When cloud services first came to people’s attention many of the initial concerns were about security. People could not (or would not) get their head around the idea of confidential data being stored in the cloud, somewhere they couldn’t see or touch. Sure, there were some benefits to using cloud services but security was a far higher priority and if any breach occurred the cloud’s benefits would be nullified pretty quickly. Secure cloud computing was a concept that many people simply couldn’t get their heads around

Recent research by Navint Partners reveals that while Fortune 500 CIOs could appreciate the benefits of cloud services, security remains a key concern and barrier to adoption. However, an increasing number of organizations are now waking up to the fact that cloud suppliers take security very seriously and secure cloud computing is a reality. After all, looking after their clients’ data is at the heart of their business. In fact, government organizations worldwide have embraced the cloud and accepted that, although their data is no longer on-premise and visible, it is being well looked after.

Yes, government bodies – and businesses – need to carefully consider security when moving to the cloud. However, the security issues often presented as reasons for not using cloud-based tools and services are now invalid. In response to concerns around uptime, disaster recovery arrangements, data centre and application security, many providers will give government organizations and enterprises full visibility of their security and resilience measures. Huddle, for example, is transparent about its uptime and publishes the statistics online (http://uptime.awaremonitoring.com/uptime/huddle/). Over the last 90 days, Huddle’s uptime has been 99.995%, which is exceptional. Our content collaboration platform has also been ISO 27001 certified, making it one of the most secure collaboration services in the marketplace.

Recent research with Huddle’s customers by TechValidate revealed that 91 percent of IT organizations consider Huddle’s government-level security important to their own organization.[1] As our credentials show, the public sector has always been a strong user of secure cloud computing services.

The security ‘issue’

Some of Huddle’s earliest customers were public sector organizations, for which data security is of paramount importance.

One high profile programme was for the Belgium Federal Public Service (FPS) Social Security. New European Union (EU) regulations meant that three countries – Spain, Belgium and Hungary – had to work together to prepare for the forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU. This meant different teams in Europe collaborating and exchanging confidential information across a number of administrations and organizations.

The FPS Social Security recognized that its in-house network, shared drives and email systems were not up to the job but any new solution had to keep information relating to the Presidency of the Council secure. After implementing Huddle, the project ran efficiently and was deemed a huge success across the EU. A key factor in that success was the high levels of security inherent in Huddle.

All Huddle customers benefit from three layers of security – application, network and infrastructure – and a secure online environment where cross-firewall collaboration is possible. Content can be shared and accessed by anyone given access, whether inside or outside of an organization. For this reason, 70 percent of government customers have replaced email attachments with Huddle[2] and 62 percent agree that Huddle provides workers with an easier and more secure way to share files with colleagues.[3]

While the levels of security inherent in the public version of Huddle are sufficient for most public sector organizations, certain data types in UK Government cannot be placed in the public cloud. To address this, Huddle launched a private version of Huddle – Huddle IL3.

IL3 and IQT

Huddle IL3 is the first commercial public cloud service to be accredited for pan-government collaboration on restricted data. It meets the requirement of certain public sector organizations for their highly classified data to be accessed only via private data stores. Collaboration is as effective in IL3 as it is in public Huddle and IL3 remains a place for Government workers to work on confidential documents together, review and amend content and discuss ideas.

Huddle already works with a number of U.S. Government organizations but our recent partnership with In-Q-Tel (IQT) means that we can now work with U.S. Federal government departments. IQT aims to ensure that intelligence agencies are equipped with the very latest technology products and services and the partnership means a FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002) certified version of Huddle is being developed for two IQT customer agencies: the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

So if organizations such as these are confident in the levels of security provided by Huddle, who can honestly say that secure cloud computing isn’t a reality?

If you’d like to join the discussion around cloud in government, come along to our “Government in the Cloud” conference on 16 January 2013. Sign up now to secure your place

 

 


[1] Source: TechValidate. TVID: http://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/B20-ADD-C4E

[2] Source: TechValidate. TVID: http://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/457-EB2-EE6

[3] Source: TechValidate. TVID: http://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/65C-CF2-BC7

Author:

Simon O’Kane, Huddle’s VP Enterprise.

As Huddle’s VP Enterprise, Simon O’Kane is directly responsible for driving the organization’s focus on enterprise and continuing to build Huddle’s presence in large companies and government organizations globally.

Simon has more than eight years experience in the enterprise cloud computing market specifically and more than 20 years experience in the ICT space. Prior to Huddle, Simon was Managing Director, UK and Ireland, at Salesforce.com, one of the pioneers in enterprise cloud computing.

Simon O'Kane


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