Are Councils Making The Most Of Cloud?

2 August 2016
Rachel Wood

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In a recent survey carried out by iGov involving 70 councils, it was revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents didn’t use cloud. Not only that but, “within the 44% of councils that had no cloud adoption policy, only 15% were considering one”.

We typically like to draw on success stories; for example our friends at Adur and Worthing Councils. Cloud computing revolutionised their workforce, as well as heavily impacting their ROI. Director for Digital & Resources at the Councils, Paul Brewer, said that, “research has shown that Google for Work boosts staff productivity by around 2 hours per week per person”. While this is great news, iGov’s research shows that not all government organisations are reaping similar rewards.

Indeed there’s a larger question presented of data and security. “Of the 31% that said they did use cloud systems, just 30% said they were able to monitor the sensitive data accessed through the applications”. The issue is so prevalent that according to the report, as many as 42% of this group said they didn’t even know that data could be monitored. A worrying thought in the age of hackers and phishing.

Commenting on the findings, Rick Powles – senior vice president at Druva – stated, “Protecting sensitive information must remain a top priority for local governments as well as staying informed of not only changes in legislation but tools that can better equip them for the future”. And we couldn’t agree more. From touring councils around the country with the CTS Google Bus, we’ve found there’s a huge appetite for cloud. We had close to 2,000 visitors on the Bus across 35 locations, and their core questions were always around security. In fact, iGov’s report stressed that the majority of councils said they could benefit from training, with only a paltry 28% saying it wasn’t necessary.

This is why we believe that education and training are at the heart of the issue, and that clear policies must be enforced when managing data. Councils looking for somewhere to start can refer to the Summary of Cloud Security Principles. These 14 principles require that council cloud systems are reviewed regularly and that providers offer the latest security updates and tech advancements, in keeping with data security laws. During deployment, we continually monitor updates to services. We focus on tech, people and process, and make sure we bring the customer tailored solutions, which address both technical security and data protection.

Through such government-set parameters, we believe cloud deployment is made more accessible and allows organisations to feel confident in their decision. If more people are made aware of the structures set in place to protect them, perhaps future reports will weigh more in cloud’s favour. We believe that our services provide councils with an opportunity to not only take advantage of the benefits, but if done right, also strengthen their policy and technical measures.

For the final word let’s return to the report and Jos Creese, principal analyst on Eduserv’s Local Government Executive Briefing Programme. He stressed that “local government had been slow to realise the benefit of cloud computing to release them from ‘legacy IT system handcuffs’”. If you want to realise the benefits as Creese suggests, please don’t hesitate. 

Just get in touch at [email protected] or call on 0161 871 0330. We’re here to help.

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