UK police urged to embrace cloud

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The UK's police forces should adopt cloud computing, new research has said.

An FOI report from Citrix has found that migrating to the cloud could help free up valuable resources for underfuned and overstretched forces around the country.

The report surveyed 43 forces around the UK, with 24 responding, and found the vast majority (75 per cent) still access and manage their data and applications on-premise.

Overall, 71 per cent of forces currently store less than a quarter of their data and applications in a cloud environment, with an additional one in ten (13 per cent) stating that none of their data and applications are stored ‘in the cloud’.

The police's current status is in direct opposition to the ‘Cloud First’ policy introduced by the government back in 2013. This recommended all public sector organisations should consider cloud solutions above all else when procuring new or existing services.

Despite the current shortcomings, change may soon be coming, with the survey findings that the majority (88 per cent) of forces are considering investing in cloud infrastructure and technologies such as software, platform or infrastructure as a service (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS) within the next 12 months.

Over two thirds (67 per cent) are also planning to outsource or downsize their physical IT infrastructure in favour of a cloud model within the next twelve months, with a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) already having done so.

“Police forces today face enormous pressure from both central government and the general public to reduce crime rates, despite a drop in the number of officers on the beat," said Darren Fields, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Citrix. 

“With a 19 per cent reduction in funding from central government and council taxes since 2010/11, police forces are on the lookout for innovative, cost effective technology to improve security and increase operational efficiency. Yet, many police forces across the UK are held back by legacy IT systems – making it a challenging exercise to consolidate and transition data and applications to the cloud. 

"However, the cloud will inevitably become integral to service delivery – due to solutions typically being cost effective, scalable, secure and flexible – and is likely to become an indispensable asset for police forces in the year ahead.”

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