NHS ‘Cloud First’ policy hampered by significant barriers, survey finds


Freedom of Information Act research from SolarWinds highlights the need for comprehensive monitoring to resolve public cloud implementation challenges

  • SolarWinds research explores adoption by public-sector organisations of Government’s Cloud First policy
  • Results reveal 80% of NHS organisations are aware of policy, but only 30% have adopted any level of public cloud usage
  • 79% have no plans to migrate everything to the Cloud
  • Legacy technology a key stumbling block to adoption

Although 80% of NHS organisations are aware of the Government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy; adoption remains patchy, with significantly-lower usage within the healthcare sector than other public-sector groups, research has revealed.

SolarWinds, a provider of IT management software, has published the results of its Freedom of Information (FOI) request into cloud adoption in the UK public sector.

And the results reveal that, although four in every five NHS, central government, and defence organisations are aware of the ‘Cloud First’ policy’ public cloud adoption is disparate, with significantly-lower levels of adoption in NHS organisations.

Despite UK government guidelines making it mandatory for central government - and strongly recommended in the public sector as a whole - to evaluate public cloud solutions before all others; less than a third (30%) of NHS trusts surveyed, and under two thirds (61%) of central government departments, have adopted any level of public cloud in their organisation.

Furthermore, of these organisations, few have plans to migrate everything to the cloud; a view voiced by 41% of central government respondents and a staggering 79% of NHS respondents.

A key trend underpinning this is the difficulty public-sector organisations experience monitoring the public cloud as part of their wider data infrastructure.

Approximately half of NHS (48%) and central government organisations (53%) use four or more monitoring tools to manage their infrastructure.

At the same time, many (77% of NHS respondents and 55% of central government respondents) are either 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.

The problem is further exacerbated by legacy technology, which 53% of NHS respondents and 50% of central government respondents highlight as one of the key barriers to public cloud adoption.

“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,” said Paul Parker, chief technologist, federal and national government at SolarWinds.

“Crucial to the lack of trust is the lack of consistency in management tools across the infrastructure.

“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.”

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