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Government Cloud First policy


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Why is it that while there is a Government Cloud First policy there are so much fear of cloud in the public sector? I have been working with a number of government and local council agencies in the UK and I found that they are still trying to decide if cloud is a good idea.

UK Government Cloud First Policy

The UK Government Cloud First Policy was introduced in 2014, it recommends SAAS and makes public cloud mandatory for central government services.

US Government Cloud First Policy

The US Government Cloud First Policy was introduced in 2010.

Cloud First was an initiative that came out of the first Obama administration. Launched in 2011 by the then US CIO Vivek Kundra, it mandated that government agencies had to evaluate a cloud computing option first and then come up with a good reason why not to use it before they could carry on spending on traditional on-premises solutions.

I had been searching around to see what others are doing and low and behold the British government has a policy covering cloud that makes things very clear, even better, its been around for years!

“When procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first before considering any other option. This approach is mandatory for central government and strongly recommended to the wider public sector.”

To me this could not be made more clear: If you can use cloud then you should use cloud for every public service out there. Indeed if you are creating a service to be consumed by government or public sector then you should be creating a SaaS solution that will jump to the head of the queue for any procurement process.

While this is the rule I would be really interested in how this works out in practice!

“By Cloud First, we mean the public cloud rather than a community, hybrid or private deployment model.”

I was very encouraged to see as well that it also stipulates that the first choice should always be “public cloud”, which should help to disassociate the irrational fear that I regularly encounter for cloud services. One can just utter the word cloud and you can see people running for cover.

I have been working to move many people to Visual Studio Team Services (Microsoft’s SaaS version of TFS) and have met some resistance. That the government of the UK has adopted this policy I think will do a lot to dispel the myth that there is something scary about the cloud or that there is some way that your own infrastructure could ever be as secure as cloud.

If you are in any way trying to achieve business agility or embarking on a digital transformation then you really have no option but to use cloud. Where else can you create on demand environments for testing and deployment? Where else can you easily create configuration as code with little effort?

Don’t make life hard on yourself, even the government has adopted cloud…. Do yourself a favour and make your infrastructure problems someone else’s problem.

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