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Socitm shows most authorities testing cloud



Survey indicates that most local public authorities are at least running pilots on cloud services, but few have made a major commitment

Most local public service providers are using cloud computing to some extent, but only 4% are "highly invested" in the cloud, according to a new survey by public sector IT organisation Socitm.

Its IT Trends Survey: Cloud computing services, which was supported by Civica Services, shows that 90% of the 103 organisations that responded to a survey have "at least a toe in the water". 66% have some applications in the cloud and are investigating others, and 21% are in early investigations or running a pilot.

All of those who have run pilots said they are very likely to use cloud services in the next two years. But only 4% described themselves as highly invested, their organisations having applications or services that were critical or very important to business in the cloud.

Another 4% had considered cloud service and stepped back.

Benefits range

The survey suggests that the more committed organisations see a narrower range of benefits focused on improved scalability and the capabilities for business continuity and disaster recovery. Computing flexibility and anticipated cost savings were also seen as important, while those who are just running pilots see a broad range of potential benefits.

But there are still barriers in the way of take-up in the shape of concerns over security and accountability for data in cloud systems. 70% of respondents cited data protection regulations as an inhibitor, and nearly half said there are some applications for which they would not use a cloud service. These included anything involving personal data, mission-critical or emergency services, control systems and secure email.

Socitm's head of research Andy Hopkirk said: "Service providers have work to do in convincing many Socitm members that their personal and corporate business risks are not increased by using cloud services to an extent that outweighs the benefits."

Steve Shakespeare, managing director of Civica Services, said: "We understand the need to be cautious with data, and while public cloud providers may not always be the best place for this, a secure managed private cloud can work well. Authorities need to work in partnership with their cloud provider to look at how to deliver the right applications in the right environment for them."

Most respondents did not see any procurement problems in the way of adoption, although there had been little use of G-Cloud and pay-as-you-go agreements.

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

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