The cloud and the public sector

The cloud and the public sector

CIOs should keep an eye on cloud computing to avoid being caught by an unexpected storm says Ovum research director

Both CIOs and policy executives should see the cloud as both a threat and an opportunity, according to Ovum Australia research director Steve Hodgkinson He says cloud services are a threat to CIOs because the cloud will come to be viewed as the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to source basic commodity ICT services.

“CIOs will come under increasing pressure to explain why in-house ICT services take so long to deliver, are so much more expensive and are so difficult to consume compared to those available from cloud services providers.”

Hodgkinson adds that if CIOs don’t pay attention, they will find that their agencies have turned to the cloud without them knowing it has happened.

“This will create fragmented procurement and potential privacy and security risks.”

CIOs need to be on the front foot to ensure that cloud services are used for appropriate applications and to guide agencies in the use of the cloud, he claims.

“Cloud services can form a useful complement to in-house ICT, particularly for applications that are urgent, have tight budgets, do not involve sensitive data or are aimed at collaboration across multiple agencies.”

Hodgkinson also says cloud services are a threat to policy executives responsible for ICT industry development because clouds are provided by global ICT companies – typically headquarted in the USA.

“They create the risk of invisible off-shoring of the Australian ICT industry.”

He adds that Government is one of the few institutions with the operational scale required to create cloud computing services – a ‘G-Cloud’ - so policy executives will need to take a proactive interest in this before the ICT industry is sucked off-shore without anyone noticing.

Hodgkinson says the G-Cloud could equally apply to New Zealand in theory, but it would depend on the disposition of data centre resources, issues and network constraints.

“There is certainly a strong case for applying ‘Cloud Logic’ to the way government’s operate their commodity ICT infrastructure services to enhance economies of scale and make the services more easily available using the latest automation and self service technologies exhibited by cloud services providers.”

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