The public sector knows it has to move to the cloud yet it is being held back by the weight of risk aversion. When talking to those who manage IT services and data centres in the public sector, this seems to be the overarching frustration. The need for progress versus a traditional mindset. “Everything we do is under so much scrutiny, so our mindset is defensive,” said one attendee to our two recent roundtable events with leading lights from the public sector in Scotland.

It is clear that, slowly but surely, this mindset is changing. Although only a handful of the organisations present at our roundtables had made the move, those who had were already benefitting. “We have reduced our costs by 50% by moving to the cloud,” said one manager from the healthcare sector. “We are providing much better access to services and our ability to collaborate has improved.”

The government is trying to educate all public sector organisations in Scotland about the benefits of using cloud services. It highlights eight key benefits:


Your cloud service can be available 9-5 on weekdays or 2x7x365 depending on your requirements.


The choice of services available is far more than could ever be accessed by looking in-house for solutions. There are thousands of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS options both through the Scottish Government’s Hosting Services Framework and G Cloud alone. 


The cloud services market is a competitive one, so you are much more likely to get cheaper services.


Data centre (cloud) providers look to use energy in the most efficient way and the cost of the power is built in to the services they provide.


By buying cloud services from third party suppliers you are buying from companies for whom the provision of cloud services is their core business. Therefore they are going to provide expert delivery of those services.


The ability to procure a range of cloud services that can be for the short term or long term, depending on requirements.

Pay for what you use

You pay only for the capacity you use.


Security is the core business for cloud services suppliers. They have to protect the data coming in and out of their data centres. If they lose your data they don’t have a business.

Jim Gordon, Digital Transformation Manager for the Scottish Government, told our seminars that by understanding the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of their data hosting more public sector bodies would more easily recognise the benefits. He pointed to a survey of public sector organisations in Scotland which showed that a large percentage of them did not truly understand the cost of running data centres in-house. Those data centres, in some cases, were simply a tangle of wires from servers in rooms which were effectively being used as broom cupboards. There was no effective control of power usage, which the survey had identified as amounting to approximately 60% of the cost of running services in-house. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” he said repeating the well-known quote from Scottish physicist Lord Kelvin.    

The Scottish Government is strongly encouraging the public sector to move to understand that TCO to better inform business cases for the design and solution for moving to the cloud in the next three years.


By benchmarking you can create a true business case for change that involves your whole organisation and not just the IT department. The risk lies in doing nothing. 

By Marc Esmiley, Cloud Services Director, iomart

iomart works with public sector organisations across the United Kingdom to help them get the best out of the cloud. Our specialist consultants SystemsUp have helped government and local authority organisations move successfully to AWS and Microsoft Azure.