Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Are cloud-based services right for the government?

UK: A growing number of small- and medium- sized enterprises are adopting cloud-based software to aid in lowering overhead and increasing productivity; 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.

The UK Cabinet Office is also pushing the government to implement cloud-based services due to the benefits of working in the cloud; the UK Cabinet's latest directive urges employees to utilise these services when possible, although they haven't yet set any requirements for particular businesses offering the services.

Opponents of the 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 back 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.

Harvey Raybould, managing director of COMPILA, a web hosting company that offers cloud-based services such as secure email hosting and virtual private servers, says that the benefits of working in the cloud far outweigh the risks; "The most important thing for SMEs when using cloud-based services is to ensure that they choose an established, reputable company.

"Companies, like COMPILA, have been around long enough to develop intricate security protocols to keep their client's data secure and are more likely to remain in business compared to brand new services.

"Security is an especially big concern with the government. COMPILA is working on improving security protocols for use in government and military establishments, which is historically one of the most competitive markets."

By 2017, the anticipation is that the UK Government will shift the majority of their documentation to cloud-based streams, although security will be of the utmost concern on the agenda to ensure all data that is streamed through cloud services are completely secure.

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