More than 14,000 government emails have been migrated to cloud infrastructure provided by Microsoft, Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed announced. The move is in line with the government’s Cloud-First Policy and represents a milestone in the migration of information and data belonging to all government entities to the cloud. The Microsoft 365 service package was also activated in the process.
Under an umbrella agreement with Microsoft, 45 government entities will benefit from comprehensive digital solutions, which will enhance the quality and security of government services and help to improve the efficiency of the country’s IT sector. This also implements directives by Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to strengthen the public sector’s role as a regulator and active partner to the private sector, which encourages economic growth and creates unique investment opportunities to help Bahrain achieve its Economic Vision 2030.
Al Qaed revealed that the iGA, in coordination with the government entities and Microsoft, was able to complete the transfer six months ahead of schedule, adding that this comes as part of its responsibility to empower the government sector to provide advanced offerings via the national cloud. It also opens new opportunities for productivity and growth to various sectors in the Kingdom through faster, safer, and more cost-effective services.
He added that this achievement will reduce server and storage space expenses, bringing down the cost of maintenance and licensing contracts from 60 to 90% of the annual allocated budgets. It also results in a 90-fold increase in personal storage capacity for government employee emails, raising attachment size limits. This will allow government employees greater flexibility in providing services to the public while reducing security risks. The cloud system also reduces pressure on electronic government data and system management and provides round-the-clock logistical services and technical support.
The iGA activated the Microsoft 365 service package, recognizing its diverse services and technical features, which helped to ensure the continuity of government processes. This was especially beneficial during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, enabling employees to carry out their duties effectively while working remotely through a flexible and unified digital platform all enabling video conferencing for meetings and document exchange via Microsoft team. It also raised productivity, allowing projects to be completed faster.
The iGA focuses on cybersecurity policies that enhance information security and privacy. It provides ministries and government entities with a safe entry mechanism for internal government networks and systems, including a two-step authentication process for logins. This allows IT teams to better monitor performance and protect data, helping to achieve the objectives of the National Strategic Plan and the Government Action Plan.
Microsoft Bahrain and Oman Country Manager, Shaikh Saif bin Hilal Al Hosni said: “Our partnership with the iGA reflects the efforts of both parties to provide better and faster services to the public. We will continue to work with the iGA to achieve a strong, flexible, and safe work environment that promotes innovation in public services and improves performance. Microsoft is committed to supporting the Cloud-First Policy, which aims to drive digital transformation and encourage economic growth in line with the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030.”
Bahrain adopted its public sector Cloud-First Policy in 2017, following a decision by the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa. It redirects IT investment towards cloud computing, in partnership with Microsoft, making the Kingdom the first country in the Middle East and one of the first worldwide to adopt a cloud computing policy.