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Migration of Government Emails to the National Private Cloud

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Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive Mr. Mohammed Ali AlQaed announced the launch of the National Private Cloud (NPC) that aims at migrating government emails to the national cloud. The project, in partnership with Microsoft Bahrain, develops an online platform that encompasses every government entity under a unified umbrella and infrastructure. The platform works with the latest and fastest global technologies that are similar to those delivered by major companies such as Microsoft which in turn provides unique cloud services comprising the email service.

Information & eGovernment Authority CE Mr. Mohammed Ali AlQaed while presenting his speech.

The announcement was made during a press conference held yesterday (6th April) in collaboration with Microsoft at the Movenpick Hotel, Muharraq. The event included the attendance of Microsoft Bahrain and Oman General Manager Mr. Sherif Tawfik, iGA General Manager of Information Technology Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed AlKhalifa, Microsoft Public Sector Business Development Manager Hamad AlSaie, together with representatives, ICT managers and senior officials, from over 30 governmental entities.

Information & eGovernment Authority General Manager of Information Technology Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed AlKhalifa during the conference.

During the press conference, AlQaed explained that this project is considered as one of the most prominent national projects which have been developed in response to the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak AlKhalifa, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT). The directives stress the reformulating of government policies related to hosting government services and aligning them with new emerging global trends in cloud computing which have proven in reducing expenditures and budgets of the IT sector as a result of economy challenges and the rise in IT costs.

Microsoft Bahrain and Oman Country General Manager Mr. Sherif Tawfik during the conference.

The CE also added that the migration of government emails to the NPC is expected to reduce the IT budget 30%-50% of the budget allocated annually in the public organizations for this project at the very least. Moreover, strengthen the efficiency of the ICT sector’s infrastructure which positively reflects the improvement of the government performance efficiency and quality of the delivered service to beneficiaries. Additionally, empowering employees and offering flexible, developed and trustworthy services. He also indicated that the project will serve all government and semi-government entities as it will increase the mailbox capacity of government users by at least 20 times and increase the maximum size of attachments.

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AlQaed further highlighted that the strategic direction of the Kingdom is to focus on delivering email services centrally through the national cloud or to partner with one of the prominent international cloud providers who provide the service or both in order to focus at the present time on the project which aims at joining eight to ten government entities. During this period, work will be carried-out on studying the updates and issues that could arise during the transition process. This would assist in resolving them and finding the necessary technical solutions as this period will provide some reassurance to other organizations in the event of joining. He continued saying that the project will go through assessments of performance and the progress after six months from today. In the condition that the project became stable, there will be two options – either to join the remainder of the entities to benefit from the provided features or provide another alternative to entities.

“Microsoft stands squarely behind iGA and the government of Bahrain towards their direction to the digital era. We understand the importance of selecting the right partner for a government’s digital transformation journey which aims at achieving the Economic Vision 2030 and we are honored to be selected as the sole partner who meets the needs of the authority by enabling it to build its own cloud according to its terms – whether private, public or hybrid. Here at Microsoft, we work on providing the best productivity solutions and unique technologies required by the governments to manage the key challenges resulted from transformation and that comprise roaming, data analysis and Internet-of-Things so as to reach cloud computing infrastructure. Governments utilize Microsoft’s cloud platforms for their unique features that assist them in achieving advanced outcomes to citizens,” said Mr. Tawfik.

“The NPC will balance the need for improved efficiency and productivity, with requirements of compliance, licensing costs and security. The project meets international standards of security and best practices, providing government agencies with an increased mailbox size and round-the-clock technical support throughout the week,” added Shaikh Salman.

The major project will take a phased approach of migrating government email exchange to the cloud, beginning with a readiness test which will involve the transfer of initial mail boxes to identify any issues or challenges. The next phase will involve training on the main control panel for all government entities for a smooth transition, followed by periodic monitoring and technical support.

Following the press conference, iGA and Microsoft experts delivered presentations to numerous government representatives in order to demonstrate the impact that the NPC project will bring to the infrastructure of the entity and drive performance efficiency in line with global government trends.

The implementation of iGA’s private cloud services was partially carried-out by Microsoft’s local partner AlMoayyed Computers, a recent award winner for ‘ICT Company of the Year 2016’ in Bahrain.

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