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Hong Kong Government debuts internal cloud platform

Hong Kong has become the latest jurisdiction to implement its own cloud platform that will host government services utilised by a range of bureaus and departments.

GovCloud will be housed in local data centres and initially be used to develop electronic record keeping as well as collaborative working systems that will be shared by internal bureaus and departments.

"With robust and fully resilient infrastructure, GovCloud provides a stable and reliable environment for bureaux and departments to develop and host their e-government services,” stated a spokesperson for the Office of the Government Chief Information Office [OGCIO]. "Through adopting cloud computing technologies, GovCloud brings about the benefits of cost saving, time saving and enhanced agility in meeting the growing demand of bureaux and departments on IT resources. This will expedite development and delivery of e-government services,"

The government has set aside some $242 million [£147.2 million] to develop the system and related services over the next five years and it has been designed to comply with international best practices in cloud computing as well as to adhere to stringent government security requirements.

Hong Kong’s GovCloud differs to those already implemented by the US and UK in that it is only being used for internal government services whereas those employed in the UK and US are designed as procurement portals for government departments.

The UK launched G-Cloud back in February 2012 and it is already onto its fourth incarnation. It has received a mixed reception since its roll out with one survey by Six Degrees Group in December finding that 87 per cent of UK councils and local authorities weren’t purchasing IT through G-Cloud and 76 per cent had no idea what it could be used for.

Programme directors, meanwhile, have given backing to the programme and dubbed it a game-changer for the way that the government purchases, delivers, manages and operates IT.