Is the government right to move to the Cloud?
The government seems to be following in the footsteps of a growing number of smaller companies adopting cloud-based software to help lower their overheads and increase productivity, writes Harvey Raybould, managing director of web hosting firm COMPILA.
Software as a service, a popular earning model for cloud platforms, is becoming increasingly attractive to small business owners that simply don't have the capital to pay for the large upfront costs associated with maintaining their own technology infrastructure.
At the same time, the Cabinet Office is pushing the government to implement cloud-based services due to the benefits of working in the cloud. In fact, the office’s latest directive urges all public sector outfits to use these services when possible, although they haven't yet set any requirements for particular businesses offering the services.
Opponents of cloud-based services cite a lack of control over their own data and the past security breaches of major cloud companies, such as Nasdaq's Director Desk in 2010.
Another large concern is instability; if a cloud-based service ceases to exist, there's no guarantee that customers will be able to recover all of their data stored on the service's data centres.
However I believe that the benefits of working in the cloud far outweigh the risks. For small firms, the most important thing when approaching cloud-based services is to ensure that they choose a reputable company. That means strongly considering those established companies that have been around long enough to develop intricate security protocols to keep client data secure, as opposed to brand new services, where such protocols will likely be in their infancy.
Security for central departments is also going to be a big concern if the Cabinet Office’s directive is adhered to, nowhere more so than in government and military establishments, which is historically one of the most competitive markets.
Nevertheless, by 2017, the anticipation is that the UK government will shift the majority of their documentation to cloud-based streams. Not unlike small firms, the government will put security at the top of their agenda and will expect that all data streamed through cloud services are completely secure.