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Europe Data Protection Digest | Notes from the IAPP Europe Managing Director, June 3, 2016 Related reading: Notes from the IAPP Europe Managing Director, 14 Dec. 2018

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Greetings from London!

This week I am attending an event at Microsoft in London, hosted by AvePoint, speaking to the understanding of the U.K. Government Security Classification outline and how it pertains to the use of cloud services; the event is being attended by U.K. public sector officials, both influencers and decision-makers, from across the breadth and depth of public services.

The adoption of cloud computing in the public sector across the European Union has been relatively low to date. Chiefly, cloud solutions have been held back by government worries over how sensitive data can be securely stored. While some EU states have adopted comprehensive cloud strategies and encouraged public-sector organizations to shift services to the cloud where appropriate, others have made little or no headway. Interestingly, the U.K. public sector, unlike the majority of EU Member States, is increasingly active in this area.

The U.K. as a whole is the largest cloud market in Europe — set to more than double in value over the next four years to over $9.2 billion, according to Paul Shields, senior attorney at Microsoft. With a cloud adoption rate of 84 percent, the U.K. is fast becoming an adopter of cloud benefits as well as a market leader in Europe. In response, the U.K. government is actively promoting a "cloud first" policy to drive wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector to boost business – and drive further savings and efficiencies.

As part of transforming the way the public sector buys digital and tech services, the U.K. government developed a clear, simple and fast tool to help support this process and foster a competitive platform for the U.K. public sector to buy IT solutions. The beta version was known as "CloudStore," but has since been replaced by "Digital Marketplace," which has become the single portal for all of government to buy what it needs to design, build and support its digital services. It now has 2,500 suppliers and over 22,000 services on offer for public sector purchase.

For background in the era of open government, in October 2013, the U.K. government published the Government Security Classification outline, replacing the original Government Protective Marking Scheme, to ensure that public sector organizations collect information appropriately. An important part of this outline is classifying information that is collected according to level of sensitivity. Under the GSC there are three levels of classification: "Official," "Secret," and "Top Secret." Official data makes up 90 percent of all public data.

Clearly, migrating to cloud solutions involves important steps of establishing a clear inventory and classification of your data. Many organizations exist in a state of perpetual data chaos; IDG Research found that only 28 percent of data stored today is truly used in day to day business. So legacy and defunct data is fairly significant, and should not be ignored. Digital solutions for efficiency seem a welcome opportunity. Forbes claims that data management represents 3.5 percent of revenue, that is also not a negligible cost.

From what I am hearing at the event here, cloud solution providers are looking to be partners who share in your information risk management. They want to share in your data chaos. Clearly, one cannot simply outsource data issues, as the risk around data protection and compliance is increasingly significant.

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