Government to use cloud services from overseas

Government departments could soon have services delivered from offshore locations as part of the G-cloud initiative.

Government departments could soon have services delivered from offshore locations as part of the G-cloud initiative.

The government will use foreign companies to provide cloud services to the public sector from overseas for information not deemed to compromise the working of government if released but that could cause inconvenience or discomfort to individuals known as IL2 [Impact Level 2] information.

Speaking at Accredit Camp, a presentation intended to help companies providing services on the government’s soon-to-be-announced G-Cloud framework, Rob McLeod from the Government Procurement Service said: “We will be looking at different services provided from oversees.”

There is nothing that prohibits the offshoring of IL2 information, but there are a number of areas for CIOs to consider when reaching their decisions such as DPA [Data Protection Act] compliance. Such areas will be considered during the accreditation process, said McLeod.

Around 1700 services have been issued from under 300 suppliers on the G-Cloud framework, with the catalogue of services is expected to be launched later this week on the government’s Cloud Store portal.

It is hoped that central accreditation will result in services which can be procured by multiple customers and mean different departments will not have to go through the same information assurance process multiple times.

However, accreditation will not be required for IL0 services and the majority of cloud consultancy services appearing on the framework. But the accreditation process for IL3 services and above, which could compromise the workings of government if released, will be longer and require a datacentre inspection.

The G-Cloud accreditation process has been aligned with that of the Public Services Network (PSN), said McLeod. “We’ve designed it as similar as we can make it to the PSN process. The accreditation panel is the PSN accreditation panel. There’s a lot of dialogue going on between programmes to make sure it is all joined up,” said McLeod.

McLeod said the next cloud framework was expected to begin in the next two to three months. “The second one is going to be even more different and easier to take part in,” he said.  

There will be a Buy Camp for potential cloud customers in government on at 1 March.

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