ICC Presents New ICT Services and Service Catalogue

ICC, the go-to ICT and digital solutions provider for United Nations family, has released a new suite of services across its different areas, including Client, Professional, Software, Platform, Infrastructure and Cloud Integration services.

ICC is meeting the challenges and drivers for organisations to move to new private, hybrid and public cloud offerings, offering its Clients assessment, migration and implementation as well as fully managed operational support and cost management for a number of cloud solutions.

ICC has also developed strategic partnerships with three Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform vendors (UiPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere) to offer the ‘best-of-breed’ and absolute fit-for-purpose RPA solutions, now that automation has become a logical step forward for organizations. Already five of ICC’s Clients, including UNHCR, WFP and UNJSPF, are leveraging the new automation services to increase efficiency.

Another expanding area is Data and Analytics, with tools to direct and drive business insight. ICC’s new solutions include data analytics visualisation, business performance management, data warehousing, dashboards and key performance indicators (KPIs).

ICC services overview. Photo: ICC

New services include:

  • Microsoft Office 365 Management: Comprehensive services to best use Microsoft’s public cloud capabilities with an emphasis on communications, collaboration, endpoint management, enterprise mobility and identity management.​
  • Microsoft Azure Management: Value options to host applications, platforms and infrastructure in the  Azure cloud, with varied services from Clients building and operating to ICC building, deploying and managing services on behalf of Clients.​
  • Cloud Web Hosting: Varied options to host or extend web applications into the public, ICC-managed cloud. ICC offers required automation, scalability and reliability so that Clients are able to focus on mission delivery.​
  • ICT Communications: Services that include advisory, information/content design and delivery, campaign management website content management, social media, technical writing, editing, translations and more.​
  • Information Security Awareness: Strategic advisory to help an organisation set up a state-of-the-art, effective information security awareness strategy, from an industry-leading learning lab and platform to communications, events and training support. ​
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365: From licensing, configuration and custom development to integration, training and support to help organizations in their digital process transformations.
  • ServiceNow: Services to help Clients adopt a single cloud platform for IT services and management, simplifying complex webs of legacy processes and systems.​
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Digital enablement technology that leverages a combination of user interface and surface-level features to create scripts to automate routine, predictable data transcription work.​

ICC’s mission is to provide ICT services, maximising the sharing of ICT solutions from innovation and infrastructure to systems and skills in order to generate economies of scale. ICC is highly competitive with today’s technology marketplace, building synergies with industry partners as well as with its Clients.

Operational excellence, service level management and continuous service improvement are fundamental to ICC, where the expert team brings decades of experience with United Nations programmes, funds, entities and related non-for-profit organizations.

For more information about ICC’s services read ICC’s Services Overview and ICC ICT Services Booklet, or contact us at business@unicc.org.

Photo: ICC

Innovation Award Celebrates ICC and IPPC Partnership for the ePhyto Project

ICC and FAO/International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have been collaborating on an innovative project for plant protection with an international ePhyto web hub to digitalize trade facilitation. The system is rolling out to countries worldwide now, and ICC is pleased to announce the project has received a trade facilitation innovation award at the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2019, 17-18 September 2019, in New Delhi, India. The award was for piloting and implementation of the Generic e-Phyto National System (GeNS) in Samoa and Sri Lanka.

The innovation award recognizes the work of IPPC and ICC in delivering the ePhyto hub, providing tools and opportunities to realize UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is strong interest in the Asia-Pacific for further country participation and implementation.

IPPC’s Secretariat Craig Fedchock, who was also the e-Phyto project leader, enlisted the expertise of ICC’s Venkat Venkatswaran, Chief of Application Delivery, as the e-Phyto project manager. Together, their work helped develop and operate a centralized hub to facilitate the exchange of plant certificates through a protected, web-based system. This e-Phyto application will help standardize plant trade certificates, as well as prevent the submission of fraudulent certificates for unfit and unsafe plants.

