GDS Endorses Use of the Public Cloud

GDS Endorses Use of the Public Cloud

In a long overdue Guidance Note, the Government Digital Service (GDS) has endorsed use of the public cloud.

In a statement clearly intended to allay public sector concerns about cloud security, the document states:

‘It’s possible for public sector organisations to safely put highly personal and sensitive data into the public cloud. Many UK departments have made this decision based on risk management assessments once they have put appropriate safeguards in place’.

Outlining the benefits of cloud adoption and offering guidance on the approach to adopt, the Guidance Note states that the public cloud is secure enough for ‘the vast majority of government information and services’. The document praises the investments made by leading cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure, in ensuring safe environments – see Microsoft’s New UK Data Centres Will Boost Cloud Adoption

At Bridgeall, we very much welcome the GDS statement. We have long argued that there is no inherent reason why the cloud is more or less secure than on-premise platforms. Both are vulnerable to attack. The key issue is how vigilantly your network is managed and the efficacy of your security. Security and governance are critical regardless of whether you are hosting in-house or on the cloud. As long as you choose a reputable and well-known provider, cloud-based storage will generally be more secure than keeping your information on-premises. Most data breaches continue to involve on-premise solutions rather than the cloud.

With the endorsement from GDS, hopefully we will see accelerated cloud adoption by UK public sector organisations, delivering benefits in terms of cost and efficiency savings, more flexible, fast moving and customer focused organisations.

Our ‘State of the Cloud Report 2016’ showed that the UK public sector has a long way to go before it is fully utilising the benefits of the cloud for modernising the delivery of public services. This is especially the case in local government with only a small minority of the 400 or so local councils using the cloud in any meaningful way.

Given that the cloud is now critical to developing the agile IT infrastructure required to support government digital transformation programmes, the lack of progress in this area is no longer tenable.

While being strong advocates of the cloud, a planned strategic approach is required to ensure success.

As usual, all comments and feedback are very welcome.

You can find our earlier five-part blog series on the cloud here.