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CIS Migration to Cloud Services - 9 to 12 July 2021

CIS is migrating to cloud services (AWS) and there will be some impact to service.

CIS Migration to Cloud Services

CIS is migrating to cloud services (AWS). This work will take place between Friday 9 July 18:30 and Monday 12 July (inclusive).

This is the most significant platform change for CIS since the service was brought “in-house” by the NHS six years ago, and there will be some impact to service.

Whilst authentication and the Spine Portal will be unaffected, the CIS application will be inaccessible during the aforementioned period. 

Reason for Upgrade

CIS comprises of authentication and application services.

The authentication service is used across the whole of NHS Spine and provides secure access for over 28,000 IT healthcare systems across 21,000 organisations.

The CIS application is the identity and access management service for the NHS, comprising user management, role-based access assignment, and smartcard administration.

Since the NHS took on CIS authentication and application services early in 2015, it has used a hardware platform located across multiple data centres. As with any hardware, this has provided a number of challenges, including:

  • degrading performance and stability
  • upgrades and patching requiring service restarts
  • lack of flexibility of storage and processing power
  • physical maintenance costs

Cloud computing seeks to solve these problems and provides many other advantages compared to hardware hosting.


  • successful migration of CIS authentication and application services to AWS
  • zero downtime for authentication services during upgrade
  • zero auditing and reporting data loss
  • minimum downtime for CIS application during upgrade


Authentication – no downtime

Spine Portal – no downtime

Application – the CIS application will be inaccessible during an extended change window, between Friday 9 July 18:30 and Monday 12 July. The CIS application will be brought online on the 12th at the earliest opportunity, depending on several monitoring and internal test activities. (The CIS application is not planned to open earlier as it enables a great deal of user-based traffic, which is tremendously difficult to roll back should this be necessary). As the service is brought back online, we will communicate this to the RA community via all usual channels (RA email distribution list, Spine Portal, NHS Networks, IA Slack).


We do not anticipate any significant downtime of authentication or the Spine Portal during the migration. It is possible, but unlikely that they may hit these services during the very early hours of Saturday 10 July (approximately 04.00) just as it is switching from one platform to another. In this case, any loss of service is expected to be temporary, and we would ask you to retry 10 minutes later.

As described above, the CIS application itself (and by extension ‘Smartcard Self-Service Unlock’) will be unavailable between Friday 9 July 18:30 and Monday 12 July (see above for timing). We would ask that you do not raise any incidents concerning the unavailability of the service during this time, as this is expected and receiving incident reports may distract the team in the critical transition process.

Subsequent to the CIS application being brought online on 12 July, if you have issues with either authentication or the application itself, please follow the normal process of incident reporting, including local IT helpdesks and the National Service Desk.


Telephone: 03003 035 035

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Phone: 0300 30 33 888

Last edited: 24 January 2022 9:10 am