Cloud ideal for gov disaster response amidst funding, fears
By Eden Estopace 07-Jun-2011
The aggressive push by vendors in promoting the advantages of cloud technologies and services is slowly driving the acceptance of the platform by private organizations and, on a smaller scale, by the public sector. It can be said perhaps that the march to the cloud is now in the future progressive tense, a continuing action that will be happening much more widely at some point in the future.
A new study released by Dutch business software provider Unit4 in April showed that global cloud adoption rates remain steady in 2011 and adoption in the public sector is projected to grow alongside the commercial sector. The survey was based on responses from 700 medium to large organizations based in 12 countries worldwide.
According to Unit4, while cloud adoption among 123 public sector organizations is still currently low and many have relatively little planned investment this year, 25% estimate that cloud will account for between 25% and 50% of their back-office cloud applications 10 years from now, while 17% said investment will be between 50% and 75% within the same time frame.
|New global cloud adoption survey suggests cloud will account for between 25% and 50% of their back-office cloud applications 10 years from now.|
"The key perceived advantage of cloud technology according to the government sector respondents was easier maintenance while reliance on the Internet and loss of control were perceived as the main disadvantages," Unit4 said.
Many may disagree but, in fact, the public sector is ready and eager to take on cloud computing, said Colin Timm, managing director (public sector), Microsoft Asia Pacific, in an email interview at the sidelines of the Microsoft Public Sector Summit in Singapore.
Understand government's role
And as the public sector gets ready to try the platform, Timm underscores the need for governments to understand their role in promoting policies that are cloud relevant.
"This ranges from fostering local software innovation to expanding cloud services for citizens in healthcare and education to promoting the national competitiveness of the country and its cloud services," he said.
In developed countries where infrastructure is in place, he said it will be easier for governments to get onto the cloud bandwagon and encourage local enterprises to do the same. However, in developing countries where infrastructure is not so advanced, security will be a key concern for governments embracing cloud technologies.
"While telecommunications service providers and governments already work together to bring 3G or new infrastructure to reality, Microsoft is also actively working with governments to drive local economies into more competitive societies," he said, adding that Microsoft's efforts in this area include training IT personnel so that they have updated skill sets and providing improved delivery of citizen services in preparation for e-government initiatives.
Ideal for disaster response
For both developed and developing nations, Timm sees the cloud as specifically useful in disaster response as service and applications can be hosted anywhere in the world and would allow governments to avoid issues such as damaged infrastructure and equipment, power shortages or telecommunications service interruptions. Moreover, it can actively scale according to increased demands.