Outsourcing to the cloud; a key strategy for Government IT in 2011?

With government spending always a hot topic and with the recent rise in VAT, how public money is being spent and how it is being saved will be under even more scrutiny this year.

A leading research firm has recently published a paper stating that 2011 will see an increase by many government agencies in both outsourcing and offering more services over the cloud.

Since the last budget announcement on cuts in public sector spending, cloud based services are being viewed as a cost cutting strategy as government agencies explore all avenues in saving cash.

The increased use of the cloud and business process outsourcing (BPO) are expected to be the two main trends to push efficiencies in Government IT expenditure in 2011. Author of the paper, Jessica Hawkins working for research firm Ovum, argues that government agencies will seek to outsource many back-office processes in bids to save money as quickly as possible.

She also states that government agencies should adopt a long term strategy in both their own in house services and those that are offered out in order to deliver more efficient services, stating: “Many will look to their IT vendor to give them guidance on new technologies and vendors should be ready to do this”.

So is it good news for all Cloud Based Service providers? Not necessarily. Given the sensitivity of the data involved and their standing in the public eye, service providers can be sure that these agencies won’t outsource to just any cloud provider.

Some vendors have already in place their own long term strategies to ensure that when large organisations come looking for any Cloud Based solution – be it Online Backup, Virtual Disaster Recovery or Hosting – their own internal processes and what they offer have been fully independently audited.

By receiving ISO 9001, 27001 and 25999, a vendor can ensure it has in place internationally recognised standards for the services it offers. Given data breaches through bad practice are always news worthy; public bodies can be sure that when outsourcing their data to a cloud based service provider, there are companies out there who are already meeting the high standards required by such important organisations. Additionally, vendors can receive sponsorship to achieve UK Government security clearance, so the staff they employ are cleared to deal with all Government agencies.

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