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UKCloud Targets Health Sector With New Division

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The public-sector cloud provider says shifting NHS trusts, private health companies and research institutions to the cloud can boost ‘appropriate’ collaboration

British public sector cloud provider UKCloud has launched a division aimed at the healthcare industry, inducing research institutions, life sciences and pharmaceuticals organisations as well as NHS trusts and private healthcare companies.

At launch UKCloud Health is supported by 29 partners, amongst them Sopra Steria and Capgemini, and with 30 customers, including NHS Shared Business Services and Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust.

Safe data sharing

The launch comes at a time when healthcare organisations are looking to expand their use of digital and cloud technologies and broaden their data-sharing practices while continuing to safeguard the security and privacy of patient data.

UKCloud said the fact the company and its cloud infrastructure are based entirely in Britain helps ensure security and privacy issues are handled in a way appropriate for the healthcare sector.

NHS - Shutterstock: © RTimages“We pride ourselves on offering the highest possible levels of assurance and believe the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach offered by US-headquartered generalist cloud platforms is not appropriate for specialised sectors such as healthcare, where issues of trust, privacy and interoperability are particularly important,” stated UKCloud chief executive Simon Hansford.

Public-sector concerns over privacy and data security have led multinational cloud giants including Microsoft and Amazon to build data centres in the UK, with Microsoft providing services to the likes of the Ministry of Defence and the NHS via UK data centres launched last September.

Technical skills gap

Hansford said the takeup of cloud technology by health organisations has been impeded to date by factors such as the lack of sufficient staff to organise such a transition.

UKCloud plans to address such issues by offering staff support and technical assistance for managing the switch to cloud delivery, Hansford said.

Cloud SecurityAlthough the sharing of digital health data remains a contentious issue, Hansford said one of the benefits of switching to the cloud is that it facilitates “appropriate” collaboration – particularly compared with the incompatible in-house systems used by many government agencies.

“We believe that providing a central, secure, open and collaborative cloud platform, where all of this data can be stored and appropriately shared, will provide a great deal of value to the healthcare industry as a whole,” Hansford stated.

UKCloud is a prominent supplier to government procurement frameworks such as G-Cloud and the government’s Digital Marketplace and says it has powered more than 200 UK public sector projects to date.

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