Choosing the right cloud collaboration platform – a public sector guide | Huddle

The right cloud collaboration tool can help you to achieve greater efficiencies and improve document security – especially if you need to share documents, and collaborate on them with stakeholders outside of your network.

But how do you choose the right solution for you and your team? 

1. Use G-Cloud

The UK Government’s G-Cloud Framework is targeted at easing the procurement process for government and public sector bodies. It means you can buy services without having to run a full procurement process – saving you time and money. 

Approved vendors can be found through the G-Cloud Marketplace. Huddle has been an approved vendor since G-Cloud’s inception in 2012. Today, as the most trusted cloud collaboration solution in UK Government, Huddle is in the top 1% of all cloud software / SaaS vendors (by total spend). 

2. Can you Benefit from Wider Agreements?
Depending on your requirements for external, multi-agency collaboration, it’s worth checking whether your preferred vendor has any beneficial agreements in place with key government or public sector bodies.

If your preferred solution is already in use with key partners, this can greatly reduce training time and ensure a seamless experience for all stakeholders. For example, if you need to share files and collaborate with Emergency Services, it’s worth noting that Huddle is the only cloud collaboration solution that’s whitelisted by all Blue Light Services across the UK. Huddle is also used by the National Audit Office, and Ofsted, for their annual inspections.  

3. Mobility 
The ability to submit, access and approve files (as well as stay up-to-date with the latest team comments and tasks), while on the move is an increasingly important consideration – especially for teams running inspections. 

Some cloud collaboration services (such as Kahootz) do not offer native mobile apps, and force users to use the service through the mobile web. This can slow-down workflow, and increase the security risk. 

Huddle’s native mobile apps for iOS and Android deliver a slick mobile experience, and ensure you’re notified of the latest updates. Additional PIN-lock security, and mobile device management (to lock and wipe users’ devices), further protect your sensitive files. 

4. Does it work with your existing apps? 
Think about the workflows that you are trying to improve, and the other productivity apps that you and your team use on a daily basis. Your organization is almost certainly using (or preparing to move to) Microsoft Office 365 – so ensuring your shortlisted vendor can integrate with these apps is vital. 

Huddle offers a native, out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Office, allowing users to open and edit directly in both the Desktop or Online versions of apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. (Note – if you need to co-edit Office documents with other team members, make sure your vendor offers the ability to open and work directly in Microsoft Office Online – note everyone offers this, so ask!)

5. Ease of Use 
Government-grade security can often come at the expense of usability. This can be damaging to adoption and force your users to find their own (low-security) solutions. Within six months, your ROI will plummet, and you’ll have a plethora of “Shadow IT” solutions to manage. 

Road-test your shortlisted solutions and ask for customer references. Tools like Huddle are designed with the user-experience in mind, and feature a modern UI to make it a tool that users love!  

6. External Collaboration
With so many different IT platforms in use across government and the public sector, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is different departments and agencies trying to work with each other in an efficient and secure manner. It can get even more troublesome if you have to share and collaborate on documents with private sector partners. 

Select a tool that makes external collaboration simple. With Huddle, you can invite anyone to join your secure, private workspace with just their email address. 

7. Remember GDPR!
With the advent of GDPR, cloud-based services need to support the latest security compliance standards. Ask your shortlisted vendor to offer evidence of GDPR compliance, including how they manage and review their cloud hosting partners.

Certified with ISO 27001:2013, Cyber Essentials PLUS, and utilising UK data centres, Huddle ensures the sovereignty of your data, and also provides the ability for users to maintain a full and transparent audit trail of all activities.

You can also check our GDPR complaince statement here.

 

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Ross Duncan

Head of Enterprise Success


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