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Helping the public sector move to the cloud on their digital transformation journey

Are you looking to move to the cloud? Our category experts are here to help you start your journey.

Start your journey to the cloud

The cloud market is flooded with options that disrupt the ways in which IT departments provision, manage and orchestrate resources. It is no longer a question of ‘if’, but instead ‘when’ for organisations that are yet to begin their digital journey into the cloud. 

One of the main considerations is cloud migration vs adoption. Migration helps improve resilience and bring costs down in the short term, but may not reduce technical debt. Cloud adoption is a longer term strategy which increases value and organisation improvements which will leverage greater benefits over the whole technology lifecycle. Adoption therefore requires more time and a strategic vision and plan.

Benefits of moving to the cloud

An obvious benefit of moving to the cloud includes the reduction of maintenance costs that rely on antiquated infrastructure and legacy servers, storage and compute. Cloud service providers can alternatively offer rapid scalability with the flexibility to increase or decrease consumption as business needs change. This flexibility reduces waste by minimising the overprovisioning of unrequired services. It also empowers organisations to adopt an agile model where, when used correctly, they only need to pay for what is used.

How does moving to the cloud work

An organisation starts by defining their business applications, services and operational requirements currently provided. These can be defined as workloads which provide services or a specific business application. Each workload is then individually considered for migration to a cloud environment. For some workloads, a move into the cloud is straightforward, but each case will require consideration of the technical architecture: compute, storage, operating system, network, access, security. Assuming the technical architecture presents no issues the workload becomes an opportunity for cloud migration.

However, there are examples where this is not straightforward. These include critical data and applications running on mainframes that are required to interact with hardware chips or proprietary hardware systems that only few staff members access. Another example is large relational database systems which experience latency and other performance issues. Throwing these examples into the mix, along with an unstable internet connection and the absence of a well-defined cloud strategy can be problematic for an under-resourced and budget scarce public sector organisation. 

Challenges of moving to the cloud

Moving to the cloud can be challenging for organisations faced with competing demands. Selecting the right solution for evolving business requirements and effecting the change takes time. For some organisations, the digital transformation journey may take longer than others, with a phased approach being adopted for certain workloads whilst some legacy remains. This can be described as a hybrid environment which can add significant cost and risk, specifically maintaining operational continuity, security, data integrity, processes, and standards. Legacy workloads may then benefit from migration to a managed facility, such as Crown Hosting, as this will offer a higher level of resilience, security and carbon reduction benefits. Skills retention and knowledge management in a hybrid environment becomes a critical operational issue that an organisation will need to carefully manage, as any loss of people may result in additional risk to an organisation’s objectives. 

How to adopt cloud first policy for improved security

Many organisations are adopting the government’s Cloud First Policy to obtain an improved security posture for their technology estate. Moving to the cloud increases the level of automated security. This can reduce the time-intensive patch work needed to stay secure and minimise data security risks as a result of standardised security features. Therefore, it is important for organisations moving to the cloud to understand their security obligations, especially where a shared responsibility model applies. In a typical shared responsibility model, cloud service providers are responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs all of their services. 

Customers are responsible for securing the data they put in the cloud. Sensitive data is most at risk while being transferred from a legacy environment into the cloud, so it is important for buyers to build these considerations into their procurement strategy. When performing migrations you need to consider including an approach around service onboarding and the implementation of a disaster recovery strategy once the new service is in place. Just as critical as onboarding considerations, offboarding plans and costs for the end of a service requirement should be embedded into the procurement strategy and budgeting, with the security risks considered and mitigated or minimised. As well as meeting the government’s expectations for services to be “Secure by Design”, the requirement for additional security services or tooling early in the procurement process may for example, minimise the risk of unforeseen costs once the service is in place and will enable organisations to develop realistic budgetary requirements.

Monitoring cloud performance and cost efficiency

Once an organisation has workloads or applications in the cloud, the ability to effectively monitor cloud performance and cost efficiency is paramount. This critical capability helps determine whether the cloud services that have been adopted provide best overall business value. 

Without appropriate financial guardrails in place, avoidable costs can quickly spiral. Cloud financial operations (FinOps) helps provide financial accountability and visibility by giving organisations the ability to manage usage more effectively. The upfront costs of tooling, developing skills and upgrading the organisational culture required to achieve these efficiencies may help to ensure the transformational journey to cloud is worthwhile and will reduce the risk of avoidable cost spikes over the longer term. However, this is difficult to achieve without the right cultural environment for change, upskilling, and enhancing capability through training. For some organisations, it makes more sense to acquire a service provider that has these capabilities whilst they commit to investing time in developing in-house upskilling and effecting cultural change. 

How CCS can help

CCS has a wide portfolio of commercial routes to market for your cloud and hosting requirements. These include framework agreements such as Cloud ComputeG CloudTechnology ServicesBig Data and Analytics, and Back Office Software. Through these agreements we can help you purchase relevant solutions for your needs from the leading suppliers of cloud and hosted services. Additionally, our centrally agreed Memorandums of Understanding with strategic suppliers to the government can help you achieve further commercial benefits, as well as supporting important government policies. 

The overall strategy for cloud in government is, and should remain, “Cloud First”, however, in a hybrid environment, use of on-premise, private, and other “platform as a service”, and “infrastructure as a service” allows continuation of legacy systems and use of Crown Hosting facilities providing significant commercial, environmental, and security benefits.

Our dedicated commercial specialists have deep category knowledge and can help you to understand your organisation’s requirements, and provide appropriate buyer guidance to support your digital transformation journey. 

Let us bring power to your procurement

To find out more about how we can help you start or move forward on your journey to cloud, get in touch:

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