Tag Archives: gcloud

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service Procures Cloud Backup Via G-Cloud

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service (ECFRS) is using Backup Technology (BTL) to safeguard the data it generates as it protects local people and property.

ECFRS is one of the largest county fire services in the UK, protecting a population of more than 1.74 million. Its firefighters attend over 24,000 emergency incidents every year.  After its existing backup solution became too difficult to manage, ECFRS chose BTL via the UK Government’s Digital Marketplace for G-Cloud services, to provide an improved managed service.

Jan Swanwick, Head of ICT for Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, explained: “Traditionally procurement has been a long, protracted process. With G-Cloud it is very straightforward because all the supplier and product information has already been collated and validated.”

BTL, which is part of cloud company iomart, protects more than 22TB of data for the fire service using a Public Cloud Backup solution from Asigra.

Paul Hill, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Safer Communities said: “Saving lives isn’t just about putting out fires and attending emergencies, it is about using the data we collect during our work to protect the people and property of our county. We spend a huge amount of time analysing the data we collect so that we can target our services in the correct and most efficient way. Knowing that this data is protected by Backup Technology is vital to the success of everything we do.”

Rob Mackle, Sales & Service Manager for BTL, said: “The fully managed solution encompasses every aspect of the backup contract from configuration and installation through to the daily monitoring and restoration support of the backups.”

Asigra is the world’s leading online backup software developer and BTL its largest global partner.

Eran Farajun, Executive Vice President of Asigra, said: “Essex County Fire & Rescue’s mission critical operation is a perfect example where data availability can have a real impact on an organisation’s quality of service. BTL understands this and relies on our award-winning data recovery software to provide customers with best-of-breed backup services. This recent deployment highlights the continued momentum of cloud-based data recovery throughout the region.”

To read the full case study click here

Will the G-Cloud be a success?

Since it’s full launch in October 2012, the G-Cloud framework has far from been a rip-roaring success. The brief for the G-Cloud gave it 3 major goals, all of which were a challenge in themselves. Primarily, the G-Cloud framework was designed to open the eyes of the public sector to the functional and cost benefits of cloud computing, whilst at the same time making it easier for public departments to find exactly what they needed without having to put out a full tender or competition. As a by product of this it was hoped that government (both national and local) would use the framework to buy from SMBs, and give a much needed boost in revenue to hundreds of companies up and down Britain.

So in short, the G-Cloud was designed to revolutionise the IT departments of the UK government, make the procurement of new technology more efficient and give a boost to the UK technology sector during a tough time for all businesses. It’s easy to see how any initiative, government led or not, would struggle to achieve any one of those goals, never mind all three. Having said that, the G-Cloud is still relatively new so it can’t be written off just yet.

The inspiration for the G-Cloud was to improve the speed at which new services could be procured, and existing services improved upon. There was also a feeling among critics that the typical providers from big business were expensive and didn’t always provide systems specifically designed for the job. This resulted in bad value for money as councils and government departments ended up paying a lot for something not particularly well suited to the job.

Despite all of this good intention, the G-Cloud has been slow to pick up momentum. Many suppliers who have made it on to the three incarnations are yet to earn a penny from doing so, and some, despite being on the framework, are waiting to be awarded with the pan-government accreditation necessary to do business on the G-Cloud. This is being put down to a combination of the number of applicants, as well as many suppliers underestimating the standards required. Despite this, the Cabinet Office claims three-quarters of all suppliers on the G-Cloud are SMBs.

Graeme Swan, of Ernst & Young, gave his thoughts on the G-Cloud in an interview with V3 magazine. He praises the cabinet office for their promotion and leadership of the G-Cloud initiative, but criticised the public sector, claiming “no one” uses it because “government departments don’t understand how to buy” from it, nor do they know how to integrate new services with their existing setup, citing a lack of “service-oriented-architecture” that would allow departments to pick and choose services without having to completely overhaul their infrastructure.

The latter point is particularly disappointing, as that is one of the main benefits of cloud computing; the ability to cherry pick features but without the painful integration procedure.However, cloud computing is very much on the rise in general, and so it can only be a matter of time until the public sector embraces it. It remains to be seen whether this will this be as a result of the G-Cloud, or just a reflection of normal industry practices.


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