AWS becomes latest cloud services provider to open UK region
Amazon Web Services has this week opened its first London region, joining Microsoft and IBM in boosting its UK-based cloud data centre offering and aiming at securing public sector customers.
The London region is the 16th AWS region and third in Europe – the others being in Ireland and Frankfurt – and the company used the launch to highlight the number of government organisations it provides services to.
It also emphasised that the new region meets the special security needs of government organisations.
“We have worked with our Direct Connect Partners to make sure that obligations for connectivity to the Public Services Network and [NHS network] N3 can be met,” AWS said in a statement.
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Having a UK-based cloud centre also means that public sector bodies – which are subject to strict rules on data security – can use the company’s services to store sensitive data without that data leaving the UK.
AWS – which claims more than 100,000 users in the UK – already has a number of public sector customers, including Genomics England, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Ministry of Justice and Transport for London.
In a statement released by AWS, the DVLA’s chief technology officer Dave Perry said that the availability of UK-based cloud options supports his agency’s move to the cloud “while removing concerns around data residency”.
The move from AWS follows similar decisions by Microsoft and IBM, which have already opened or expanded their UK-based data centre offering to take advantage of the UK government’s cloud-first strategy.
Warwick Business School’s Mark Skilton has described as a “turning point” for companies who increasingly want to attract government customers, and the UK government’s national technology adviser Liam Maxwell welcomed the addition of the AWS centre to the mix.
“We're one of the first governments to implement a cloud-first policy and our reforms have saved more than £3.5 billion,” Maxwell said.
“We now have a competitive market to deliver cloud services onshore with the scale of AWS, meaning that companies and organizations can benefit from scalable, pay-as-you-go enterprise compute services.”
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