UK collaboration start-up Huddle has secured a huge contract win with the US government.
The company has already started deploying a FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002) certified version of its cloud-based collaboration platform to the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
CEO Alastair Mitchell told CBR that once the capabilities and security of the SharePoint alternative have been proven in those departments, further rollouts to other US government departments can be expected.
Huddle was brought into the project by In-Q-Tel, a non-profit organisation funded by the US government that aims to identify and deliver new technologies to US intelligence departments, while ensuring strict security requirements are met.
"Their mission is to bring new technologies into government faster than they would otherwise arrive," Mitchell told CBR. "They realised the government always gets the best technology last, 10 years after everyone else. It starts in consumer, makes it to the enterprise and eventually to the government. By the time it makes it there it is so watered down by security requirements it is a shadow of its former self."
That's where the problem lies, Mitchell said. Industries such as defence need the latest and best technology before anyone else and at the moment they don't get it. Companies such as In-Q-Tel help bring the newest technology into the government and enable it to flow down to the rest of the government.
The benefits of this approach for the likes of Huddle are clear. "We get access to a huge market space; in our case a couple of the biggest federal agencies in the US government and some of the biggest spenders on IT in the world."
The rollout is underway already and is expected to be completed over the next six months. Other US government agencies have already been earmarked to use Huddle's technology, although they cannot be named publicly, Mitchell said.
Huddle offers its product on a public or private cloud, with the latter generally being reserved for government departments. Unclassified data will still be run on Huddle's main public cloud, Mitchell said. The company will also be opening a US data centre in the near future, Mitchell told CBR.
Mitchell also confirmed that Huddle's new Washington DC office, details of which were revealed a few months ago, is on course to open this year.
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