U.K. government policy makers will be able to work securely on classified documents across departments for the first time thanks to a deal with cloud computing and content management service provider Huddle.
David Williams, Operations Director of FCO Services, the branch of the U.K. government that runs the network, said the decision to chose Huddle was driven by two things: efficiency savings and the improvements to collaboration it would deliver.
Some 70% of government departments have been using a version of Huddle for some time, said Mr. Mitchell, but anything with a classification of “restricted” or above was prohibited. So the government commissioned a special secure version, called Huddle IL3, to allow it to handle more sensitive documents up to restricted level. According to a government spokeswoman a large amount of government work is done at the restricted level.
Cloud-based solutions get round the problem of having multiple versions of documents stored on individual computers. They also help tackle the issue of users, when faced with obtrusive security procedures, using their insecure Gmail or Hotmail accounts.
Surely London-based Huddle has just made itself a target for every hacker in the world wanting to crack into the U.K. government’s secrets? Not so. “It is running on the government secure intranet on their servers in their data center” said Mr. Mitchell.
He added that because they were running on the government servers, they were in theory authorized to work to higher levels. He said they were hopeful to be cleared to handle the next level of security, confidential (IL4), next year.