Public sector voices challenges of moving to the Cloud

Public sector organisations migration to cloud-based services is being held up by budget cuts, lingering doubts over data security and complex application environments.

Public sector organisations' migration to cloud-based services is being held up by budget cuts, lingering doubts over data security and complex application environments.  

This was according to a Trustmarque roundtable that gathered talking heads from the government space to discuss the landscape following the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Ian Osborne, director of Digital Systems KTM, said there was an appetite to consolidate and update IT systems and reduce costs and carbon emissions.

"[But] for many migrating to a virtualised, commodity and modern infrastructure is simply not a practical option as there is limited budget available to invest in new technologies," he said.

"This puts considerable stress on the need to update existing systems which will underpin the government programme to reduce the deficit," Osborne added.

The hurdle preventing HQ Land Forces - part of the structure of the modern British Army - migrating to new platforms and technologies including the cloud is the hundreds of overlapping applications covering 27 different services.

"We would need to consolidate before we can even think about moving to the cloud," said Lee McKenzie of HQ Land Forces.

Following the recent departure of government CIO John Suffolk, the coalition put the G-Cloud project that he was developing with IT suppliers is under review.

David Bicknell at Campaign4Change, said that with no central government ICT strategy embedded, "what public sector organisations need right now is greater certainty and strong leadership with a clear vision and strategy they can believe in".

Awareness of risk mitigation, data protection and security has grown in government with fines dished out for non-compliance serving as a timely reminder of their importance, but sector funding for security investment was still tied.

"Where cloud is concerned many councils have to use a UK data centre and there are some very sensitive areas such as Child Support and Social Services that would need very robust security processes in place before outsourcing to the cloud," said Peter Wood, fellow at the British Computer Society.

The cloud presents a "cultrual barrier" which organisations need to overcome, said David Marriott Lodge, professional services manager at Trustmarque.

"The majority of software we sell is still on-premise, the uptake on change is slow - one of the main issues is that organisations want to be simple and they want to keep everything in one place," he said.

Read more on Cloud Platforms

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.