing little threat to paper based information assets.

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