Cloud security among issues slowing down UK G-Cloud

May 17, 2012

Omnipresent concerns about data security in the cloud are just some of the issues surrounding an ambitious plan in the United Kingdom to launch a public sector private G-Cloud, according to BBC News. Plans for the G-Cloud and an already launched government front-end online marketplace known as CloudStore are the early stages of an effort to use half of any government IT spending on cloud computing services by 2015.

Updating the cloud
G-Cloud 2.0 - which aims to update the CloudStore and further organize Britain's public sector technology - was supposed to launch in the beginning of May but now has been slated to arrive by "end of May to start of June," according to the Register.

The second iteration of the online shop is supposed to expand the use of open-source technology and bring more application suppliers and vendors. As the store looks to expand, executives from a web-based software company headquartered in California told V3.co.uk that because the UK lagged behind the U.S. for so long regarding cloud development, it now stands as the No. 1 market for future growth of cloud services.

Minister for the Cabinet Francis Maude announced in Parliament that the program will cost the government £4.93 million but is expected to deliver a savings of £340 million. Maude did not disclose over what time period he expects to see those savings.

Contractual issues
One of the largest potential areas for savings comes in the elimination of long-term IT contracts. Such contracts can be lengthy and expensive, holding the agency back as technology continues to move forward.

A survey of UK public sector employees by a software company found that of the IT staff who took part in the study, 59 percent claimed to be "undecided" as to whether they would use the cloud store. In addition to some common concerns that arise when migrating to the cloud - lack of understanding and worries about cloud security - some employees couldn't use the store because of existing contracts for their departments and agencies.

Deep-rooted concerns
Former deputy G-Cloud director, Andy Tait, believes some of the concerns about adoption of the cloud go deeper than contractual obligations.

"If a department is locked into a long term contract then that's a problem," Tait told BBC News. "But there is also an element of cultural resistance as this is a change to the way things are done."

-McAfee Cloud Security