The partnership of ICC and IPPC successfully delivered an innovative solution for developing countries to ensure plant safety and protection, as they move across borders. Electronic phyto-sanitary certificates, in place of paper certificates, ensure safe standards in the arrival and clearance of plants. Trade suffers when ePhyto certificates do not utilize a harmonized e-business standard. IPPC and ICC, through their collaboration on a Generic e-Phyto National Systems (GeNS) for plant trade certificates, have delivered a progressive and tangible solution to an on-going issue for plant trade. See the presentation shared at the forum here.

For more information about the IPPC ePhyto project and how a national plant protection organization can participate, visit https://www.ephytoexchange.org/

The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum is the leading regional platform for the exchange of information, experiences and practice on trade facilitation. The APTFF has been organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and a growing number of partners since 2009, including UNCTAD, WCO and WTO. It is held biennially and attracts more than 250 participants from 30 countries.

ICC Wins CSO50 Information Security Award 2020

New York, September 30, 2019 – The International Computing Centre (UNICC) has been named an honouree of a 2020 CSO50 Award from IDG’s CSO. This prestigious honour is bestowed upon a select group of organizations that have demonstrated that their security projects or initiatives have created outstanding business value and thought leadership for their companies. See CSO press release here.

The CSO50 Award is a recognized mark of risk and security excellence. The award is given to organizations and companies rather than individuals, making it an honor in which everyone on your security team can take pride. Client and Partner Organizations who have similarly won this award include UNDP and the Asian Development Bank.

ICC’s Partners have requested a new approach to handling cyber security risks. ICC has responded with new tools and new processes to support flexible arrangements by the development of a cyber security knowledge hub at ICC, with its expert, certified staff. ICC also brings 48 years of experience working within the United Nations landscape and offers the same UN privileges and immunities to this hub.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, ICC

The CSO50 Award is a recognized mark of risk and security excellence. The award is given to organizations and companies rather than individuals, making it an honor in which everyone on your security team can take pride. Client and Partner Organizations who have similarly won this award include UNDP and the Asian Development Bank. Judging criteria included innovation (the extent to which your organization used security in a new way) and business results value (the measurable impact your project has had on your organization’s business).

Other CSO50 honourees include Adobe, ADP, AFLAC, Brigham Young University, Cities of Gaineville and Greensboro, Equifax, Expedia Group, Genpact, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, HP Inc., Kansas State University, Microsoft, PayPal, Prudential Financial, Inc., Q2 Software, Inc., SAP SE, St. Louis Cardinals, LLC, Visa Inc., Webster Bank and others.

Common Secure Information Security Hub for the UN Family

ICC introduced a Continuous Security Improvement Suite several years ago offering cyber security tools to a handful of UN Agencies, including infrastructure for UN field offices with security controls, a threat analysis tool, and governance and operational solutions for smaller UN Agencies to support ISMS standards and processes.

Its singular success has led ICC to scale into a comprehensive global solution, now including over 30 Agencies and growing. With tools in place, ICC initiated a Common Secure Hub for the UN family, including a UN Security Operations Centre, SIEM, an information-sharing network and comprehensive cyber security solutions across the spectrum.

We have worked to build a Common Secure Information Security Hub for the UN family, with over 20 staff and 30 Clients today in areas such as threat intelligence networking, a UN Security Operations Centre (CSOC) and Incident Event Management (CSIEM), PKI digital identity services, advisory services, governance, and operational support and our CSOC located in ICC’s Centre of Excellence in Valencia, Spain.

Tima Soni, Chief, Information Security Services, ICC

ICC, as a not-for-profit UN entity, is supporting the UN Reform’s mandate for Agencies to utilize shared services for maximum impact and greater efficiency and effectiveness across UN Agencies. Clients are asking for more business value for their cyber postures, including mitigating the risks of negative reputation, loss of information, exposure to complex cyber-attacks, sharing timely, relevant, actionable cyber security threats, and incident information. The fundamental business driver for this innovative cyber security hub has been the interest and demand from the Client base, which ranges from large UN organizations like UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR to smaller Agencies like WMO, WTO and ILO.

