Aldo Agostinelli

A huge digital database storing all information concerning both the central administration and local authorities: an impressive and necessary project aiming at helping Italy to keep up with the other European countries. What is our current national cloud status?

Who has been following me here knows it: two years ago I was already promoting a the idea of a public cloud for Italian PMIs  and, today, I am in favour of a national cloud which may store all data concerning our PA.  The project is finally being turned into a reality and should kick off in July. And, should things go smoothly, by 2022 all data will have been transferred into the cloud. We are clearly talking about an ambitious project, involving over 200 central administration bodies, all local authorities and healthcare facilities and schools.

As a collateral to the substance of the operation there are 900 million Euros allocated by the Recovery Plan. A historic transition which, actually, represented the only possible way to ensure the security of the huge amount of data, some of which sensitive, permanently in danger of being tampered with, stolen or hacked (The government is preparing the public tender for the national cloud  ).

How the tender will work

Vittorio Colao, Minister of the Digitalization, has recently defined the national cloud as a “test bench for the PA-companies partnership”. Therefore, the chances are it will rely on a public-private partnership. At the moment, all Italian market leaders are getting ready, starting from Tim which has launched Noovie and has established a partnership with Google. The other players are Fincantieri with Amazon, Leonardo with Microsoft, Fastweb and Oracle. “Our national cloud is expected to be one of the pillars of our digitalization, which is supposed to reach up to 70-75 % by 2026”,  argued the Minister at the 2021 PA Forum. “We do not wish to play in the League, we want to play in the Champions League. The real challenge is that now we finally have the necessary resources and we can finally be among the best players” (National Cloud, Colao: “It is going to be the test bench for the PA-companies partnership”).

The importance of the national cloud for data security

95% of the servers belonging to the Public Administration is not safe. To confirm this, over the last few months, several Italian Municipal Authorities have been hacked to the detriment of their citizens’ privacy. A national cloud may be the only solution to this issue, since, by centralizing the systems and reducing fragmentation, authorities will be able to invest in safer and more advanced security systems, thus reducing management and maintenance costs. Moreover, the various and numerous public databases, which are currently independent, will finally be able to communicate. In view of a public-private partnership the access to encrypted data will be managed by the public authority, and companies will  have to ensure high security standards  (Unsafe PA servers, will be find a solution thanks to a huge cloud? Here are all the challenges we will be facing).

The French model

As far as the choice of the model to be followed for such a big project is concerned, there are two main options: relying on American Big Techs or remaining in Italy where technology is not really as cutting-edge. Colao has put forward a third proposal, putting together the other two with the related advantages, as done in France. The national sovereignty over citizens’ data will be guaranteed, as well as their full confidentiality, while, at the same time, thanks to the involvement of the biggest providers,  the best national and international technologies will be exploited. A choice which may improve the current status of the Italian companies operating in the digital sector (Why Cloud Computing is a must have).

The Cloud is already a reality both for companies and private citizens, both in Italy and abroad, whereas the public administration is struggling to keep up. Creating a national cloud is consequently the best possible way to ensure data security and to allow the PA to fill the gap concerning digitalization. And the cloud computing represents a fundamental milestone which will finally enable Italy to keep up with the other European Countries.

What do you think about a national cloud? Tweet @agostinellialdo

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Giulia Foschi