Public sector feeling cloud concern

Mar 12, 2012

Cloud computing in public sector still hindered by reliability concerns, claims Frost & Sullivan

Many companies in Europe are yet to adopt cloud computing because of reliability and safety issues, according to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.

“The relative newness and underdevelopment of the cloud computing market is the primary reason that public sector organisations delay adoption,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Jayashree Rajagopal. “Several high-profile service outages in 2011 – such as serious technical difficulties that struck Amazon Web Services and affected a public cloud that serves thousands of businesses – resulted in more reliability questions.”

With organisations worrying that a datacentre problem could result in hacking or the loss of citizens’ sensitive personal information, the research firm says organisations are considering two options: private clouds that would either be managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally; and hybrid clouds, in which the organisation provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally.

Another challenge for public sector organisations also is lack of international standards: strict data transfer regulations and differences in privacy and confidentiality definitions could affect compliance across borders. Data ownership and service accountability issues between ICT providers and public sector organisations are also big concerns.

“Compliance with government regulations also has to be considered,” says Rajagopal. “The amount of data generated and the required security levels vary considerably across public sectors such as healthcare and transportation. A cloud service should meet basic requirements as well as address security concerns specific to a sector.”

Although data protection regulations have become stronger to suit the dynamic ICT world, cloud computing will only be accepted with a large-scale adoption, argues the firm, advising that the public sector can harness buying power and a coordinated IT approaches with a more integrated and harmonised cloud system.

“Encouraging the adoption of cloud in the public sector is an essential step toward establishing a ‘cloud-active’ European Union. It would set the trend toward a cloud economy,” adds Rajagopal.

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