Information Services Division


Clone of Public Cloud FAQs

Below are a range of FAQs, if however your question is still unanswered please reach out to Cloud Platforms where we can help you get the information you need:

Azure FAQS


What Availability and Resilience do we need:

AWS offers 25 regions across the World https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/global-infrastructure/regions_az/ each containing multiple availability zones for extreme redundancy. In reality with AWS' uptime guarantee's you're unlikely to need more then a single region and 2 availability zones for most services. By default we offer London as the preferred region. But other regions can be utilised if you have a specific need. 

Pricing and Discounts

Are any discounts available through AWS:

  • UCL has a signed agreement with AWS that will ensure all UCL AWS accounts benefit from a 21% discount on AWS services. This discount is automatically applied to your monthly bill.
  • However, as standard Premium Enterprise Support is included for all AWS accounts. Details of which can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/premiumsupport/plans
    This comes at a cost of 10% of your monthly bill.
  • AWS directly offers two schemes  which your project may fall into where you could get credits from AWS. UCL has no overview or control over the eligibility of this award process:
  1. RESEARCH - AWS Offers a cloud credits scheme that you can take advantage of if your use case is a research programme - https://aws.amazon.com/grants/
  2. EDUCATION - If your use case is a form of new offering for education you could apply for "EDtech StartUP" assistance - https://aws.amazon.com/education/edstart/
  • If you predict your use case to be sizable we can put you in touch with UCL's AWS account manager to see if there's any assistance AWS can offer with credits towards a proof of concept. Contact the cloud platform team with details of your proposal and they will put you in touch. 
Security and Privacy

The following questions are for guidance, any concerns to overall security for your needs please liaise with the UCL Information Security Group (isg@ucl.ac.uk) to assess the requirements for your service:

  • How safe is my data in AWS 
  • Whilst the data is not maintained on UCL's estate, AWS offers a very secure and accredited platform. We can further ensure data safety with the use of guardrails configured by UCL to notify you of potential issues in configuration and alert you to any suspected access attempts outside of normal operation. AWS also offers options to encrypt data on most of its services to further secure data at rest.
  • What security do guard rails offer
  • UCL has configured a number of guardrails the support team to various configurations that are less than desirable. This allows us to contact account owners about potential issues or configuration changes without interrupting the daily operations of the account. A set few guardrails are enforced that block certain high risk actions from taking place. 
  • How secure are links to the UCL resources 
  • Any traffic flowing from AWS to UCL and vice versa goes via a encrypted VPN used solely for this purpose. On the AWS side you will need to define explicit IPS and ports to allow traffic through. On the UCL side you would need those same IPs and ports opened on the UCL firewalls. 
  • What do I do about patching
  • Should your AWS account be connected to the UCL network any servers your build can connect to the standard UCL Windows WSUS service or Linux satellite for patching ( on request ). Should you not want your account connected to the UCL estate you will need to ensure you connect to public patching services.
  • Do you have useful links for more info on Security and Privacy of AWS?

How much does the AWS service cost as a whole:

  • This is harder to answer than a stock response, as each resource has different configurations and data throughput requirements and each have their own costs.  Though please go to the following link which helps you calculate the possible costs: https://calculator.aws/#/
  • Please remember that AWS works on a monthly charging model, and to assist you, UCL can apply budgets of your choosing with notifications at various thresholds to help you keep on-top of the spend in your account. An itemised bill is also available both in console and produced monthly to show what costs are being raised by each service in your account.

How can I reduce costs in my account:

  • AWS costs can be cheaper than on-premise costs by only utilising what you need at that moment in time. If you have services that you only require occasionally powering off the related components or removing them all together when not in need will reduce your monthly costs. You can also set some services to scale automatically up and down on demand to fit load requirements. 

How do I access my AWS account:

  • Access to UCL's AWS account is via the link : https://ucl-cloud.awsapps.com/start#/ . If you are logged into a UCL machine then the single sign on service will most likely log in for you. If you are not you will need to sign in using username@ucl.ac.uk and your password. Access to each account is defined individually with permissions set as requested. If you require access to an AWS account the account owner will need to raise a support request stating the account name, who to grant access to and what permissions to apply. 

Can I back up servers in AWS as I do on-premise: 

  • UCL’s strategic backup service in time will offer the ability to backup certain aspects of the AWS set up on a request based approach.  In the interim please make measures available to protect your services. 

Free training available on the following link:


If you require something more specific/more dedicated than the free training please reach out Chris Cooper, and he can help see what training is available.