The Hub provides a community for everything cyber in the United Nations – oversight and governance solutions, an Inter-Agency intel-sharing community of practice, as well as operational components, information security awareness, SWIFT security assessments and security incident response.

ICC maintains strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, ID2020, Cloud Security Alliance, Center for Internet Security, Hyperledger, SWIFT, UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and FIRST organizations, bringing the best of long-term agreements, partnership opportunities and best practices sharing with ICC’s 60 Clients.

What is innovative is the use and support of new technologies (PKI for shared digital identity management, Robotic-Process Automation, AI, open source and agile development and block chain are some of new technologies ICC is offering).

What is even more innovative is the establishment of inter-Agency hubs where different Agencies leverage the same, shared solutions. Historically UN Agencies work in silos with their own budget and business solutions – the Hub brings shared solutions to provide maximum efficiency and cost savings with a brand-new innovative approach.

About ICC

The International Computing Centre (ICC) has 48 years of experience providing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to United Nations programmes, funds and entities. Its mission is to provide ICT services to the United Nations family, maximise the sharing of infrastructure, systems and skills and generate economies of scale to benefit its over 60 Clients.

Leading Social Impact through Innovation and Partnership Event at Microsoft

A Microsoft United Nations General Assembly Side Event with UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank and others….

Microsoft hosted a UN General Assembly side event called Leading Social Impact through innovation and Partnership at the Microsoft Technology Centre, 11 Times Square on Wednesday 25 September from 6:00-9:00 pm.  Anish, Paolo, Lyle, Ender, Philippe, Tom, Barto, Lei Ming, Bill and Maria from ICC attended the evening meeting with Microsoft and other colleagues from UNDP and UNICEF.

The key question of the evening was:

How can we  harness the power of technology to empower a sustainable future and enable the achievement of the SDGs?

ICC staff     Photo: ICC/Allen

The event highlighted examples of digital innovation to advance lasting solutions to spark economic opportunity, social inclusion and drive progress. Alex Pinho, Justin Spelhaug of Microsoft’s Tech for Impact Group and Kate Behncken of Microsoft Philanthropies guided the evening that showed concrete examples of private-public partnerships to make a difference.

Justin Spelhaug

Microsoft wants to bring the power of technology to every United Nations organization to accelerate social impact around the world, from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya to the 450,000 Syrian children refugees in Turkey today.

It’s great to have the technology, but you can’t use it if you don’t have the skills.

A new blueprint is needed for corporate responsibility today.

Kate Behncken

Technology is more relevant and accessible than never before. 20 years ago there were 10 people in the room having this discussion. Today there are more than 100.

Microsoft has moved from a focus on upgrades and patches to PCs to being full members in delivery of the SDGs.

Technology can change the world, but no organization can do this alone.

Speakers included:

Marcos Neto, Director of the Finance Sector Hub, UNDP

There are so many business opportunities to unlock in the SDGs… It is not easy for corporations to change, but at UNDP we want to help them redirect the flow of money towards the SDGs.

We are trying to use digital transformation to solve development problems, but half the world’s population have no internet.

There are two inter-related concepts that are important for UNDP’s Digital Strategy: Digitization and Digitalization. Digitization is the process of converting physical information into digital formats. It is commonly-driven by technologies that focus on enhancing efficiency by automation of existing processes.

Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change an organization’s business model, including creating new or improved ways of delivering services, and improving the quality of what is delivered. See Digital Strategy website and document

UNICEF, UNHCR, Microsoft and more empowering displaced children with digital skills  Photo: ICC/Thomsen

Mustafa Osman Turan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and next Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh

You need partnerships because the problems are so complex. Investors, private companies, philanthropists, governments, non-profits… we all have to work together.

