Approaches to Cloud Computing in the Public Sector: Case Studies in UK Local Government

Approaches to Cloud Computing in the Public Sector: Case Studies in UK Local Government

Jeffrey Chang (London South Bank University, UK) and Mark Johnston (Julian Campbell Foundation, UK)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8676-2.ch005
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Abstract

Cloud computing refers to a scalable network infrastructure where consumers receive IT services such as software and data storage through the Internet on a subscription basis. Potential benefits include cost savings, simpler IT and reduced energy consumption. The UK government and local authorities, like commercial organisations, are considering cloud-based services. Concerns have been raised, however, over issues such as security, access, data protection and ownership. This study attempts to investigate the likely impact of cloud computing on local government based on a conceptual framework and case studies of four London borough councils. It reveals that the concept of cloud computing is new and not clearly understood. Local authorities, who face further cuts in government funding, welcome a cloud-based IT infrastructure which may lead to considerable savings. Yet local government is conservative, so with their risk-adverse attitude local authorities are more likely to adopt a hybrid approach to implementation.
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The Concept Of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a style of computing where IT capabilities are provided as a service delivered over the Internet to a customer’s workplace, similar to utilities such as water and electricity which are ‘piped’ to the customer’s premises. Although there is no universally agreed definition, cloud computing has five key attributes according to a group of researchers at Gartner: service-based, scalable and elastic, shared, metered by use and using Internet Technology (Plummer et al, 2009). These attributes are addressed as ‘essential characteristics’ by the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST, 2011).

The key advantages of cloud computing are held to be reduced costs, increased efficiency and a significant reduction in energy consumption leading to cost savings and greener IT (Catteddu, 2010; Armbrust et al, 2010; Foster et al, 2008; Luis et al, 2008; Aymerich et al, 2009; Grossman, 2009; Korri, 2009; Maggiani, 2009; Nelson, 2009). For potential customers cloud computing presents an attractive alternative to buying, setting up and maintaining their own in-house computing infrastructure (Korri, 2009). These advantages are theoretically as applicable to the public sector as to private organisations, and as set out in the Digital Britain (2009) report, the UK government sees the adoption of cloud computing as critical to the success of its plans to increase efficiency in the public sector.

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