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Cloud technology: A mandate for local government

01/12/16

When the bottom line is all-important, cloud technology can help local government with everything from disaster recovery to shared services

Local government needs to meet local needs. Government leaders are now expected to find ways to adopt technological innovations to increase citizen and business satisfaction against a backdrop of reducing costs, deficits and debt.

Protecting critical IT systems within local government is paramount. With emergency services such as police, healthcare or fire and rescue, plus payment-based systems, such as council tax, childcare or benefits, it is key that local government organisations are prepared and protected against IT outages of any kind.

In an incident at Lincolnshire County Council last year, their systems were compromised as a result of a ransomware infection, leading to multiple sections of the site being shut down for a week. Staff resorted to proceeding workflow using only pen and paper. Citizens were unable to access the service, resulting in the hindering of business processes and a profusion of negative attention.

Local government has a duty to its citizens to ensure that their disaster recovery plans are implemented, up to date, tested and verified. The impact of not being able to recover systems successfully and quickly from a disaster can be catastrophic. Local government organisations need the ability to orchestrate and automate disaster recovery failover, testing the failover frequently. Without this capability, a business is at risk.

With Zerto’s solutions for replication, disaster recovery, data protection, failover testing, and data migrations, local government organisations can be fully protected.

No need for expensive, space-consuming hardware

One of the key benefits to IT management is how vendor lock-in is removed at the storage layer by moving replication up the stack to the hypervisor. IT leaders will no longer need the same storage vendor with costly licensing in order to replicate data, as Zerto not only replicates data from any storage to another, but provides the mechanism to move applications and data as a whole via its unique consistency group functionality. Cost cutting is key, but by removing the technology barriers to embracing the cloud organisations can simplify processes, minimise risk and enable business agility.

Optimising procurement and financial processes

Procurement performance and financial targets will be enhanced and streamlined. In OPEX-structured departments, IT pays only for the hardware capacity that they use. Costs are reduced, data can be accessed quickly and opportunities for shared platforms can be gained. The public sector will acquire the ability to purchase independently through a common procurement vehicle, a cloud environment that will optimise and shape the government’s new “pay-as-you-go” financial processes.

Transformation and change management

The UK public sector is undergoing dramatic digital change, moving away from legacy applications. These outdated systems have exposed many government departments to risks as they fail to achieve the Government’s vision for public sector digital transformation.

As the public sector transforms, citizen services improve and efficiency savings can be experienced. Many organisations are now choosing the power of cloud models, favouring flexibility and mobility. With new and innovative technologies, organisations can achieve responsiveness and agility to specifically meet business and citizen needs.

As the government drives the adoption of cloud technology through the G-Cloud framework and its cloud-first strategy, organisations must undergo significant transformation in ICT and business operations.

Common resources: Shared services and delivery

In order to deliver effective services to a wide and varied customer base, the sharing of information is the way forward. The advantages of collaboration through shared services are compelling as they span the whole public sector, saving money, boosting productivity and enhancing efficiencies.

Risk management: A choice of clouds

Security and risk remain a chief concern for the public sector when considering cloud technologies. Placing sensitive data in cloud environments has highlighted challenges for various organisations. There are three types of cloud implementations, with varying degrees of risk and flexibility:

  • Private cloud offerings are under complete control of the enterprise. All functions, including business continuity and disaster recovery, are managed by an internal IT team. Organisations create internal ‘clouds’ by utilising shared IT environments and resources between teams and departments.
  • Public cloud utilises a cloud service provider’s hardware and datacentre to reduce IT cost and simplify service delivery. These include providers such as Amazon and Google, also offerings from cloud service providers who create individualised ‘Managed Clouds’ for customers with specific needs for greater management and control.
  • Hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud elements, utilised by organisations that do want to retain some degree of management over their datacentre, but also have the need to send some functions and applications to a public or managed cloud.

The utilisation of cloud environments is a necessity for optimising a multitude of business operations and nurturing innovation. Widespread cloud adoption could significantly reduce the estimated £16 billion spent by the public sector on IT every year. It also has the capability to enable vast savings across government departments, agencies and councils. The government’s Digital by Default Agenda puts ICT at the centre of public services and the implementation of cloud computing is central to meeting these challenges.

The Cabinet Office has stated that “public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first – before they consider any other option”, making the cloud-first policy a mandate for central government departments and “strongly recommended” for other public sector organisations.

High levels of security can be achieved at all levels with Zerto’s solution, providing complete peace of mind for leadership and risk professionals in the public sector.

Zerto seamlessly installs into an organisation’s existing infrastructure with no need for configuration changes. This means that the public sector’s carefully architected applications will not need to be changed. By unifying the disparate technologies used across the public sector, Zerto’s Cloud Continuity Platform provides a simple and flexible stepping-stone to the cloud and shared services provision.

 

Zerto

www.zerto.com

Please note: this is a commercial profile

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