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Government introduces cloud service for restricted documents

UK government organisations will be able to collaborate in the cloud, even on documents marked Restricted

Huddle, the cloud collaboration and content management service, has worked with IT experts from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to develop Huddle IL3, which it claimed is the first commercial public cloud service accredited for pan-government collaboration on 'Restricted' data.

Hosted on the Government Secure Application Environment (GSAE) cloud infrastructure run by FCO Services, the FCO's trading arm, Huddle IL3 will allow office-based and remote workers across government to share content up to IL3-Restricted with the appropriate security measures and accreditation.

IL3 is one of a series of security categories used by government which runs up to IL6-Top Secret, and in approximate terms it denotes data that could facilitate improper gain or loss. The secure public version of Huddle was already in use with several government departments, including Defra and the Cabinet Office, but is limited to IL2 ('Protect', analogous to best commercial practice) data.

Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell said that the extra security offered by the new government-hosted version would significantly extend the service's footprint. “While the majority of the market is well-placed to reap the benefits of public cloud offerings, there are a few sectors, such as government, where regulatory requirements make this impossible,” he explained. 

“Rather than battling with costly on-premise systems, government now has the opportunity to deploy a secure online application that enables people to get their job done.”

Chris Moxey, the CEO of FCO Services, said that the government-hosted GSAE platform – which can support applications up to IL4 (Confidential) - was created specifically to meet the needs of the public sector and help departments achieve the 25 per cent efficiency savings sought in the government's Spending Review 2010.

“Our agreement with Huddle to host this collaboration application on GSAE will help departments to make efficiency savings without the risk of compromise to data,” he said.

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