Cloud Industry Forum shows changes in industry are fuelling adoption of cloud by public sector
Microsoft's ending of support for Windows Server 2003 is expected to prompt an increase in the take-up of cloud services by public and not-for-profit organisations, according to the findings of a survey by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).
It has published the findings of a survey on cloud adoption by the public and private sectors in the UK - in which the former group accounts for 20% of the 250 organisations that responded - that shows most organisations are continuing to run the operating system. 60% of those in the public sector said they would subsequently need a refresh by July, when Microsoft will stop providing security updates.
CIF's president Alex Hilton predicted that this will provide a push for the adoption of cloud services, which has been growing strongly in all sectors.
"We have every confidence that cloud's momentum will be maintained, helped in no small part by the retirement of Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003," he said.
Microsoft is urging users to migrate to its solutions such as Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure, but the move creates the prospect of organisations looking at options further afield.
The survey adds further evidence of an increasing adoption of cloud services by the public and not-for-profit sectors. 78% of the relevant respondents had begun to use hosted or cloud based services, with 80% making it a factor in their wider IT strategy and 74% expecting their take-up to increase in the next 12 months. 87% said they had been satisfied with their use of hosted or cloud based services.
This follows a recent report from Socitm showing that 90% of public authorities in the UK had adopted or begun to investigate cloud services, and that most running pilots expected to use the services in the next two years.
The CIF figures show that the public sector bodies using cloud are still at relatively early stages of adoption. Only 5% had five or more different services, with the largest proportion at 49% for two. Also, a majority of 56% said they intend to keep specific applications and services on-premise.
But a large minority could foresee moving their entire IT estate to the cloud at some point: 18% as soon as practical; 18% based on an operational refresh of servers and applications; and 8% when a suitable cloud proposition is ready, although they do not yet see it.
Half said their primary approach to IT would remain focused on-premise, but 14% said it would be in the cloud and 36% expected to go for a hybrid model.
The figures also show that, while heads of IT or chief information officers are making the final decision on whether to adopt a cloud service (67%), other senior officials such as chief executive officers, chief financial officers, heads of user departments and heads of security are also having a substantial involvement.
Speaking of the overall findings for public and private sectors, Alex Hilton said: "Cloud isn't yet all things to all men and will continue to sit alongside on-premise solutions for quite some time to come. Although more organisations than ever are committing to a 100% cloud environment, the vast majority are a long way from migrating their entire IT estates.
"Just 15% consider their primary IT model to now be cloud, and around half of businesses cannot foresee a time when they will move all of their IT to the cloud, instead managing a blend of IT delivery models."
He added: "While first time adoption is likely to slow somewhat, penetration of cloud services within organisations, which appears to be happening at a faster rate than we had anticipated, will continue unencumbered. Assuming, that is, that cloud service providers can effectively put forward the business case for adoption and build further confidence amongst end users by improving levels of accountability, capability and transparency."
Picture: Alex Hilton