G-Cloud 6, the latest version of the government framework through which public sector organisations buy cloud services, is due to go live in the first week of February.
Last November, a post on the government’s Digital Marketplace blog listed February 2nd as the ‘expected commencement date’ for the new framework. But while customers may now be focusing all their attention on that date, G-Cloud suppliers (including us here at Kahootz) have already endured one countdown.
Tender submissions for G-Cloud 6 had to be submitted by December 17th 2014. As with the tax return deadline currently giving millions of self-employed people across the country sleepless nights, it seems a lot of suppliers chose to leave their G-Cloud submission until the last minute. The Cabinet Office revealed that more than three-quarters of submissions were started just ten days before the deadline, with almost 90% submitted during the last three days.
The government has pledged to investigate ways to help suppliers “start the process sooner in future”, but in the meantime the focus will switch to the rollout of G-Cloud 6 in February (suppliers that have made a successful submission will receive intention to award notices on January 20th).
G-Cloud 6: What’s new?
As well as a new Twitter handle (@G_Cloud_UK will be replaced by @GOVUKDigimkt at the beginning of February), the latest G-Cloud iteration is set to usher in several changes that will affect buyers and suppliers alike.
Firstly, public sector buyers will be offered a wider choice of cloud service providers than ever before. One driver of the latest G-Cloud overhaul was the aim of making it easier for SMEs to participate. Last month, it was announced that SMEs account for 61% of total sales by volume since the launch of the initial G-Cloud framework three years ago. SMEs are now poised to claim an even bigger share of the market, which is great news for Kahootz and other suppliers like us.
However, assessing the potential impact of G-Cloud’s new approach to security is not quite so straightforward. As part of the new framework, suppliers no longer need to demonstrate the security of their services by obtaining Pan Government Accreditation (PGA).
Instead, the G-Cloud is moving to a model of self-assertion, which simply requires providers to complete a series of pre-defined security statements in relation to their product. They will then be asked to provide evidence that supports their assertions.
As a provider of secure online collaboration services (and a company that is passionate about protecting our customers’ data), we have mixed feelings about this change. However, we’re confident that customers will continue to view previously obtained PGA status as a key indicator of security credentials during the early stages of G-Cloud 6.
Of course, there are several other key security features a collaboration tool must have in order to guarantee users secure online file sharing and other services. Evaluating security is one of the ten things we advise organisations to consider when selecting collaboration software for the first time.
Find Kahootz in the Digital Marketplace here.