Public sector organisations ‘in the dark’ about where their data is, suggests UKCloud survey

by Jeremy

Public sector organizations are “sleepwalking” into losing track of their data, as a survey by UKCloud suggests many have no clear idea about where their business information is stored. The cloud provider polled 300 IT and business leaders for its State of Digital and Data survey. Its findings suggest few public sector organizations can say – with any degree of certainty – if most of their information is stored on-premise or in the cloud.

Data remains an issue for public sector

More than half (53%) of the survey’s respondents said their data is stored on-premise, 58% said their data resides in the public cloud, and 56% indicated their information is spread across multiple cloud services.

“There’s confusion visible in the responses, suggesting a lack of understanding – organizations don’t know where their data is; they just think they do,” said UKCloud in the survey report.

“TMostof an organization’s data can’t reside across public, private, and multiple cloud services, highlighting an overall lack of certainty.

“Public sector organizations are sleepwalking into a state where data is spread across multiple places, and it’s been partly driven by a lack of visibility into what is stored on legacy technology, alongside the convenience of big tech deployments,” the report continued.

The report stated that the lack of clarity over where public sector organizations store their data is concerning, given that much of this information will belong to citizens.

This is particularly true as 40% of respondents said their teams do not possess the capabilities to understand where their organization’s data is stored.

“Given the damage that a data breach can cause – especially to sectors such as healthcare and police and justice – these findings are concerning. Data should be treated as a national asset,” the report stated.

“When organizations – and those within them charged with managing that data – aren’t sure where it resides, its security is questioned, and its value to an organization significantly diminishes.

“Harnessing data to its full potential and delivering the best possible services to citizens depends on organizations knowing where that data is and how it’s being used at any given time,” the report added. The survey also revealed that 97% of public sector organizations evaluate new technologies, with 60% expressing a preference for all their data to be eventually hosted in the cloud. Primarily, they can use artificial intelligence and collaboration tools more straightforwardly and enjoy excellent operational resiliency.

Achieving their goal of having all their data in the cloud will require developing a greater understanding of where it resides and improving access to it, the report stated. As it stands, there appears to be some way to go before this can become a reality. Only just over half (52%) of respondents say they have the resources necessary to understand and drive efficiencies from the data they own, meaning they can’t determine its actual value,” the report said.

“And two-thirds (67%) currently allocate no more than a few days each month to innovate and research ways to unlock more value from data, with 89% of leaders admitting they dedicate only 20% of their time to innovating ways to unlock data. This suggests there isn’t enough time for them to discover new ways of working and – as a result – they remained tied to legacy systems and processes,” the report added. Leighton James, CTO at UKCloud, said the report’s findings should help public sector organizations identify potential blockers to their data-led digital transformations.

“This survey shows that the UK public sector is committed to the benefits of digital transformation, and it is also clear that this transformation is too big a leap for many organizations,” he said. UKCloud and our innovative partners are focused on bridging that gap by delivering services and capabilities specifically developed to address the fundamental challenges facing most public sector organizations. Our latest survey will help our community understand and address these challenges to deliver better outcomes to those who rely on public services.

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