Almost half of UK councils are yet to put cloud plans together, research finds

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Even though almost three quarters of the major UK councils say they use cloud technologies for data storage in some capacity, almost half say they are yet to formulate plans to use cloud computing.

That’s the main finding from not for profit IT service provider Eduserv, in responses provided by the top 100 councils in the UK. 44% of those polled said they did not have a strategy or IT policy in place – and of that number, only 15% say they are exploring or considering a cloud policy.

63% of councils say they have two or more on-premise data centres, and a third use no external data centres. Only 10% have a pure cloud IT model, while 93% hold all but a negligible amount of data on-premise.

Worryingly, more than a quarter (27%) of councils approached by Eduserv said they could not provide a full breakdown of where their data was held. The overall sense of the findings provide a complex landscape for councils. “Information management maturity is still relatively low in local government, which needs to be addressed in the move to digital delivery,” said Andrew Hawkins, Eduserv public sector director.

Jos Creese, Eduserv principal analyst, argues the results are not especially surprising, but more can be done. “As cloud use becomes more ubiquitous, local authorities cannot afford not to have plans to ensure that it is used safely and with controls in place to ensure data is managed in a way which reduces risk,” said Creese.

“From a strategic perspective, the prevalence of on-premise IT shows that the majority of councils are still poorly positioned to exploit digital change in a way which generates both service and financial benefit,” added Creese. “If councils are to go down this path then it will be critical to address the apparent lack of clarity around where data is stored which emerged from our research.”

Writing for this publication last month, Hawkins argued organisations in the public sector needed to provide cultural, budgetary, and technical readiness before fully committing to cloud migration. “You can’t move to the cloud until you understand fully the shape of your current IT estate and the applications which support the organisation,” he wrote. “Mapping these will allow you to understand areas which are compatible and incompatible with a cloud operating model ahead of time.”

You can find out more about the report (registration required) here.

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