UK defence ministry deploys its first cloud app

The Ministry of Defence, which has been wary of embracing the cloud until now due to security concerns, has rolled out an online suggestion box app for its staff through the G-Cloud framework.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The UK Ministry of Defence says it has deployed its first cloud-based application: an online suggestion box that has been rolled out through the government's G-Cloud framework.

The service, GEMS Online, comes from Skyscape Cloud Services, the same company that is hosting the government's centralised Gov.uk portal. According to an MoD spokeswoman, it is the first time the department has opted for a cloud-based service, due to security considerations.

"Obviously [the cloud] is not something that we're going to be ahead of the curve on," she said.

Security, fortunately, is Skyscape's forte — the company specialises in handling restricted data for the public sector. The firm is also relatively small in size, when it comes to the sorts of companies that have traditionally bid for government contracts.

"We are proud that the MoD has the confidence to buy cloud services directly from an SME, and shows that there are real opportunities for SMEs to play key roles in the delivery of critical national infrastructure for UK public services," Skyscape CEO Phil Dawson said in a statement.

G-Cloud is the government's programme for adopting cloud-based services, which are offered to various departments through a centralised store.

Having launched over a year ago, the initiative has come in for much flak over its supposed lack of achievements. The team hit back with a blog post a week ago, arguing that it has done "a lot" in that year, notably setting up its 'Cloud Store' and getting its procurement frameworks in place.

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