The government’s digital leap in spring, facilitated and accelerated by the coronavirus lockdown, led to the creation of a single portal, whose data center has a storage capacity of 1,300 terrabytes; this amounts to the capacity of 1.3 million actual office drawer units for storing documents.
Kathimerini secured privileged entry to the facilities that host gov.gr – the new website supporting the entire state mechanism – located under the building of the General Secretariat for Public Administration Information Systems at Moschato, near Piraeus.
The heart of the online state beats in what is one of the best-guarded non-military facilities in Greece, with some 4,500 processors. The sound the computers infrastructure, the servers and the processors make is a low-volume, monotonous hum, that reveals nothing of the great work under way down there.
For instance, thanks to the secretariat’s data center, which until this year was underused, some 2.7 million visits to local authority offices were averted amid the pandemic for declaring as many applications for the recording of previously undeclared spaces in private properties – a process conducted this year online through the tetragonika.govapp.gr website.
It is also estimated that Greek citizens visited local authority buildings and Citizen Service Centers (KEP) 6.6 million times to collect various documents and certificates every year. Since June 2020, such visits have not been required anymore, as all these documents are available via gov.gr.
Consequently, the responsibility of the more than 300 engineers at the secretariat is considerable. This highly skilled and carefully selected staff is on standby 24 hours a day, as in case of a cyberattack – as was the case recently – they have to take immediate action.
The gov.gr portal became popular due to the lockdown, and was set in operation two months earlier than planned, in late March 2020. In the last 15 months it has incorporated data from more than 100 state databases from which the platform draws information, against just 36 of them connected until June 2019. The services currently offered number 614.