Answered: Three public sector cloud concerns

The Government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy was introduced in 2013 and asks public sector organisations, when procuring new or existing services, to “consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first before considering any other option.” The approach is mandatory for central government and strongly recommended to the wider public sector. The government response came after an epic failure from the UK public sector to tap into the benefits of cloud services, such as flexibility, efficiency, and cost savings. Instead, they have been shackled to their existing legacy IT, which has been draining public funding. The initiative has seen cloud adoption in the public sector rise over the past five years. In fact, 82% of public sector organisations have deployed at least one cloud service, according to research conducted by Cloud Industry Forum in 2017. However, the study also found many barriers, which were hindering the adoption. In the survey of 250 senior IT and business decision-makers, more than half said an unwillingness to take risks was a barrier. Other concerns included privacy/security concerns and lack of IT agility. Here, we address these concerns.  

Concern 1: Lack of IT skills
Answer: Utilise your attraction

The increase in the adoption of Cloud Computing has led to further demand; a recent study by the London School of Economics found that nearly three quarters of IT decision makers (71%) believe their organisations have lost revenue due to a lack of cloud expertise. However, the public sector has a lot to offer talented individuals with technology skills. Many graduates are motivated by more than just money – they want to feel like they have positively contributed to the community. This kind of satisfaction is offered by the public sector, so much more than the private. This year’s Deloitte Millennial Study noted that ‘a sense of meaning from my work’ and ‘the impact it has on society’ were among the top six factors millennial candidates ranked as factors to consider when accepting a job offer.  

Concern 2: Unwillingness to take risks 
Answer: Focus on the rewards

Public sector organisations may be weighed down with the thought of renovating their long-standing and heavy investments in legacy technology. However, by focusing on the positives this upheaval will have, these concerns can be put to bed. Cloud deployments result in key benefits such as improved information management, increased security and flexibility of work practices. Other main rewards include:  

Better citizen services

Reduced costs

Increased resilience


Increased agility and empowerment


Concern 3: Privacy
Answer: Stay UK-based

Data sovereignty concerns may be holding some public sector decision-makers back from moving to public cloud. Data sovereignty comes into play when an organisation’s data is stored outside of their country and is subject to the laws of the country in which the data resides. Research by technology advice firm Eduserv found that more than a quarter of participating councils were not able to provide a breakdown of where their data was being held.  Using data centres located in Ireland and Amsterdam may strike fear in some individuals, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit deal. However, with many of the main players now having a UK presence also, these data sovereignty concerns can be put to rest.  

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