Cheaper, and better
For fiscally minded government agencies, this can be a game-changer, but this is not the only advantage of the cloud. In addition, the cloud offers a far more reliable and secure environment than legacy on-premises data centers. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the fact is that the cloud offers a wealth of backup and recovery options to ensure continuity in the event of a system failure, while at the same time employing the latest advanced, even intelligent, security solutions. Most data centers are costly support facilities for the delivery of mission-critical services, which means hardware and/or software upgrades are intermittent at best. For a cloud provider, however, failure to continually deploy state-of-the-art technology puts them at a competitive disadvantage by weakening their core business model.
This same competitive drive is also leading providers to expand beyond bulk storage and generic compute services to offer highly customized environments for numerous industry verticals, including government. Canadian entities now have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to ensuring crucial factors like data protection, governance, analytics, and residency.
The cloud also offers what are known as managed solutions. Rather than simply migrating data and resources to a third-party, agencies can outsource the management and optimization of the entire environment to their provider. This is an extremely effective way to implement a hybrid cloud made up of virtualized resources both locally and at the provider’s location. With a managed solution, government agencies no longer have to worry about provisioning servers or storage, mapping connectivity, creating virtual machines or the myriad other tasks of modern IT management. With the proper usage and governance policies in place, a worker who needs resources to run a process can have them, instantly and without a lot of bureaucratic complexity.
While setting up a basic cloud environment is relatively straight forward, establishing the proper controls for an active government agency requires a bit of care. In most cases, organizations should follow a four-step process:
- Evaluate the various options. No two offerings are alike, so agency heads should take care to ensure that the cloud they are considering is the cloud that is optimal for their business objectives. Some organizations need more storage capacity while others rely on faster networking, and even individual agencies will have a range of requirements to suit diverse workloads. And of course, location always matters for performance.
- Plan a migration strategy. This should begin with a thorough inventory of current workloads and initiatives, followed by detailed plans for each group within the agency. An experienced provider should be able to offer substantial guidance for this process; if not, it might be wise to consider another provider.
- Don’t forget security. Data in motion is often more vulnerable than data at rest, so take the time to ensure that security is maintained before, during and after the migration. As mentioned above, backup and recovery are more effective in the cloud, and costs are so low that many organizations are finding that multiple backup sites are preferable.
- Find an effective partner. Moving to the cloud is not a one-time event–it is the beginning of a new relationship. A cloud provider should be able to deliver continual support for virtually all aspects of the environment and should help guide you through any and all upgrades to ensure you are getting full value for the taxpayer.
For too long, government service has been beset by two key complaints: high costs and poor quality. With the cloud, agencies of all sizes and at all levels of government are finding that they can correct both problems at once.
Download our eBook for more information on how OnX Canada can help your agency’s transition to the cloud.