When Home Office needed a cloud partner it could depend on to host four important applications and provide a disaster recovery service to minimise downtime it chose Sungard Availability Services to offer OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE cloud services under the latest G-Cloud framework.
We are among a select handful of cloud providers accredited to deliver a secure cloud platform with the high availability, security and resilience its applications demand.
Our fully-managed Government Cloud is aligned to CESG Cloud Security Principles, making it suitable to host and process OFFICIAL data, while our Cloud Disaster Recovery (R2C) service replicates data in real-time at one of our highly resilient data centres. Both are available through the Digital Marketplace, the route many public sector organisations choose when procuring cloud-based services.
Home Office had originally selected another cloud supplier but when this provider unexpectedly lost its authorisation to deliver secure government cloud services, Home Office quickly needed to find a new provider who not only met its accreditation and platform requirements but also would be capable of successfully managing the migration process.
The wide-ranging project scope included high level and low level design of the new platform, integration of middleware and databases, testing and steering Home Office through the complex migration process.
Overcoming the challenges
Due to the sensitivity of the information involved, data could only be transferred via portable encryption devices that had first been scanned and cleared in a quarantine-style process. The migration was further complicated by the fact that some of the applications needed upgrading to meet accreditation and platform requirements. Each application had been developed by a number of separate vendors but, throughout the project, all parties involved worked closely together to achieve a common goal.
Service management integration was another major consideration. Whereas previously this had been the responsibility of the cloud provider, under the terms of the new contract Home Office was responsible for performing the service integrator role. Recognising this was a new area of responsibility, Sungard AS provided hands-on help, training Home Office employees in the unfamiliar processes and procedures to support a smoother transition for users as the contract moved from one provider to another.
Moving to a secure, cloud-based infrastructure has enabled Home Office to support the government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy and benefit from high levels of resilience, availability and flexibility. Home Office has the peace of mind that comes from knowing OFFICIAL data is now hosted within two UK-based data centres and supported around the clock by a dedicated security-cleared operations team.
A year on since the system went live, Home Office Group Wide Services has enjoyed 100% availability. Andrew Rivers, Senior Portfolio Manager, Home Office, remarks, “It just sits there and does what it’s meant to, which gives me great peace of mind.”