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February 26, 2018

Why a cloud first approach is a mere pipe dream for the NHS

Legacy infrastructure and monitoring tools are significantly hampering efforts to modernise these organisations.

By James Nunns

A cloud first approach is considered by many, if not all, to be the most advantageous model for businesses to take when tackling digital transformation efforts.

The same model should also be applied to the public sector, certainly the G-Cloud framework encourages it and so does government policy, but unfortunately this policy is coming up against some serious barriers.

According to a Freedom of Information request into cloud adoption in the UK public sector by SolarWinds, an IT management software company, less than a third of NHS Trusts surveyed and under two third of central government departments have adopted any level of public cloud in their organisation.

Worryingly, of these organisations, many have no plan at all to migrate everything to the cloud, voiced by 41% of central government respondents, and 79% of NHS respondents.

Whilst some concerns can be expected, and throwing everything into the public cloud isn’t necessarily the best option, there’s some serious concerns regarding the public sector’s public cloud aversion.

When you consider that there is a Government Cloud First policy that makes it mandatory for central government, and a strong recommendation for the public sector as a whole, to evaluate public cloud solutions before all others, it’s a shocking state that 30% of NHS trusts have adopted any level of public cloud.

The difficulty in monitoring the public cloud as part of their wider data infrastructure is considered to be one of the big barriers.The NHS (48%) and central government organisations (53%) use of four or more monitoring tools to manage their infrastructure.

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Unfortunately, the report also found that 77% of NHS respondents, and 55% of central government, are not using the same monitoring tools across their infrastructure, or are unsure if their monitoring and management tools could be capable of working across both on-premises and hybrid environments, according to the report.

“While not surprising, the results suggest that public sector users, particularly those handling sensitive data, have yet to be convinced that the public cloud is an integral tool that can provide considerable ROI. Crucial to the lack of trust is the lack of consistency in management tools across the infrastructure,” said Paul Parker, chief technologist, federal and national government, SolarWinds.

Legacy technology makes an unsurprising appearance as one of the challenges facing these areas, with 53% of NHS respondents and 50% of central gov calling it out as one of the key barriers to public cloud adoption.

“The public sector needs tools that can combine the monitoring and management of on-premises and cloud infrastructure, including legacy technology, in a way that clearly demonstrates system performance and ROI potential. Without this, it will be near impossible to achieve the cost-efficiency and data fluidity that the government is aiming for with the Cloud First policy,” said Parker.

Legacy technology makes an unsurprising appearance as one of the challenges facing these areas, with 53% of NHS respondents and 50% of central gov calling it out as one of the key barriers to public cloud adoption.

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