Latest Public Sector News


Councils warned to plan before switching to cloud-based data

Local councils and other public sector organisations have been warned to do proper background research before switching to the cloud or internet data systems in a new report released this week.

Research conducted by Brunel University found that while moving to the cloud proved beneficial to authorities, the switch was often made too quickly, leading to the cloud being left vulnerable to cyber-attack.

Many authorities are being pushed to move from in-house IT services to using internet-based providers amidst pressure to cut costs. Two councils, Warwickshire CC and the London Borough of Hillingdon both announced plans to make the switch back in 2012.

In 2011, government strategists forecast that changing to a shared G-cloud, or government cloud, could yield savings of £3.2bn due to costs being spread among organisations in the shared server.

However, many council leaders say that the move could lead to a lack of data ownership and a loss of control and governance due to a “grey area” of who has access to the information.

The study looked at three councils who had made the change and discovered that when systems were altered too rapidly, data was left at risk of attack, as one authority was instantly targeted by hackers.

Dr Uthayasankar Sivarajah, from Brunel University London, a member of the research team, stated that the findings carried messages for both central and local government with regards to changing to cloud-based technology.

“One of the authorities faced an immediate security breach that caused chaos,” said the lecturer in operations and information systems management. “Data was accessed illegally by an unauthorised third party and the private sector cloud provider blamed human error.

“There are huge black holes between what the councils are trying to do and what they are achieving.

“The biggest lesson to councils is that the right person needs to drive and lead the implementation and sell it to workers.”

Dr Sivarajah added that at operational level, councils could see real benefits in cost savings, but also warned that it was only early days and was therefore difficult to know what the long-term impact of the change could be.

“That may take 10 years to find out. It might reduce the headcount in IT departments, but I can’t see it cutting out the need for them altogether,” he concluded.


Denis   25/04/2017 at 12:46

I am sorry, let me get this straight: “The biggest lesson to councils is that the right person needs to drive and lead the implementation and sell it to workers.” Is this the biggest lesson of the research paper? That the "Right Person" should do the transformation? As opposed to the "wrong person" suitable for all other council jobs, I presume... It remains hilarious in the detail as well - turns out Cloud can also be breached! Of course. The point is, that true IaaS cloud, when used correctly tends to offer more security that a perimeter based traditional on-premise approach, for lower costs, with much greater flexibility... Is it 100% secure by default out of the box for every use? No of course not. Nothing is. What kind of research was this, why is in 7 years late, and what will take 10 years to discover? Also, cutting out the need for IT departments? This was (nor is it now) ever the goal of using Cloud. The goal was to get IT departments to perform the essential function of connecting users with the right technology, architecting and helping the business to be more efficient, and to evolve. Cloud enables the IT department to focus on that, rather than building, repairing, patching and upgrading servers, with no time left to worry about what those servers are running...

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

National policies won’t fix local problems

National policies won’t fix local problems

Andrew Carter, the recently-appointed chief executive of Centre for Cities, argues that the new government will only succeed if it focuses on implementing policies that are adaptable to place-based more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Innovation in commissioning services

26/06/2017Innovation in commissioning services

Malcolm Harbour CBE, who wrote Parliament’s first report on innovatio... more >
Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

26/06/2017Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

Paul Winyard, senior policy officer at the National Council for Voluntary O... more >


HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital&rsq... more >

most read

the raven's daily blog

Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

19/06/2017Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

A number of local government leaders and figures have been named in the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours list. The list recognises the achievements of people across a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

15/06/2017Challenges remain

As PSE went to press, we were days away from finding out which political party or parties would be leading the country following Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election for 8 June.  Whoever enters the door at No.10, irrelevant of their political colour, is faced with serious challenges, from social care to the NHS, housing to the economy, and, of course, the all-consuming and imminent Brexit negotiations which will have ramifications for generations to... read more >