With planned spending cuts set to hit the public sector, the UK government is turning to the cloud to help it achieve more, with less.
G-Cloud, a cloud-based government app store and data centre consolidation strategy, aims to slash the current IT spending per annum - currently around £16.9 billion, by up to 30 per cent.
To achieve its goals, G-Cloud plans to support the development of an open, competitive environment across the entire public sector as well as the introduction of a government app store, maximising data centre consolidation and potentially create a communal e-mail system.
Within the plans, public sector departments would be encouraged to share and reuse IT services across normal operational boundaries, driving their standardisation and simplification, as well as speed up the procurement process through the App Store for the Government (ASG).
It should also increase data security. By consolidating data centres, G-Cloud decreases the amount of systems vulnerable to data leaks. Cloud data storage will also put an end to the chance of unencrypted data, stored on DVDs or memory sticks, being lost on public transport.
In addition, all data will be classified according to ‘impact levels’, meaning all confidential data will be hosted on a secure, government cloud.
The benefits of G-Cloud are the same as those for businesses in the private sector - increased reliability, reduced costs and the encouragement of innovation through shared resources. But it is set to move the procurement processes to SMEs, away from the more traditional large organisations.
With SMEs handling the procurement process, government departments should be able to cut the time needed to allocate its budget to procure.
What this means? Instead of a 6-to-11 month wait to procure items for a department, in which time technology is certain to have moved on, we may see government departments with access to the newest IT services, and that can only be a bonus.