The SDG Impact Accelerator (SDGia) is a global accelerator built by a multi stakeholder platform focusing on empowering “systems entrepreneurs” and innovators who are providing impact at scale. This Turkish funding mechanism is working with UNDP, WFP, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as other private and public organizations in Turkey and around the globe.

The key mission is to help with basic services access and clean water through equity free cash, mentoring, field visits, networking, impact capital and strategic partnerships. See SDG Impact Accelerator 2020

Turkish diplomat Mustafa Osman Turan emphasising the need of partnerships to solve the SDGs  Photo: ICC/Thomsen

Zachary Carmichael, with the Famine Action Mechanism (or FAM) from the World Bank

Analysing data in  new and innovative ways has allowed us to quantify the structural drivers causing famine. With AI-driven technology we can forecast these events. We don’t need to wait for the worse, we can start mobilizing resources earlier.

We don’t need to wait. Using early warnings we can start mobilizing resources. Intervening earlier makes the difference between life and death.

For prevention and risk management to address fragility, conflict and violence around famine. See FAM website

Data analysis allows to forecast famine events and mobilize resources at an earlier stage to save lives Photo: ICC/Thomsen

George Peradze, Chief, Administrative Division, UNDP

We can get rid of paper processes with automation. We can save lives by changing our own behavior on the road through a monitoring device.

Smart asset management and lean vehicles. Joint project with Microsoft on UNDP Vehicle Tracking.

The goal of the project is to digitize and digitalize assets and processes and control costs, replacing old manuals and log books with a tracking and monitoring tools to optimize all vehicle use, helping improve road safety.

UNDP is replacing old manuals and log books with automation tools to manage its fleet  Photo: ICC/Thomsen

Daniel Couture, CIO, UNICEF (and Chair, ICC Management Committee)

We need to respond to threats in a more integrated way. We are dealing with financial information from beneficiaries and supporters, with information regarding children. We need to act responsibly. We need to increase awareness, from threat management to threat prevention.

UNICEF is working with Microsoft (including Azure Sentinel) for improved enterprise platform security with increased awareness, intelligence, information and integration across UNICEF information and system platforms to share data and visualize it to improve the risk and mitigate threats to the organization’s security posture.

Couture underscored the point to scale up, utilising AI and other sophisticated technologies to protect the right to privacy for UNICEF staff and the women and children they serve.

Microsoft’s partnership allows for better planning around the software-as-a-service modalities, the complex business systems and the increasingly sensitive data (beneficiary data) in a world of shifting attack paradigms with better threat prediction. This includes revisiting the UNICEF approach to operational security.

UNICEF can achieve this though:

  • Awareness
  • Increased detection and response capabilities
  • Process optimization
  • Automated threat response
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • ‘Connectors’ of applications including queries notebooks and run-books for threats
  • Integration of traffic of information into a single dashboard

Couture emphasized the need to scale up to best protect financial information from beneficiaries and supporters, with information regarding children – acting responsibly and increasing awareness.

UNICEF CIO Daniel Couture  Photo: ICC/Allen

ICC and UNITAR Launch Mobile App for WHO Safe Surgery Checklist

ICC and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have partnered to develop a mobile application to facilitate the use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. The app was launched Tuesday 17 September 2019, during the celebration of the first World Patient Safety Day.

Mobile apps with innovative technology like voice recognition can make all the difference in access and availability of information to people around the globe.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, ICC

World Patient Safety Day was established this year to raise global awareness on accessible, safe, timely and affordable surgical care, an issue that is at the heart of universal health coverage and is key to achieving any health related objective outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Energy, telecommunications, manufacturing and service industries have shown that innovative digital solutions can help increase safety in the medical field. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was developed to reduce errors and adverse events, improve teamwork and communication in surgery.

The new mobile application aims to promote the use of WHO’s Checklist by making it even easier to follow through a voice recognition system. As a result, UNICC, WHO and UNITAR expect the morbidity and mortality rates to keep decreasing in patients during and after surgery.

