Huddle: Amazon, Google clouds not Government ready

Cloud computing

Generally available big cloud services from the likes of Amazon and Google are not ready for UK Government use, according to Huddle.

The cloudy British start-up, which offers a SharePoint rival, claimed it did not use Amazon or Google cloud services itself as they did not provide the levels of security it required to serve its own customer base.

Both the US and the UK have cloud first policies which is fantastic, but they are limited in who they can work with.

"Amazon has built a Government cloud in the US, but it's specific for Government, so they have some pockets of usage," Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell told IT Pro.

"But generally, the issue with these cloud services is they are designed for hugely distributed computing which is great for consumers.

"But when you're in a very large enterprise like a global investment bank or a Government which needs to know exactly where your data is, [you need] multiple stages of redundancy, you have to know exactly who is accessing data on your servers at any one time, what nationality they are ... you just can't do that [on such services].

"These are amazing services but they're just not set up to provide that level of enterprise security and uptime."

Ultimately, the UK Government will be limited in who it can use for cloud because of the constrictions it faces, according to Mitchell.

"Both the US and the UK have cloud first policies which is fantastic, but they are limited in who they can work with," he added.

"For instance, for many years Salesforce have not been able to work with UK Government. They do not have a data centre that is of the right security in the UK.

"The challenge is deciding which vendors they can work with and what they're storing on them because that's where security and uptime and location of servers really matters. That reduces down the number of vendors they can work with quite dramatically."

IT Pro contacted to ask how it was getting along with building a UK-based data centre, which it planned to complete by this year.

"We don't have any updates on the EMEA data centre," a spokesperson said.

Whilst said "there is huge potential for cloud computing to bring efficiencies to the public sector," it could not "share any central government references."

At the time of publication, neither Google nor Amazon had responded to a request for comment on Mitchell's statements.

Chris Chant, the G-Cloud programme director, told IT Pro over Twitter that the Government's approach to cloud vendors and what information can be sent to their data centres will be judged on a "case by case" basis.

Chant said it depends entirely on the data itself, "what's it aggregated or accumulated with."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.