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Cloud awareness lags in MEA public sector

Government organisations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region have yet to gain a nuanced understanding of cloud computing, and currently demonstrate a relatively low inclination to adopt the technology until they develop greater confidence in it, according to the latest research findings from IDC Government Insights.

A recent survey by international marketing research company IDC revealed that over half of senior government IT decision makers across the MEA region are now familiar or fairly familiar with various cloud technology terms, while fewer than 20% feel they have a strong understanding of cloud computing terminology.

At present, 60% have no interest in deploying any sort of cloud-computing environment within their organizations, highlighting the scale of the mountain that cloud vendors must climb in order to achieve more widespread adoption within the region.

Insights into the attitudes of these decision makers towards cloud computing technology reveal that the vast majority (85%) believe that cloud computing remains an immature/developing technology, in spite of acknowledging that it has the ability to offer significant and tangible benefits (74%). And while the majority believe that cloud computing has clear benefits, there are still widespread concerns regarding cost and bandwidth (72%) and its inherent security risks (68%).

"MEA public sector agencies still need to further explore and gather distinctive proficiency in order to define their business requirements and build a cloud services model that is specifically suited to their operations," says Mukesh Chulani, IDC Government Insights' research manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

 "Security concerns constitute the greatest deterrent to cloud adoption at present. As government organizations are the key custodians of citizens' information, use of the cloud could expose them to significant risk, with potentially grave liability consequences. This is a risk factor that is greatly hampering adoption in the region."

While security is the number one government concern with regard to cloud adoption, the IDC Government Insights' survey found that a general lack of understanding of the technology, a perception that cloud is unsuited to the government sector, and uncertainty regarding specific cloud providers in the market are further inhibitors to adoption in the region. Additional concerns related to issues such as cost and bandwidth, IT governance, and the ability to integrate cloud with existing systems.

Chulani urges vendors to set about overcoming such concerns by educating internal stakeholders with regard to cloud computing.

"Government organizations in the Middle East and Africa region are simply unaware of how to best take advantage of the cloud delivery model. The technology is disruptive, buyers are sceptical, and hype abounds," he says.

"IT decision makers must help bolster awareness within their organizations by providing educational tools, models, and success stories. An inventory of government organizations' current IT environments would also provide a good indication of whether existing systems contain sensitive or mission-critical data and which workloads are most suitable for migration to the cloud, thus providing an excellent base from which to plan for the cloud."

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