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10 May 2013 | Andy Allen
Public sector IT buyers have been told to adopt a “cloud first” policy by the government.
The Cabinet Office said when procuring new or existing services public sector organisations should evaluate potential cloud solutions before any other option.
The “cloud first” approach is mandatory for central government and strongly recommended for the rest of the public sector.
By forcing Whitehall departments to purchase IT products and services through the government’s CloudStore, an online marketplace, it hopes to reduce IT costs.
Departments will remain free to choose an alternative to cloud if they can demonstrate that it offers better value for money.
IT and technology law specialist David Isaac of law firm Pinsent Masons said companies hoping to win government IT contracts will have to offer cloud solutions and that it will be “imperative” for them to become a listed supplier on 'G-Cloud' frameworks. These frameworks allow public sector bodies to gain access to services being offered by the listed suppliers.
“Suppliers need to be alive to the push by the Cabinet Office to require government departments to use off-the-shelf cloud solutions to save money,” Isaac said. “Suppliers will be left behind if they do not offer cloud solutions that meet government needs.”
The Government has also announced that the third G-Cloud supplier framework has gone live.
There are now 708 companies on the new framework – of which more than 80 per cent are SMEs.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, described the CloudStore as a quicker, cheaper and more competitive way for the public sector to buy IT.
He said: “The formal introduction of a ‘cloud first’ policy will drive wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector, boosting business.”