Britain’s public sector currently leads the world both in terms of cloud usage and the applications that it is putting in the cloud. Yet it has failed to communicate its successes, and is yet to realise the full benefits.
Recently, I was interviewed at Think Cloud for Government, and we discussed the big issues for the UK public sector, some of our major success stories, how we can help the rest of Europe with issues like the NSA and where we see the future of cloud computing.
Sensible security is one of the big issues; at last month’s Conservative Councillors Association (CCA) Local Government Conference, I ran a session with Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP on Cyber Security.
It was very clear that some Local Authorities are spending a fortune doing the wrong things to get the PSN security accreditation, and going backwards from a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to investing in hundreds of thousands of secure laptops. At the same time, we have large central government customers moving to a BYOD policy to save millions through sensible segregation of data.
Any sensible form of security requires different levels of security, and segregation between the levels. Central Government has in some cases learnt this lesson, and a cloudBuy customer with 1,000s of remote workers wanted to have a BYOD policy for Intranet access.
99% of the data on the Intranet could be released under FOI and is not confidential
Less than 1% of data requires a level of military security, which means it cannot be connected to the internet. The department pooled all this data, and thus had to bring all its systems up to the higher level of security.
This was straightforward in the old days when remote workers had no external access to the department without using expensive security accredited devices with significant operational overhead, ensuring that remote workers could never access corporate data without going into a local office. We worked with the department to move the 99% of data (which is not confidential) on to a cloud hosted Intranet which could then be accessed by all the remote workers with their own devices.
Pioneering examples of cloud technology across local Government
Unfortunately, while Central Government has a policy of moving into the cloud and is already seeing benefits, the rest of Government, the NHS, Higher Education and Local Government has yet to adopt a ‘cloud-first policy’, and is not using G-cloud.
Yet there are great examples of innovative cloud usage outside of Central Government, demonstrating that it can deliver extraordinary benefits.