Despite the Government's Cloud First strategy only 2% of public sector IT managers see their sector as highly pro-cloud according to research by UK cloud services provider Redcentric.
Technology obsolescence is what is really driving over half of the public sector to move to the cloud and three quarters of public sector IT managers claim that they are only taking their first tentative steps on their cloud journey, suggesting that they need to become more confident about their cloud approach and ensure they are taking the right route.
The findings of the research, conducted by Vanson Bourne, suggest that the public sector's tentativeness in adopting the cloud could be due to not fully understanding the benefits it can deliver.
The public sector's most common approach to cloud adoption, cited by 40%, was using standardised 'off the shelf' services offered by cloud providers, compared to around half of private sector respondents saying that they prefer tailor-made cloud packages to suit their individual IT needs.
Off the shelf cloud email services was by far the most common 'first use' of cloud in the public sector - for 46% of respondents.
'Gaining internal sponsorship' was the most common reason for a delayed cloud journey, for 40% of respondents.
An uncertain perception of cloud in the public sector appears to hold their journey back and could be the reason why many organisations in the sector are still in their early cloud stages, despite initiatives like G-Cloud being in place for three years.
Nine out of ten IT managers in the public sector say that the biggest concern in cloud adoption is integrating cloud services, showing this to be another predominant reason why the public sector may hesitate in implementing the cloud or prefer an off the shelf approach.
The public sector's most common diversion to their cloud journey - for 38% - is internal cost-cutting, despite this also being their top reason for moving to the cloud in the first place. This shows that despite much of the public sector moving to the cloud to reduce costs, further cost-cutting actually halts the cloud journey, showing that the sector's frugality could in fact work as a cloud hindrance.
The most popular ultimate cloud destination for the public sector, stated by a third, was 'a pick and mix' of cloud services for specific applications, suggesting that the public sector are most likely to cherry pick services in the cloud rather than moving their entire IT estate. Therefore, many public sector IT decision makers see the need to select specific cloud services to suit different areas of the IT environment.
Data sovereignty is the public sector's top cloud concern, with 54% saying that the most important service related factor when moving to the cloud is knowing where their data is held.
Andy Mills, Group Sales Director at Redcentric commented on the findings: "The public sector is under extra pressure to acquire the right cloud solution, as many organisations are currently using outdated technology and are pressed with adopting the cloud quickly.
"To make the journey efficiently, IT managers must ensure that they determine what they want from a cloud provider so that it best suits their needs. Due diligence is key, make sure that you check the references of cloud providers that you are considering, to ensure you select a reputable vendor.
"It is vital that IT departments engage the wider organisation at the start of their cloud journey to reduce the disconnect that we've observed between IT and service owners.
"This can often lead to costly delays. Every organisation is unique and therefore has a different set of cloud requirements that can be met by tailored solutions.
"By working across the organisation, understanding the breadth of options available to them and choosing a solution that is the right fit, public sector organisations can conduct their cloud journey with far more confidence of success."
Redcentric interviewed 200 IT decision makers from the public and private sector in spring 2015. All respondents had either adopted a cloud strategy or were planning to in the near future.