Cloud is becoming a key feature of the public sector IT estate. For several years, organisations have been exploring the potential of cloud software, platforms and infrastructure as a means of making their IT operations more efficient. For many, progress has been restrained by unfamiliarity and concerns about access to data and security; but the tipping point has been reached where most now regard it as a credible option to support their operations.
The UK Government has had a ‘Cloud First’ policy since 2013, saying this should be the first option considered by public sector organisations looking to purchase IT products and services. The creation of G-Cloud, available via the Digital Marketplace, has provided momentum to take-up, accounting for sales worth more than £900 million between its launch in 2012 and November 2015. Central government accounted for three-quarters of the spend, but take-up by other parts of the public sector is growing; and as the broadband infrastructure improves and people become more familiar with the economic and operational benefits of cloud services, an increasing number of organisations are turning to cloud.
But they face challenges in doing so, dealing with cultural issues, concerns about security, how to handle a migration from in-house systems and finding the right balance in a hybrid cloud model. This paper outlines factors in the move to cloud, the thinking around these challenges and the real concerns – and advice – of those that have followed this path.
Forty cloud experts and public sector professionals involved in decision making and deployment of cloud in their organisations met for a workshop in December 2015 to discuss the challenge of selecting / procuring and then implementing the storage and management of files with the security classification of OFFICIAL in the cloud.
Of those participating more than four in 10 (42%) were already using cloud, and the remainder were either in the process of buying cloud services (31%) or considering whether to do so (27%) in 2016. 92% of attendees were using, planning to use or had used G-Cloud to procure their cloud solutions.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore the procurement and delivery of OFFICIAL cloud services within the Public Sector, based on discussions between representatives from across all areas the Public Sector.
Next week: The Productivity Imperative of Cloud Adoption in the Public Sector