With budgets always being an issue within the public sector, you would expect the benefits of cloud adoption – delivering services efficiently and providing cost savings – to be driving implementation. However, despite a government initiative for a Cloud First policy which made it mandatory for central government and highly recommended across the entire public sector to evaluate public cloud solutions and to give preference to the use of cloud over on-premise offerings, less than a third of NHS Trusts and under two-thirds of central government have adopted any level of public cloud within their organisation. In addition, 40 local authorities still saw cloud as work in progress. The findings came as a result of a recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request₁, which also maintained that 41% of central government and a whopping 79% of NHS trusts do not plan to move everything to the cloud.
Much of this inertia it seems is down to previously significant investments in infrastructure which has created legacy technology that is proving to be a barrier to public cloud adoption. IT systems that are disparate and have evolved over time make it difficult to provide efficiencies but also make cloud adoption equally troublesome. Whilst there are examples of successes at a local government level, it is often difficult to replicate as each provide unique challenges. The FoI request also revealed that public sector organisations have difficulty in monitoring the public cloud as part of their wider data infrastructure. According to the FoI, approximately half of NHS (48%) and central government organisations (53%) use four or more monitoring tools to manage their infrastructure. At the same time, many (77% of NHS respondents, 55% of central government respondents) are either not using the same monitoring tools across their infrastructure or are unsure if their monitoring and management tools could be capable of working across both on-premises and hybrid environments.
In addition, despite the UK government and the National Cyber Security Centre guidelines on cloud security₂, there is still a concern over public cloud security. The public sector isn’t immune to security breaches and the repercussions are much greater now.
In the long term, upgrading to a SaaS based IT system will provide government and local authorities with an effective route to improve services and create operational efficiencies. Moving to the cloud enables access to the latest technologies and prevents the legacy issues that many still face at present. However, it requires a planned approach and the channel to do more to address the current issues and provide the public sector with the solutions that can provide a positive return on investment.
Sources and acknowledgements: ITPro, gov.uk.