5 April 2018 – UKCloud today announced that it has made significant progress in designing and building the first High Assurance cloud platform for the UK’s most critical and sensitive systems classified at SECRET. Launching in mid-2018, the new platform will be entirely UK-sovereign and will be branded UKCloudX. This significant investment supports the new ‘Fusion Doctrine’ by creating the ideal platform to enable Defence and National Security agencies to share insights and evolve our collective capabilities to address the intensifying and diversifying threats to our country and to our way of life.
In the recently published National Security Capability Review (NSCR), the Prime Minister unveiled the Fusion Doctrine, a new national security approach to orchestrating the capabilities of every part of government and its agencies to rise to the challenge of rapidly evolving national security threats. The NSCR aims to ensure that the UK’s investment in its national security capabilities “is as joined-up, effective and efficient as possible” in addressing changing security challenges, such as the recent terrorist incidents in London and Manchester and nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
UKCloud has been working with different parts of government, and industry specialists, for more than a year to design and build an innovative High Assurance cloud platform that will enable projects classified at SECRET to: collaborate more effectively to gain better insights; innovate more quickly to develop new capabilities; and to achieve improved value for money by reducing waste and inefficiency. The large investment by UKCloud has been driven by the exceptional level of interest and anticipation from government agencies and from industry providers such as Defence Contractors and Systems Integrators.
“We believe there is a benefit in modernising the systems and platforms that are used to support requirements that are classified above ‘OFFICIAL’”, said Danny Wootton, ISS Hd Innovation, UK Ministry of Defence. “I fully support the intent of bringing the agility, cost effectiveness and rich functionality of a High Assurance cloud platform to projects operating at higher classification levels, and I applaud industry providers like UKCloud that are willing to make the necessary investments to create a platform that could enable much faster innovation in this space.”
UKCloud’s High Assurance cloud platform will be entirely UK sovereign, hosted in accredited government-grade UK data centres provided by Ark (who are part of the joint venture with the UK Government’s Cabinet Office called Crown Hosting) and operated exclusively within the UK by security-cleared cloud experts being trained and recruited by UKCloud. The new cloud platform will be powered by proven infrastructure from Cisco Systems which is underpinning the significant investment that UKCloud is making to create this world-class capability.
“We’re delighted that through the National Security Capability Review, the Prime Minister endorses the need for new approaches to deal with the emerging threats that face our nation”, commented Simon Hansford, CEO of UKCloud. “The brave and committed operatives in our Defence and National Security community are often constrained by traditional, inefficient and disjointed IT systems which makes it difficult to work effectively at the higher classification levels. That’s why we’ve been developing UKCloudX, the UK’s first High Assurance cloud platform, which will make it much easier for our agencies to exploit their collective capabilities and keep our nation safe from the bad guys. We are privileged to be able to play our part in the evolution of Britain’s world leading Defence and Security capabilities.”
UKCloud is finalising the deployment of the High Assurance cloud platform which will be the first to meet the stringent requirements of the SECRET classification level and will help bridge the apparent separation between the NSCR and the Modernising Defence Programme that was identified in a recent RUSI report. The High Assurance cloud platform is available through the Technology Services 2 procurement framework and UKCloud is on-boarding solution providers such as System Integrators and Independent Software Vendors to use this platform to enable new Cloud Software and Cloud Support capabilities at SECRET through the G-Cloud 10 procurement framework that is expected shortly. UKCloud is planning a formal launch of this new capability and will announce a community of technology and solution partners in the near future.
Huw Owen, CEO at Ark Data Centres added: “We welcome UKCloud’s investment in delivering the UK’s first High Assurance cloud platform from within our datacentre facilities. Our dedicated campus approach delivers security without compromise and is built to meet the highest standards for security, efficiency and reliability. A layered security methodology safeguards everything on our campuses, from onsite entry down to access to individual IT racks.”
Paul Garvey, Head of Government & National Security for Cisco, UK & Ireland added: “To be able to embrace the potential of new technology, to innovate and collaborate with confidence, the UK’s defence and national security community has to be sure that the technology that they use provides a highly secure environment. The visibility and assurance in Cisco’s cloud platform means that it is able to do just that, and we are delighted that it is part of this solution.”