Transformation

UK councils refuse to push data into the cloud

More than two data centres each? Perfectly reasonable

Verne Global data centre server racks from above

The majority of the UK's local councils run two or more data centres each, suggesting cloudy adoption is still a long way off for local gov, according to Freedom of Information research.

Requests sent to the UK's 100 largest local authorities revealed that two-thirds of councils run at least two bit barns and store 90 per cent or more of their data on premises - according to findings from IT service provider Eduserv.

The research also found that while 56 per cent of councils have an IT policy for the use of cloud, the rest have no cloud adoption policy at all.

However, it seems that there is some confusion as to what cloud services are being used.

Some 18 per cent of councils say they do not use any form of cloud storage. "[But] research from Dropbox which suggests nearly every council in the UK has used its services proves this is simply not the case," said the report.

"One surprising finding was the difficulty councils had in articulating a breakdown of where their data was held. Some one in four (27 per cent) either could not say, did not know or, in a couple of instances, would not say.”

Jos Creese, principal analyst at Eduserv’s local government executive briefing programme, said there is an arguement for some on-premise data processing given the some of highly senstive information they handle.

"By all means have in-house data processing, but councils should look at how they would use it as part of an array of cloud services rather than as a major processing centre for the bulk of their activities."

However, some councils have encountered problems running their own data centre services. At the end of last year, services at Glasgow City Council were brought to a halt after a powerful blast of gas was released in its data centre, following the accidental triggering of the fire suppressant system.

Creese added that since the launch of G-Cloud in 2012, local authorities have spent just £57.6m on cloud computing - out of around £1.2bn total spend.

"Suppliers and Whitehall criticise this low take-up, believing resistance to change and low awareness are key reasons."

He added: "Given there are some 430 local authorities in the UK and the average spend per council is a mere £134,000, you could argue that it is a market which is still at the very early stage of adoption." ®

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