back to article A quarter of public sector IT workers have never used the cloud

Almost a quarter of UK public sector IT workers are convinced they’ve never actually used the cloud, leaving a big fluffy question mark over Whitehall’s efforts to drag its technology estate into the 21st century. Research, conducted for collaboration software specialist Huddle, also showed that workers in central and local …

  1. Kraggy

    Will someone please tell me just what the hell "using the cloud" actually MEANS?

    1. ukgnome

      Born from an egg on a mountain top,

      Funkiest Monkey that ever popped,

      He knew every magic trick under the sun,

      Tease the Gods and everyone can have some fun.

      Monkey magic, Monkey magic,

      Monkey magic, Monkey magic,

      Monkey magic, Monkey magic ooh!

    2. Ragarath

      Shh dont't tell them I said this...

      Will someone please tell me just what the hell "using the cloud" actually MEANS?

      It means, a cluster server with clients, you know exactly the same as we've been using for years. But remember, don't say I told you this or they will come out of the word-work explaining the small insignificant ways it differs and eat you for their lunch...

      ... or something like that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shh dont't tell them I said this...

        The same ? Really ? we've been working and saving all of our private Data on Clouds that long ?

        Please, give them a proper explanation, not just the Hardware setup.

        The Cloud is you third partying your Data storage and/or apps and chancing that their security or ethics won't do you in. It seemed to work great for Celebrity pics not long ago, it will do the same for everyone else soon enough once they start extorting you.

    3. Chairo

      Will someone please tell me just what the hell "using the cloud" actually MEANS?

      I guess that sentence was written in the comments field of 80% of all returned questionnaires...

    4. Alister Silver badge

      Will someone please tell me just what the hell "using the cloud" actually MEANS?


      If I use GMail, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, am I "using the cloud"?

      If I occasionally use Dropbox to share a document, is that "using the cloud"?

      If I've got a load of virtual servers in a hosted environment in a Datacentre, am I "using the cloud"?

      If my company uses Office365, or hosts servers in Azure or AWS, then that's pretty obviously "using the cloud" isn't it?

      Trouble is, "The Cloud" is just a marketing term for "using someone else's servers", which is something an awful lot of people have been doing for years.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        I would reply yet to all except which just hosting your servers in a known environment.

        "virtual servers in a hosted environment in a Datacentre"

        Whereas with all the others you have no idea at all which servers you are using, not where it is, nor who governs it...

        The Cloud, in my book, is a complete abstraction of hardware and services within a dynamic and ephemeral infrastructure ( a cloudy place if ever I heard of one) over which you have absolutely no control nor knowledge nor need any.

        The old mainframes were constant environments and you would know if they were down, whereas now the new "cloudy" servers might and can be constantly changing without you ever being aware. It's a self healing, replicating, evolving environment..


      2. GX5000

        We've just starting to work on the Cloud and save precious private Data there as well (sensitive materials). Oh yes, we were doing it before too but we ran it, owned

    5. Rol Silver badge

      Using the cloud is a reference to the technique of knitting fog.

      It was developed many years ago by a highly prestigious company, but only available in blue.

      These days it is available in many colours, but the mythology that someone can do it quicker and cheaper than you remains.

      Some say "Total bollocks", however those less informed think it's "The top bollocks" perhaps they're dyslexic, perhaps they're marketing spin doctors, who knows?

      Whatever you do though, do not Google an answer, as the cloud has a fascinating self preservation algorithm that will obfuscate the simplest of answers.

      Hope this helps..

      Wibble wibble.

      Terry Fuckwit

    6. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Resisting the temptation to regurgitate my previous witterings on this, I'll be succinct.

      It's a expression used by wankers.*

      * Unless you are questioning the use of the expression, commenting sarcastically etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Using the cloud simply means storing/processing/routing your information through someone else's computer.

    7. jonathanb Silver badge

      It means the same as using the internet, or, in the case of a "private cloud", using the local area network, or "personal cloud" - using things over bluetooth.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our security and IT policies prevent the use of:

    Cloudy storage or collaboration tools

    USB sticks or other memory formats (or have they left the SD card slots open? ... hmm, must try that)

    CD or DVD drives

    FTP or SFTP

    Email attachments larger than 10mb

    We are still allowed to use screens, keyboards and mice - probably an oversight

  3. hatti


    Probably need to spend a few million consulting on what sort of cloud first, cumulonimbus or stratos and which one is best at storing stuff

    1. Esme

      Re: Consultation

      Not Cumulonimbus, has security issues, too leaky.

