New Report Finds Irish Public Sector is Missing Out on Significant Cybersecurity, Sustainability, and Economic Benefits

A new report from Technology Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the technology sector in Ireland, has said that a 10% increase in cloud adoption by the Irish public sector could produce economic benefits of €473 million annually. The report also finds that through greater cloud usage, the public sector would reduce its ICT energy usage by 80%.

The Sky is The Limit report produced by the leading international consultancy Frontier Economics, assesses the benefits of increased cloud computing use by the Irish public sector. The report also identifies institutional and policy hurdles currently preventing Irish public sector bodies from availing of the technology.

The key findings include:

—  An increase of 10% in cloud adoption by the Irish public sector could produce economic benefits of €473 million annually.
—  Cloud use would significantly strengthen public sector cybersecurity defences (the HSE’s cloud-based systems were those least affected by the 2021 cyberattack).
—  The public sector would reduce its ICT energy usage by 80%, decrease emissions and enhance sustainability through greater cloud usage.
—  Public services would be improved by widespread public sector cloud adoption.
—  The Irish private sector is seen as twice as likely than its public sector counterpart to avail of the cloud.
—  Countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Greece and Poland are ahead of Ireland in terms of their approach to public sector cloud use.
—  Antiquated procurement systems are preventing the Irish public sector from moving to the cloud.

Speaking on the publication of the report, Technology Ireland Director Una Fitzpatrick said: “Much has been written and said about the undisputed power of the cloud to drive business and enterprise growth. But its capacity to transform public services and deliver major benefits for Irish public sector bodies and people in Ireland has largely been overlooked. That is why this report is so valuable – it highlights clearly what the consequences of the Irish public sector’s low uptake of the technology.

“Moving to the cloud, as Frontier Economics’ research demonstrates, would have deep cybersecurity, sustainability, and economic advantages, as well as improving the fundamental quality of public services. It should therefore be a no-brainer for Government.”

The report makes several recommendations that, if implemented, could accelerate cloud adoption by the Irish public sector. These include:

—  The development of an effective and fit-for-purpose procurement framework that would enable Irish public sector bodies to properly access cloud services and the benefits they provide.
—  The adoption of a clear top-down cloud-first policy that would help drive cloud usage across the public sector ecosystem.
—  Advance planning by public sector bodies to enable the most seamless transition possible to the cloud.
—  The active involvement of senior decision-makers in the Irish public sector with respect to the cloud strategies of respective public sector entities.

Fitzpatrick continued: “Ireland is already home to all of the world’s leading cloud computing firms, who have invested massively here in terms of both infrastructure and people-power. Despite this cutting-edge technology on our doorstep, the public sector has been slow to harness it. As the report shows, there is now an opportunity to right that wrong and reap the benefits of digitalisation, in the same way, the private sector in Ireland and the public sectors in countries with whom Ireland often benchmarks itself against, including the UK, Canada, and Australia.”

Fitzpatrick added: “Frontier Economics have drilled down into the root causes preventing the Irish public sector from availing of the technology. Antiquated procurement processes are identified as one of the chief problems. That is eminently solvable, as are all of the other obstacles. What’s more, the recommendations set out in the text now provide a clear roadmap for the public sector that can help them to overcome those hurdles and unlock the benefits of the cloud for people in Ireland.”

Federico Cilauro of Frontier Economics, said: “The evidence of the benefits that would be produced by greater public sector cloud usage in Ireland is strong. Our analysis of other jurisdictions shows that cloud adoption by public bodies delivers a myriad of advantages for end-users. There are especially strong cybersecurity and sustainability benefits to be achieved through heightened Irish public sector cloud use.

As our research determines, however, a series of barriers are currently preventing the Irish public sector from making use of the technology. We have therefore developed recommendations – based on the Irish context but drawing from international precedent and experience – that could remove those same barriers and enable its public sector to transition more rapidly to the cloud.”

The full report is available to view here.