Inadequate funding and skill means governments will struggle to provide private cloud that meets user expectations or matches the innovation of public cloud providers, an analyst says.
Despite the huge uptake in public cloud globally, governments are still expected to have 60 per cent of their workloads on private cloud systems through to 2020.
And some 95 per cent of private clouds are struggling, often failing to deliver to customer expectation and needs, and vastly under-utilised.
That’s according to Neville Cannon, a public sector research director at research and advisory firm Gartner who says that several persistent myths, particularly around security, have made governments wary of public cloud.
Mr Cannon told a gathering of government CIOs at a Gartner conference in Sydney on Monday that the Federal Government was “hardening its approach toward public cloud.”
The use of public cloud as the default is among the seven principles in the Commonwealth’s Secure Cloud Strategy, which was released in February.
Similarly the UK had adopted a “cloud native” strategy while in the US the secretary of defence had recently written to the defence department advocating a quicker move to public cloud, he said.
Yet misconceptions around public cloud, including concerns around hosting sensitive data, meant many governments and agencies remained wary, he said.
“I would say public cloud is more secure than [governments] will ever be able to do… we have evidence that on-premise cloud is less secure because that’s where most of the failures are still happening,” he said.
Surveys showed 58 per cent of respondents believed sensitive data should not be moved to public cloud, but Mr Neville pointed to Microsoft Azure’s recent accreditation to protected status.
“Some of you can access that over a protected network, why wouldn’t you put it there?”
However he also acknowledged that some government areas such as criminal justice, defence and intelligence may stay out of the cloud.
During recent meetings with government agencies in Australia Mr Neville said he had spoke with one organisation which was maintaining a private cloud and had recently run an exercise that identified 3,000 cloud-based applications on its system.
Governments largely would struggle to keep pace with the level of innovation coming from public cloud providers, he said.
“Amazon Web Services launched 1,300 innovations to their network last year. That’s five worldwide infrastructural changes every working day of the week. Has anyone seen that kind of roll out in or across government recently?”
He suggested governments and agencies consider hybrid approaches, utilising public, private and community clouds where appropriate.
“Develop and plan a multi-cloud implementation plan,” he said, suggesting that government CIOs review the make-up of their cloud teams and find out who is using public cloud within their agencies.