Gov’t to set up ‘private cloud’ of servers to host e-mail, ICT services

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@paolomontecillo

08:04 PM May 1st, 2012

By: Paolo G. Montecillo, May 1st, 2012 08:04 PM

AFP FILE PHOTO/MIKE CLARKE

MANILA, Philippines – The government is setting up its own “private cloud” of servers that would host the entire bureaucracy’s email and other information communications technology (ICT) services.

The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) ICT Office (ICTO) said the private “cloud” of servers, which the government would maintain and operate to help make the delivery of services to the public more efficient.

“A secure government email system using a government cloud is currently under development through the efforts of the ICTO,” according to ICTO Executive Director Louis Casambre.

The “cloud” usually refers to Internet-hosted services offered by third-party information technology (IT) companies. These are delivered with the use of servers and tech storage facilities that may be located in different parts of the world.

Earlier, Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño opposed a plan by the Department of Justice to have its email services hosted by a third party IT company. He expressed reservations about having sensitive information that may be included in email messages being stored in servers outside the country.

“If cloud services are given to a foreign IT firm that shall store data in a foreign country such as the US, that country’s laws shall govern the access to our own government’s data whether we like it or not. That is dangerous. That will violate our own sovereignty,” Casino said.

Casambre said the ICTO had the same concerns about having sensitive data stored in public “cloud” servers abroad. He said storing non-essential data in public “clouds” such as unclassified agency records or a database of citizen information would not be a problem.

“But email messages between the President and his staff … could be a matter of national security,” Casambre said.

Casambre said that with the establishment of a “private cloud” under the government’s control, the need to avail of public “cloud” services would no longer be needed.

“There won’t be a need to use the public cloud for all government agencies,” Casambre said. He said the new government ICT facility would be ready for use in a “couple of months.” He said the ICTO would ensure that the new government “cloud” would adhere to international standards for IT security to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

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