ICC’s Director, Sameer Chauhan, explained the crucial link between technology and patient safety and how possible technological tools can contribute to surgical care.

The launch event, organized by WHO and UNITAR in the Palais des Nations in Geneva was preceded by a roundtable with experts from WHO global surgery staff and health care specialists from around the world who met to discuss the need for safe surgery.

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist app is already available at Google Play.

See also the related ICC story on WHO’s 5 Moments of Medication Safety App.

ICC and Amazon Host February AWS Roundtable in Geneva

ICC and Amazon jointly hosted a business roundtable on AWS services at the Domaine de Penthes, Chateau de Penthes in Progny-Chambesy, Switzerland (near Geneva) on 26 February 2019. This gathering focused on sharing ICC solutions and delivery results using the AWS platform as well as discrete AWS service offerings. This is the first of a series planned on a regular basis, including other ICC Headquarters locations (New York, Rome, etc.).

Over 17 Clients attended, including ILO, IMO, UNOG, WIPO, WHO, WTO, and WMO at the venue and another ten online (including UNIDO and others), with a fair share of interest in what ICC has already done and what it will be offering.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, ICC, provided an introduction and overview to the evolving partnership, welcoming attendees. Prado Nieto, Shashank Rai, Roberto Cruz Flores, Nyuta Fortuna, Roberty Turturea, Gabriel Galati, Carlos Correia, Dharam Paluru and Oliver Neff attended from ICC. The agenda included:

  • 10:00am:  Registration of guests
  • 10:30am:  Opening and welcome – Sameer Chauhan, Director, ICC
  • 10:45pm:  WTO Use Case – Fabrice Boudou, CIO, WTO and Shashank Rai
  • 11:00am:  Key services that are most relevant for the UN – Data Lakes, Outposts, VMware Cloud, AI/ML and Ground Station – Amazon
  • 11:30am:  ICC AWS services
  • 12:30pm   Lunch
  • 14:00pm: Event closed.

Key takeaways

  • ICC provides turn-key solutions built on top of AWS services through it’s architecture, business analysis and application development practices
  • AWS Resources: different AWS Services being consumed (for example EC2, S3 storage or QLDB ledger)
  • AWS Accounts: Cost of resources is accumulated under the account used to deploy them.
  • An account can be part of ICC master organization (ICC root-user account) or Client master organization.

The event was a great ‘kick-off’ and announcement of ICC’s AWS-facing services and support models.

Delivery models

  • Client built/ICC Managed      > Client builds a set of services in the cloud, while ICC provides ongoing support
  • ICC built/ICC Managed          > ICC builds the service according to Client requirements and provides ongoing support
  • ICC built/Client Managed      > ICC builds service according to Client requirements and transitions service to Client for management
  • Client built/Client Managed  > Client brings in their accounts purely for billing discounts and/or rapid access to cloud resources. The  Client keeps full ownership of both setup and operational activities.

WTO Proof of Concept

The roundtable included a use case and initial Proof of Concept project ICC is working on with WTO around machine learning, whereby trade monitoring analysts needed an automated solution to help analyze information from over 300 websites and different ‘Google News’ results (keyword search). They had to manually sift through the sites, read news articles, in some cases use Google Translate (as sources may be Russian or Turkish or a language they don’t speak). All this effort is to monitor different notifications issued by various national governments that have an impact on trade with a goal to produce the WTO Trade Policy Review Body Report.

ICC provided a solution for collection and ingestion of information from different sites and application of ‘filters’ to sift and aggregate ‘relevant’ information. A prototype was developed and presented to WTO. Stakeholders there loved the solution – resulting in an investment to fund a full Proof of Concept. The prototype was developed on AWS , with a totally serverless front-end and the back-end using Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS). The translation work was done natively within AWS using their translation services.

ICC is now exploring the use of machine learning technology to train a model and use it to sort the news feeds.