The UK public sector still perceives “the cloud” as insecure. This was the claim of a recent article published on CBR, where Kable Market Intelligence’s Daniel Jones showed how a lack of understanding, inflated by media (and marketing) fearmongering, has led to an overly risk-averse UK public sector, which is in turn hampering the adoption of cloud services.

The solution? Service providers must highlight the transparency and security reporting capabilities of their products; and UK public sector must undertake sufficient due diligence – in line with the Cloud Security Principles issued in 2014.

While the premise of Jones’ article is certainly true, it’s far the complete picture.

The public sector is at an early stage in a long journey. This is what we found late last year when, with the help of Dods, we asked more than 5,000 public sector employees about their attitudes towards cloud computing. Emanating from fears surrounding security, just 35% of staff said they were confident in their own ability to use cloud computing. Even more worrying was the view from IT department employees: while only 47% do feel confident using cloud ICT, nearly a quarter said they had never even used cloud computing services. This has caused a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ approach to data security: while public sector employees feel security is very important, in practice the majority still rely on high-risk data sharing behaviours like email, post and the couriering sensitive documents.

On top of this, 63% of public sector employees are unaware of the government’s April 2014 security classification system or didn’t believe it relevant to their organisation. As procuring through G-Cloud offers no guarantees around security, public sector IT leaders need to learn, understand and implement Cabinet Office guidelines quickly. Cloud service providers should support this goal by earning their ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications, as well as other security measures, to ensure that their users’ data is protected, and to help show IT leaders that data will be treated appropriately.

Huddle holds a number of security credentials, including ISO 27001, Cyber Essential Plus and FedRAMP, and maintains data centres in the UK, providing guaranteed UK data residency. This, paired with the product’s ability to maintain a full and transparent audit trail of all action and activities that take place around customer data, makes Huddle an ideal collaboration platform for the UK public sector. We currently work with 80% of central government departments, as well as a host of NHS and Local Government organisations, and meet the key requirement to store data classified as “Official” (which represents over 90% of all Government information).

Cloud computing underpins much of the public sector’s future plans in becoming ‘digital first’. Given the necessary level of collaboration between internal teams, third-party organisations and the wider public, the use of cloud computing makes perfect business, as well as financial sense. However successful widespread adoption relies not only on employees’ understanding and confidence in cloud technology, but also – as the original article showed – on suppliers helping public sector IT leaders to achieve demonstrable, easy and immediate compliance with security classification systems.



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