Public Sector Adoption of Cloud Happening Slowly

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
February 29, 2012 /

When it comes to exploring the opportunities of cloud, the public sector is well behind the private sector, according to a survey from KPMG International.

Results from the survey are summarized in the report, Exploring the Cloud: a Global Study of Governments’ Adoption of Cloud. The survey finds that the progress of government entities significantly lags that of their for-profit counterparts by nine to 13 percent. Only 12 percent of government executives say that more than 10 percent of their agencies’ overall IT expenditures are allocated to cloud in 2011. By the end of 2012, this figure is anticipated to more than double to 28 percent.

“Governments are increasingly recognizing that the adoption of cloud could dramatically reduce the cost of delivering services to citizens,” noted John Herhalt, KPMG’s Global Chair, Government & Infrastructure. “In this era of government austerity, it seems clear that cloud will quickly become a key tool for public sector cost reduction.”

The survey results, which included responses from almost 430 public sector leaders around the world, found that 73 percent of government respondents require cost reductions in order to move to a cloud environment.

“By placing services onto a cloud-based platform, governments are increasingly finding that they can improve the way citizens access data and – as a result – provide a more transparent and responsive experience when interacting with key public sector departments,” added Herhalt. “But ensuring the security of data will be critical, particularly when dealing with citizen’s personal information and sensitive government information.”

Almost half of all respondents (47 percent) indicated that security would be the most significant challenge they will face in placing services and processes onto cloud platforms. Security concerns were particularly acute among the largest government entities where 56 percent of respondents cited concerns in this area. However, almost 80 percent of all respondents suggested that their confidence in the cloud would increase if services were to be certified by a government body. IT governance and regulatory compliance were also identified as key challenges by almost a quarter of respondents.

“Government agencies are often privy to some of the most sensitive data available and – as a result – are a frequent target of hackers,” noted Herhalt. “Government IT leaders will need to ensure that their cloud service providers can provide robust security protocols and protection before placing key services and data onto cloud-based platforms.”

In response, almost a third of public sector respondents to the KPMG International survey indicated a preference for adopting a Private Cloud environment, versus only 22 percent who are exploring the potential for utilizing a Public Cloud platform.

The KPMG report also identifies a number of jurisdictions that have taken a leadership position in the adoption of cloud. In particular, governments in Australia, Italy, Denmark, Singapore and the United States seem to have made strong progress in implementing cloud technology with around 30 percent of respondents in these countries indicating that they have already undertaken either a partial or full implementation of cloud.

“Governments around the world can learn valuable lessons from front-runners, especially in the area of security and risk management,” added Herhalt. “And as cloud service providers gain valuable experience in delivering services to governments, we expect to see both confidence and adoption rates rise significantly.”


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