  4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    What about the rest?

    I'm astonished at the implication that three-quarters of public sector IT workers have "used the cloud". I've worked in a lots of private-sector IT departments, and I'm not aware that anybody "used the cloud".

    But the article says that public-sector IT workers send things by post or courier instead of "using the cloud", so it sounds like it's just a silly name for email and ftp. If so, I can proudly claim to have been "using the cloud" for at least 20 years.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: What about the rest?

      Hotmail is definitely a cloud service, and that has been around for 19 years.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC as I work in support for a public sector body. They had a server in a data centre in the same city but recently moved it back into their building. Even the grooviest of managers jumps up and down on the fingers of anyone who even mentions the cloud. Data security is paramount and they don't want someone else getting sloppy and the data being released. Snowden and everything else since hasn't helped.

    1. K

      Good! Maybe there is hope after all..

  6. Will 20

    What's wrong with getting the Government Communications Headquarters to set-up a little private 'cloud' set up for UK government to put things that need to be shared, yet have some degree of security?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well OPM did that and look how that turned out. And the US had their own private super-cloud...almost a private internet. That's where all the Snowden and Bradley Manning stuff came from.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've worked near the Public Sector

    I won't say "with", though we were on the same project.

    "Almost a quarter of UK public sector IT workers" may be unsure whether they've used a computer.

  8. Bob Dole (tm)

    lol wut?

    *"However, it has to be a concern that another 24 per cent of government ICT staff were sure they’d “never even used” the cloud."*

    Why does that need to be a concern? Why should a non-IT worker (government or not) care one bit about the mechanics of *how* information is moved around or where it's even stored?

    IT loves to come up with new names every few years to rebrand existing services and/or concepts. If you've ever used an internet browser, then you've "used the cloud". If you've sent an email or text, you've "used the cloud." So what? If you are Cloud Knowledgeable (tm) does that make you more attractive?

    What does matter is whether the tech exists to make your life easier or more secure. If they'd rather put documents on a thumb drive and courier them to another location then that should be the Giant Clue Bat that the software they have available is at least one of the following: Unreliable, Too Restrictive, Non-User Friendly, Too Damn Slow. Which, quite frankly, describes a horrifyingly large portion of the business software I've seen.

    So, instead of performing studies to see how many people are Cloud Aware, maybe they should perform a study to see how many people actually have the tools necessary to complete their job without resorting to the tried and true Sneaker Net. But that might actually be useful so it's unlikely to ever occur.

    1. chris 17 Silver badge

      Re: lol wut?

      Pssst, using the Internet, web browser or email does not mean you've used "the cloud".

      The cloud is a resilient service hosted typically in 2 or more geographically spaced resilient data centres that you have no control over. Simply hosting stuff in a nominated data centre does not make it in the cloud. Having a service on the net available, regardless of the state of an individual data centre that may process that service, makes it in the cloud.

      1. Bob Dole (tm)

        Re: lol wut?

        >>The cloud is a resilient service hosted typically in 2 or more geographically spaced resilient data centres that you have no control over.

        Psst: You might want to check your dictionaries.

        I could pull up more references but hopefully you get the point. "Using the cloud" just means that you've opened a browser and pulled up google, or the register. The term "the cloud" is basically used to define any service delivered over the internet.

        But that gets away from my original statement. Which is that it doesn't matter if they know what the cloud is or even how their services are delivered. What matters is whether those services are fit for purpose and whether they are the rights ones to get the job done.

  9. Gwaptiva

    The Cloud = The Ultimate in Vaporware

    Thank FSM, the company I work for has been hosting our business application for some customers for 10+ years but we still call it Hosted Service. We occasionally joke that we should call it Cloud Edition, but we're afraid our customers will think our servers are hosted by the NSA

  10. Vinyl-Junkie

    This is as much about terminology as anything else...

    My mother (in her 80s) is convinced she hasn't "used the cloud"; yet she has a OneDrive account , a Flickr account (and uses both of them) not to mention all the things she takes for granted like the Apple Store, cloud based email, Amazon Prime etc. Many of my contemporaries (in their 50s) who do not work in IT are unaware that such services are "using the cloud".

    I suspect if the question had been phrased differently the response might have been somewhat different.

    And that's not even taking into account private/hybrid clouds that many end users may not even be aware they are using; to them it's just the new system. So meaningless question, meaningless answer...

    1. et tu, brute?

      meaningless question, meaningless answer...

      Actually, meaningless buzz word at the heart of the question!

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