Risks and rewards of cloud computing in the UK public sector: A reflection on three Organisational case studies
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© 2017 The Author(s) Government organisations have been shifting to cloud-based services in order to reduce their total investments in IT infrastructures and resources (e.g. data centers), as well as capitalise on cloud computing’s numerous rewards. However, just like any other technology investments there are also concerns over the potential risks of implementing cloud-based technologies. Such concerns and the paucity of scholarly literature focusing on cloud computing from a governmental context confirm the need for exploratory research and to draw lessons for government authorities and others in order to ensure a reduction in costly mistakes. This paper therefore investigates the implementation of cloud computing in both a practical setting and from an organisational user perspective via three UK local government authorities. Through the qualitative case study enquiries, the authors are able to extrapolate perceived rewards and risks factors which are mapped against the literature so that emergent factors can be identified. All three cloud deployments resulted in varying outcomes which included key rewards such as improved information management, flexibility of work practices and also posed risks such as loss of control and lack of data ownership to the organisations. These findings derived from the aggregated organisational user perspectives will be of benefit to both academics and practitioners engaged in cloud computing research and its strategic implementation in the public sector.
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