Councils have been warned not to make the shift to the cloud ‘too hastily’ after a new study found it can create problems with data security and a loss of control.
An in-depth look at three councils that had transferred services to cloud computing found that while it had several benefits, one council was instantly hit by hackers.
Dr Uthayasankar Sivarajah, part of the research team at Brunel University London, said: ‘One of the authorities faced an immediate security breach that caused chaos.
‘Data was accessed illegally by an unauthorised third party and the private sector cloud provider blamed human error.’
The study found that while switching to the cloud made it easier for staff to work from home and improved information management, managers felt it was more of a liability than a labour saver.
Staff also felt the move was the council’s rushed way of meeting the political agenda.
Dr Sivarajah added: ‘There are huge black holes between what the councils are trying to do and what they are achieving.
‘At operational level they could all see real benefits in cost savings. But it is still early days and we don’t know what the long-term impact will be. That may take 10 years to find out. It might reduce the headcount in IT departments, but I can’t see it cutting out the need for them altogether.’