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Public sector staff cautious over cloud

07/07/15

Survey shows only a third of employees feel confident about using cloud IT

Only 35% of public sector employees are confident in using cloud computing platforms, including many staff in IT departments, a survey of more than 5,000 government and health service professionals has revealed.

Cumulus_clouds_in_fair_weatherThe survey, carried out by Dods and sponsored by enterprise cloud service provider Huddle, attributes the caution largely to fears around security, the time and effort needed to migrate to cloud platforms, and the lack of expertise in implementing them.

It provides discouraging reading for advocates of the government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy for central government’s technology procurement.

A white paper based on the survey shows there is widespread awareness of the cloud option, but only 47% of IT departments are confident in it and 24% have never used it.

Worries about security provide the largest barrier, with 92% saying this was preventing adoption, followed by the time and effort needed in migration (85%), concerns over conflicts with existing technology (83%) and a lack of expertise to implement (82%). There are some variations between different sectors, but the general pattern applies throughout.

It suggests that the worries over security are intensified by a lack of knowledge of the government’s classification system, and that it is only being widely used by central government.

There is also only 50% awareness of the G-Cloud procurement framework, and it had been used by just 22% of central government IT departments, 12% of those in local government and 5% in the NHS.

In March, just over a year after the launch of the policy, the gov.uk G-Cloud dashboard indicated that sales through the platform had surpassed £500 million, with central government accounting for three-quarters of the total. This compares with estimates in excess of £4 billion per year spent on IT by the largest Whitehall departments.

Huddle’s white paper on the subject says government should encourage confidence in cloud computing by showing its value in context, migrating only when the right infrastructure is in place, emphasising the importance of data residing in the UK, and highlighting that some of the resistance leads to inefficient and insecure practices.

It also calls for organisations to get to grips with the government’s security classification system and to “embrace” G-Cloud.

“The austerity narrative obscures the transformative role that cloud platforms can have in driving more efficient, more effective public sector working practices, the company said in an introduction to the paper. “This narrative must change if the potential of cloud computing is to be realised.”

Pictured: Cumulus clouds in fair weather by Michael Jastremski - legacy.openphoto.net. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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