The Philippine Government has announced a cloud-first strategy to slash ICT costs and shift away from legacy systems.

Government agencies will need to “adopt cloud computing as the preferred ICT deployment strategy” for its infrastructure planning and procurement, it wrote in a statement.

The mandate was issued by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), an agency set up last year to oversee broad ICT developments in the country.

The shift to cloud technology will improve data-sharing among agencies, enabling “more effective collaboration as agencies are able to easily share resources across institutions”, the DICT stated.

It will cut the number of data infrastructures that need to be built, saving time and allowing the government to focus on its delivery of online services instead of managing infrastructure, it stated.

The government will also have greater control over its budget, it said. “Cloud scalability results in systems usage being dialed up or down throughout the year as it is required”, and “agencies can purchase as much or as little resources as they need it”, it added.

It will improve the security of its digital services. “The cloud first model enhances government ICT resiliency and security as version upgrades to both hardware and software are managed by the cloud service provider”, it stated.

DICT is also coming up with a list of accredited cloud service providers that the public sector can use to ensure that the quality and security of its services are maintained, and compliance to ICT laws are kept.

Agencies will need to use different types of cloud service providers, depending on the type of data uploaded. Sensitive and classified data “may require a private cloud deployment” and must be encrypted, it noted.

DICT recognises that a shift to cloud computing can change the skills needed in the government, for instance “by requiring more developers and engineers, and few people with managing IT infrastructure”, it wrote. It calls on agencies to work with cloud providers to understand the relevant training needed for civil servants.

The mandate covers all federal and local government; the judiciary; state universities and colleges; and government-owned entities.