Headlines: January 11th, 2011

Cloud computing, which allows oganisations to share resources, software and applications, will bring radical change to public sector ICT services. Using the cloud will reduce costs and risks and bring scalability, and resilience. For the future, public bodies will be able to operate without owning a single server or having a share in a data centre. This prediction comes from the Society of IT Management.

Heading into the cloud, published by the Society, sets out the benefits of cloud computing, a phenomenon that enables the provision of computing resources to be shared on a utility basis. Data and resource centres are shared between multiple client organisations and their users get access through internet browser interfaces.

The Society argues that the implications for this development are that ICT strategies must be rewritten with cloud adoption as a central theme. It is equally vital to avoid any moves that will delay or compromise this, so investing in a new or enhanced data centre would probably be ill-advised at present. Similarly, outsourcing the IT service now might mean that the benefits of moving to the cloud would be very much delayed.

The quality of the software underlying online commerce, government services, e-shopping, banking, and leisure services, its reliability, ease of use and apparent security are all contributing to the popularity of the cloud. Against this background, the Society’s Briefing shows how the public sector can make the move from being a provider of cloud services, in the form of e-government facilities, to being a consumer.

Security of data is one of the most commonly perceived objections to the cloud, but the Society argues that security considerations should not stand in the way of cloud adoption, as long as public sector organisations become more focused on information assurance. This principle applies wherever the data is held.