Digital Transformation Through Agile Delivery
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Digital Transformation Through Agile Delivery
IT Agility AbilityTM

HMRC and Google collaboration: A cause for security concern?

By . December 20, 2018
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have confirmed that documents containing sensitive data are going to be stored on numerous Google cloud services outside of the UK. HMRC chose Google cloud based services despite the fact Google having a history of legally avoiding its taxes in the UK.

January 2014, HMRC conducted a full investigation into Google’s ‘tax arrangement’ as Google based their advertising sales in Ireland. Concluding the investigation, HMRC slapped Google with a £24 million backdated bill.

Besides the tax mishap on Google’s part, security concerns have been raised for HMRC and Google’s partnership. Tom Read, chief technology officer at the Cabinet Office addresses these concerns "Being a pure software-as-a-service solution delivered through a browser, Google Apps is updated with new features and bug fixes regularly without any work from the IT department. This brings commoditised continual improvement to a key set of services". David Fitton, head of public sector sales at Google UK, continues on LinkedIn: "The acceptance by HMRC that they can store official information offshore in Google data centres represents a major change and endorsement of Google's approach to managing sensitive information."

HMRC says using Google’s cloud based services has a host of benefits and “...will make it easier for staff to collaborate on internal documents, providing greater flexibility and efficiency, while reducing costs”. HMRC are also planning to implement further Google collaborations to more staff throughout the year due to a successful trial period.

HMRC did concider other options such as Microsoft 365 but the flexibiltity of Googles suited the needs of HMRC.






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