HMRC becomes first major government department to embrace cloud data storage

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Move, made through the G-Cloud, could be a landmark one.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has become the first major government department to switch to G-Cloud computing for data management storage, in a landmark deal with Skyscape.

HMRC will begin moving locally stored data to the cloud starting this month, with the migration pencilled to conclude early next year.

And HMRC chief information officer Phil Pavitt said the move is set to save the department significant sums of money from its procurement budget.

"This change will save over £1m a year in running costs and will increase reliability and security of HMRC’s internal IT services," he said. "The Skyscape contract is a major step for HMRC in moving away from traditional ways of working with large service providers."

And PwC technology partner Barry Murphy said the move by such a major government department marked a change in attitudes to cloud computing, with organisations now increasingly comfortable with the security of the cloud.

"Getting the technology in place is just the first leg of the process," he told TechWeek Europe. "The biggest challenge is the behavioural change that needs to follow. Too often the failure of new systems is blamed on the technology when more often it’s because people haven’t adapted to them."

This year the government announced spending cuts of £550 million across local authorities and departments, and the cloud computing tender that was put out earlier this year was a major source of cost-cutting.

As a result, a number of government departments are stepping up their efforts to spend through the CloudStore, with Computer Weekly reporting that the Government Digital Service had also selected Skyscape as an infrastructure-as-a-service provider through the G-Cloud.

The G-Cloud programme, which the government hopes will allow smaller providers and suppliers to win contracts with government procurement departments, has received some criticism since its launch, but the latest Skyscape deal is notable both due to the government putting aside security concerns to embrace new technology, as well authorities moving to work with trusted suppliers without bloated, long-term contracts.

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