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Central Government, Government Cloud, Technology

Canada govt cautious on G-Cloud

Jirka Danek, the Public Works & Government Services Canada’s Chief Technology Officer, has identified security and privacy as the two biggest hurdles for government cloud computing. Speaking at the Government Cloud Forum this week (Wednesday 15th September), Danek said that Canada is taking cautious steps into the cloud.


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The Canadian government offers cloud-based services through a ‘Community Cloud’ to its 325,000 Federal employees and 140 departments, including a pension and payroll enterprise app and Web 2.0 collaboration tools.

However, Canada is taking a “cautious approach” on the public cloud, said Danek, CTO of Public Works Government Services Canada (PWGSC), a department of the Government of Canada.

“We have to get our house in order first. Security and privacy are significant concerns. The Community Cloud gives us a viable, sustainable environment in which we can test concepts and the security framework before we go further.”

Danek said that two important goals had been met: agreeing on a common language for cloud computing, and setting the governance framework. But there is a way to go before sufficient trust is built between government and other cloud participants, he said.

It was too early to say how much the Canadian government could make in cost savings from cloud computing, he said, adding that saving money was only one of four motivations for entering the cloud.

“Our four drivers for entering the cloud are economic, efficiency, effectiveness - and green,” said Danek.

Canada is working with the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand on “sharing the workload of advancing the cloud,” he noted.

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On 15 September 2010 Robin Majumdar wrote:

Caution is indeed in order for moving #GoC data to a cloud environment, be it for cloud computing, storage or what have you. There is a big temptation to leap towards to current Western leaders - US based , but also subject to the US Patriot Act which I think is something that doesn't quite fit in with the PII commitment to both citizen & employee clients of the Government of Canada.

A cloud to leverage that $5 billion (IIRC) #GoC IT infrastructure and have it scaled out and available to all departments/agencies to better use all those disparate data centres would be a great initiative.. I realize that it's underway.

Looking forward to for both internal and public-facing IT systems.


On 18 September 2010 Jerry Tremblay wrote:

Let's first be clear that cloud computing is not simply a euphemism for IT outsourcing. With cloud computing, you can obtain shorter contracts, punctual scaling of resources and no up-front costs (rental charges include the capital expenditure and installation). It will make IT services more of a commodity and likely a serious blow to large outsourcing firms who really offload your IT but doesn't necessarily provide long term savings.
Canada has developed significant expertise in the web 2.0 world and virtual server based services. I am sure PWGSC can in-source a successful cloud for all departments to connect to and offer tax payers better services.


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