A Freedom of Information (FoI) request on police cloud adoption answered by 24 police forces across the UK reveals that the vast majority still access and manage their data and applications on-premises – despite the government’s “Cloud First” policy.
Yet the research conducted by Citrix shows signs of an imminent shift: 88 percent of UK polices forces are considering investing in the cloud – whether software, platform or infrastructure as a service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) – within 12 months.
Currently, however, less than one third (29 percent) are using public clouds. A notable 71 percent of responding forces currently store less than a quarter of their data and applications in a cloud environment. Thirteen percent don’t use the cloud at all.
(Citrix, a US-based cloud software multinational, sent the FoI to 50 police forces aground the country. Only 24 replied. The survey is based on their responses).
In 2013, the government introduced a ‘Cloud First’ policy advising that all public sector organisations should consider cloud solutions above all else when procuring new or existing services, with the public cloud being the preferred deployment model to achieve this ‘cloud first’ vision.
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The Government Cloud Strategy states that “by exploiting innovations in cloud computing we will transform the public sector ICT estate into one that is agile, cost effective and environmentally sustainable.”
Darren Fields, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Citrix, said: “Police forces today face enormous pressure from both central government and the general public to reduce crime rates, despite a drop in the number of officers on the beat. Alongside this, the evolving cyber threat landscape means all organisations are targets for cyber-criminals – especially those with access to such sensitive information.”
“With a 19 per cent reduction in funding from central government and council taxes since 2010/11, police forces are on the lookout for innovative, cost effective technology to improve security and increase operational efficiency.”
“Yet, many police forces across the UK are held back by legacy IT systems – making it a challenging exercise to consolidate and transition data and applications to the cloud. However, the cloud will inevitably become integral to service delivery – due to solutions typically being cost effective, scalable, secure and flexible – and is likely to become an indispensable asset for police forces in the year ahead.”
The survey comes 14 weeks after G4S awarded Motorola a 10-year contract to deliver the UK’s first cloud-based, integrated “Control Room Solution” (CRS) to Lincolnshire Police. The CRS is hosted in Azure Private Cloud.
The company describes the system as a modular control room platform that manages all communications and provides the operator with “situational awareness through a unified voice, messaging and tracking solution.”
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