New tranche of G-Cloud services receive pan-government accreditation
14 Microsoft services added to list, bringing total number of accredited services to 41 from 27 with 60 more on the way
A tranche of 14 services on G-Cloud have received IL2 accreditation, bringing the total number of accredited services to 41, with approximately 70 services understood to be currently going through the accreditation process.
Six of the newly-accredited services, all of which are provided by Microsoft, are variations of Office 365, which combines Microsoft Office with other Microsoft applications such as Exchange E-mail and Sharepoint. Individual Microsoft products, such as Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync are also available as standalone purchases.
The process of pan-government security accreditation is carried out by CESG, an information assurance group within GCHQ, based on the principle that once a service is accredited for G-Cloud, it can be purchased and used by any public sector buyer. There are six security levels, known as Business Impact Levels (BILs, or ILs), ranging from IL1 and IL2 for protected material, IL3 for restricted, IL4 for confidential, IL5 for secret and IL6 for 'top secret'.
Currently, the highest level of security accreditation for a CloudStore service is IL3. However, a G-Cloud programme official recently said that higher security classification services- those above IL3- are appropriate to be procured through the CloudStore.
According to the official, services accredited above IL3 will be available "as soon as suppliers start offering them to G-Cloud. We are looking for confidential [IL4] hosting capability and it would be good to see those sorts of services appearing on the CloudStore."
The deadline for suppliers wishing to initiate the pan-government accreditation process for their CloudStore services is at 6pm on the second Wednesday of each month. Therefore, any suppliers seeking to gain accreditation have until 6pm next Wednesday, 13 February, to kick-start the process by submitting completed Scoping Statements to the G-Cloud team, so they can be forwarded on to the Pan-Government Accreditation service at CESG. The deadline after that will fall on 13 March. Services receiving the most public sector demand are prioritised in the queue of those to be accredited.
In a recent interview with Government Computing, G-Cloud programme director Denise McDonagh said that concerns over accreditation should not be a barrier to either suppliers or buyers. She said, "Not every service needs to be accredited. For the ones that do need to be accredited...the process itself is fairly quick".
Indeed, according to McDonagh, if public sector buyers want a service off the cloud that hasn't yet received pan-government accreditation they can accredit it themselves, and can ask for the service to be pushed up the queue of services waiting to receive accreditation.