Cloud momentum continues to accelerate all across industries, but the uptick in adoption by government agencies has been slow. Organisations that run their own IT have to deal with hardware, software, patches, data security, networking updates, disaster recovery and IT staffing which are all resource intensive. Cloud vendors like Microsoft efficiently and economically handle those activities.
There are a number of reasons why cloud is here to stay:
1. Reduces infrastructure costs and overall total cost of ownership
The cloud eliminates physical servers and storage space, real estate, power, and personnel to a large extent. While it may seem like the costs of an on-premise solution are lesser, most organisations forget that most of these costs are hidden and recurring. The subscription fees of a cloud solution might be high, but the ongoing costs are minimal thus providing long-term benefits to government agencies often riddled with low budgets and lack of resources. An average five-year on-premise licensing cost is 9% of the total cost while subscription costs for a cloud solution can be as high as 80%.
Instead of using all the space all the time, cloud solutions can scale during peak times and ramp down at other non-peak times due to low usage.
3. Business continuity and automatic updates
Microsoft Azure guarantees 99.9% uptime. Disaster recovery solutions are also available, thus making business continuity a no-problem area. Regular software updates are provided automatically thus eliminating precious time of government agency personnel.
Contrary to popular belief, cloud gives greater protection if implemented right. Even if personal machines get hacked, the data on the cloud is secure.
5. Increased collaboration
A cloud solution makes it possible to share documents amongst colleagues, thus making collaboration easier and increasing productivity.
Even with all these cloud advantages, public sector agencies have been slow to adopt cloud for many reasons. They have the challenge of trying to achieve all of the above advantages cloud provides while adhering to the highest level of security and compliance requirements.
Public sector entities exist under a microscope of expectations and demands. One eye faces towards connecting all the pieces within and across agencies most seamlessly, while the other looks towards future innovations, both in technology and the creation of ideas. To make both visions come together requires robust management tools that create a simplified IT experience. But that’s strictly at the IT level. At the resource level, these agencies need the agility to respond to almost any situation. At the economic level, they need to maximise their investments in ways that address constricted budgets. Finally, they need to evolve their security levels to minimise risk continually.
According to a recent survey by Penn Schoen Berland, 693 US Government customers were asked to rank their top 20 most important needs from a cloud services provider. In addition to security and privacy, compliance and data residency were in the top five most important needs.
So the question today is not whether the public sector should adopt cloud or not, but how fast and how far can the public sector go to the cloud? The benefits of cloud far outweigh the problems, and clear strategies can be set to overcome adoption inhibitors. Government agencies can rely on IT partners who have experience in multiple cloud migrations and trust them to help migrate to the cloud.
Why we recommend Microsoft Azure Government Cloud
Approximately 5.2 million people use Microsoft Cloud for Government, which includes Azure Government, Office 365 Government, and Dynamics CRM Online Government, according to Curt Kolcun, vice president of the US Sector for Microsoft.
In 2013, Sagitec made a business decision to expand its partnership with Microsoft by adopting the Azure Government Cloud platform for achieving optimal performance and value. Currently, we have an ‘Azure First’ approach to all new business proposals and encourage all potential clients to move from on-premise solutions toward a cloud infrastructure. This recommendation is based on industry trends, best practices, scalability, flexibility, and overall lower total cost of ownership.
For you, and other state and local government organisations, we strongly recommend the Azure Government Cloud as your best choice for adhering to foundational principles of security, privacy, control, compliance, and transparency. Microsoft Azure is a government-community cloud that extends world-class security and control for dedicated US public sector workloads and provides a full commitment to government compliance standards.
To understand why it is time for government agencies to move to cloud in detail, click here.
Ranjith Kotcherlakota is a senior partner at Sagitec Solutions.
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