After consent from the Planning Commission, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is set to enforce the national cloud policy in all government, semi-government and autonomous bodies. Consequently, no government department will get funding in the development budget for setting up their own data centers from now on.
The Pakistan Cloud First Policy, recently approved by the federal cabinet, is likely to be notified by the IT ministry in the coming week. The ministry has already started taking measures to ensure that no government department can set up its data center. “It has been assured by the Planning Commission that there will be no allocation in the development budget for establishing data centres by any ministry or department of the federal government,” Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Aminul Haque told Dawn.
The minister said efforts would be made with the finance ministry and other relevant quarters to ensure that autonomous bodies who generate their funds also adopt the national cloud policy. “However, NOCs [no-objection certificates] can be issued by the cloud office if any department needed to establish its data centre and cannot be part of the officially recognized cloud due to certain reasons,” the minister said.
He said the process would not only help Pakistan to adapt to the digital world in terms of global requirements but also save a significant amount of money government departments spend in maintaining their data banks. The policy has highlighted that cloud computing is a technological framework offering convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of resources such as servers, storage and applications over the internet.
After the policy’s implementation, the government departments will not require to maintain their own hardware or software to store data, and these resources will be maintained and provided by cloud service providers. Not only the relevant department but the authorized user can get access to these resources over the internet.
Compared to an on-site data center, where storage is managed by the organisation itself, the cloud service is completely off premises and data is accessible from anywhere using the internet.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2022
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