Week in government tech: SMEs take more than 50% of G-Cloud sales; experts predict cybersecurity crisis

Top story:

The Cabinet Office says it is making progress toward its initial goal of having small-and-medium-sized enterprises command one-fourth of all central government contracts by 2015, leading to it increase that goal to 50%. The report finds 83% of G-Cloud iii suppliers are SMEs, and that the sector accounts for more than 60% of all G-Cloud sales so far. But different departments show dramatically different rates of progress toward the goal, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change awarding less than 2% of its business to the sector, even as the Ministry of Justice allocates 31% of its contracts to SMEs.

Cloud first:

The role of the IT department is changing, as non-technical executives such as CEOs play an increasingly large role in how technology is deployed within an organisation, argues Kevin Beadon. Rather than managing resources, IT departments in the future will act like digital service providers within an organisation -- and cloud technologies are at the heart of that shift. "Currently cloud is a choice, in ten years’ time it will be de-facto. Over the next few years, we’ll see a much wider sphere of companies moving data and services to the cloud;. Indeed, for many businesses it will become standard practice," he says.


Looking to embrace the cloud at your organisation, but not sure where to start?  Russel Ridgley has a few simple, practical concerns that every organisation should bear in mind when choosing a cloud services provider for the public sector.

Government tech on the move:

Even war games are going digital, as troops from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh completed the largest virtual exercise in U.K. Army history. The soldiers used a simulator to complete a training scenario that was previously a real-life exercise performed with tanks and other vehicles in France. Sophisticated data tracking during the simulation provided additional insights that will inform future exercises. "Simulation is playing an increasingly important part in delivering cost-effective training solutions across all our defence domains," said Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.

Digital by default:

York is deploying an expansive WiFi service, in a bid to become one of the country's best connected cities. The city says the rollout, which is focused on outdoor areas not typically served by WiFi, is aimed at increasing tourism and retail, as well as making it easier for citizens to access public services

Social housing tenants will receive vital digital training, along with Web access opportunities, under a "digital deal" programme from government and a dozen landlords. The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government are providing £400,000 in funding, to be matched with additional funds from winning bidders. "As the UK becomes ever more reliant on the Internet as both a work and social tool we can’t afford not to make this investment to help all sections of society keep pace," said Don Foster, communities minister.


Transforming your organisation:

Hackers are already making plans to take sinister advantage of the end of Windows XP support on April 8, 2014. Security experts say that cybercriminals are staying quiet about recently discovered exploits for the operating system, so that they can unleash them after support ends, putting organisations that can't afford costly custom support at significant risk. Of course, security isn't the only reason to upgrade from Windows XP.

You may be sabotaging your organisation's efforts to become more data-driven -- without even realizing it, writes Thomas C. Redman. He shares 6 habits that can undermine any attempt to use data to improve an organisation, such as trying to skew the figures to support a preferred hypothesis or getting so overwhelmed by the data that you do nothing at all. Of course, if you really want to make the most of the data your organisation collects, it helps to have the right kind of dashboard.

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