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Public sector staff raise data security concerns over cloud computing

More than 80% of public sector workers think that their organisations lack the expertise to implement cloud platforms, new research has revealed. 

The Dods research study of more than 5,000 public sector workers, commissioned by Huddle, highlighted the single biggest barrier to using cloud computing is data security concerns (92%), followed by concerns around the amount of time and effort it will take to move to new services (85%). 

Additionally, more than 50% of public sector staff believe their organisations just can’t see the benefit of cloud computing. 

Researchers suggested that it would appear that generally accepted messages regarding strong cloud security, ease of use, integration and implementation have not resonated in the public sector. 

In March 2015, George Osborne announced £13bn of cuts from government departments over the next three years. In tomorrow’s Emergency Budget, Osborne is expected to announce the government’s first steps to achieving this – anticipated to include a renewed focus on improving government efficiency, boosting public sector productivity and interdepartmental collaboration. 

According to the Cabinet Office, efficiency, productivity and collaboration gains and the reduction of IT costs are all largely dependent on being ‘Cloud First’. 

“The public sector frontline is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Alastair Mitchell, co-founder and CMO of Huddle. “On the one hand, staff are being asked to remove £13bn of spend, but on the other, the new cloud-based IT infrastructures that are key to a large proportion of these savings are not yet sufficiently understood or trusted enough to be widely deployed. 

 “It’s really very simple. If public sector employees – and in particular those in IT roles – are not convinced of the benefits of cloud computing and the changes to working practices that can be delivered through it, then the £13bn public sector savings are not realistic." 

Of all public sector staff polled, central government employees were the most likely to be aware of, and be confident using, cloud computing services. But while awareness was high (84%), confidence in using cloud computing services was low, at 37%. 

Approximately three quarters of local government staff said they were comfortable with the term ‘cloud computing’. However, their level of confidence using cloud ICT is relatively low – 61% either lack confidence using cloud services, or have never knowingly used them. 

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