‘Work to do’ in building cloud confidence among local government buyers

13 May 2015, 2:53 pm

Cloud service suppliers “have work to do” in building confidence among the local government buyer community when it comes to adoption of cloud services, according to the Head of Research at the Society of IT Management (Socitm).

Cloud security stock image“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”, said Socitm’s Andy Hopkirk in a statement following the publication by the Society of a research report on cloud adoption.

‘IT Trends Survey: Cloud computing services’ is based on 103 mainly local authority respondents, as well as other public sector and voluntary organisations, at various stages of cloud service implementation.

“Cloud services are undoubtedly serious candidates to take on significant public service workloads”, Hopkirk told Local Digital. “New technical and economic imperatives press the case for externally-hosted services – eg cloud services. This is clearly the case now generally in the economy, not just in the use of computing services by the public and third sectors”.

But, he added “matters of safety and confidence have to be satisfied too” and a “multi-party” approach could help to break down some of barriers to cloud take up in local government caused by fears over data security.

“The prospective buying community needs to educate itself and the selling community has to do work to build confidence. The selling community cannot rely upon purely economic arguments to be successful, for public servants cannot choose to ignore data protection matters without incurring reputational and legal risks that can be thought better managed by more conventional choices”, he said.

Hopkirk said Socitm could fulfil the ‘educational’ role among prospective cloud buyers to raise awareness of the issues.

“Detailed knowledge of the national, EU and wider legal and regulatory environments for data storage, transfer and processing is very specialist – not one that Socitm members are usually professionally expert in. They are likely to seek advice and move slowly and carefully”, said Hopkirk.

Overall, the survey found that 90% of respondents have at least a ‘toe in the water’ when it comes to cloud services. All of those who piloted cloud services say that they are very likely to, or will definitely, use cloud services in the next two years. And 40% of those only investigating their options say they are very likely to do so within two years.

Respondents who have procured cloud services most often used an existing procurement arrangement via Government’s G-cloud or signed up to a pay-as-you-go agreement. Respondents at the investigation stage said they were likely procure via G-cloud in future.

‘IT Trends survey: cloud computing services’ is available free of charge to Socitm members and Insight subscribers.