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Secure collaboration in the cloud era and G-Cloud’s new approach

We’re now living in the era of the cloud. This may be obvious to the many people already using a variety of cloud services in their work and personal lives (I know a few who would now struggle to live without services like Dropbox and Apple iCloud), but the point was further underlined by the inaugural edition of Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index.

Published earlier this month, the IT hardware giant’s survey of more than 2,000 global organisations found that nearly every IT decision-maker is either using or planning to implement cloud solutions. Just 3% of respondents said they have no plans to use the cloud.

For keen observers of the cloud market like us, the Dell report contained two more findings of particular interest. The first was the strong correlation between use of the cloud and company growth. According to the research, 72% of organisations using the cloud have posted growth of 6% or more in the last three years. This compares favourably with companies not using cloud, where only 24% have achieved growth rates of 6% or higher.

So using the cloud can clearly help organisations to expand. However, the second notable finding in the report was that security concerns remain the leading barrier to cloud adoption. Just over half of IT decision-makers said they consider security to be the biggest obstacle to expanding their use of cloud services.

Security in the G-Cloud

Of course, businesses voicing concerns about the security of the cloud is nothing new. In our experience of delivering secure collaboration in the cloud, the main problem is one of perception, and the view of the most sceptical IT director will often change once they’ve engaged with the details of the technology. However, we thought this aspect of the Dell report was particularly interesting for public sector organisations in light of the government’s new approach to security in the G-Cloud.

As part of the new G-Cloud 6 framework, suppliers will no longer need to obtain Pan Government Accreditation (PGA) for their software. Instead of centralised verification, suppliers will be tasked with self-asserting the security credentials of their products, based on questions derived from the CESG’s Cloud Security Guidance.

The government says this new approach is designed to provide better information for buyers and create a more transparent way for suppliers to explain how they secure their services, as well as making it easier for SMEs to join the G-Cloud. However, the initial reaction has been mixed and some experts believe the absence of a single, trusted accreditation system will confuse and discourage buyers. With Dell’s report confirming that cloud security concerns remain high on the agenda among decision-makers in 2014, is it the right time to pass the burden of assessment from government to individual buyers?

At Kahootz, we take our responsibility to provide a secure cloud collaboration tool seriously. Existing accreditations remain valid for 12 months from the date they were issued, which means our PGA status will continue to provide customers with security assurances during the changeover period. After that, we’ll continue to work as hard as possible to demonstrate that your data is protected when you’re in Kahootz.

What’s your view on the G-Cloud’s new approach to security?

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