Simplifying complex public sector environments through cloud: A guide

Government and public sector organisations continue to seek ways to improve services and mitigate the risk of migrating mission-critical applications to the cloud. Already, many organisations, focused on improving the citizen experience, have set their sights on the cloud. Flexible, agile and affordable, managed cloud can accelerate the agency mission.  Still, CIOs are cautious about which applications to prioritise and what steps they must take to ensure the reality fulfils the promise.

In the US, since the White House released the Cloud First Policy in 2011, organisations are prioritising the evaluation of cloud computing before making any new investments in IT infrastructure or software. Likewise in the UK, the government set out its plan to adopt a 'Cloud First' policy for public sector IT back in 2013. As a result, worldwide organisations have cautiously deployed sub-sets of applications in the cloud, like email, and an increasing number of organisations have undertaken projects to develop cloud-native applications. Successful deployments and more cloud choices are increasing public sector confidence in cloud.

The benefits of cloud are real

Originating with the government, mission-critical is a term now used by all organisations to describe the crucial dependency of an organisation on an application and its relationship with the business of governing. Delivering mission-critical applications more efficiently saves taxpayers’ money, strengthens security and enables government and public sector organisations to do more with constrained budgets. Migrating legacy workloads and applications to the cloud frees up the budget to tackle transformative new projects and programmes.

The financial incentives for migrating traditional applications to the cloud are real. Analysts estimate that in 2018, 70% of the $95.7 billion U.S. federal IT budget will be spent on operating and maintaining existing IT investments and that percentage figure will be similar here in the UK.

Migration speedbump: Reliance on core enterprise applications

While modern web-scale applications were designed to run in the cloud, most organisations still rely on a broad mix of existing mission-critical applications, many of which were not intended to operate in a cloud computing environment and some that were not designed to scale up or down on demand. Further complicating migration planning, applications may require stringent security or compliance controls to ensure that regulatory guidelines are met.

While organisations are increasingly eager to move to the cloud, many soon realise that it takes considerable time and resources to plan, re-architect and manage the new solution. The majority of today’s mission-critical workloads do not fall into the category that makes it easy for public sector organisations to migrate and gain authority to operate (ATO) quickly and cost-effectively. Most public cloud offerings do not allow these organisations to realise true IT transformation since the self-service nature of public cloud still requires organisations to perform most of the management activities themselves in order to support the workload and the end-user base.

Cloud – the public face of transformation

Public sector organisations need a better path to the cloud with secure and cost-effective managed cloud solutions that allow them to run the complex, mission-critical applications of today. Government and public sector organisations require a cloud that was built to handle mission-critical applications for the most complex, highly secure IT landscapes in the world.

Accelerate time to value

While public sector IT budgets remain stagnant or even decrease, expectations for new technology are continually rising. Public sector and government organisations need to increase the performance and reliability while simultaneously managing and containing costs from their most expensive and time-consuming mission-critical applications. Organisations must be able to step into the cloud today by deploying existing applications with minimal changes and gain ATO sooner, versus taking a giant leap to re-architecting every application from scratch to be cloud-native.

Security and compliance

Different applications have different use case characteristics and they have specific requirements which address these to enable them to migrate their mission-critical applications. This includes understanding stringent security and compliance requirements. They also require an approach to cloud which ensures continuity of operation and shortens time to value without compromising essential aspects like security and compliance.

Manage costs

Organisations need to maximise operational efficiency while increasing cost transparency and gaining the ability to allocate cost to specific programmes, allowing them to achieve improved financial flexibility to choose the right services and resources for the right workload. A true consumption-based pricing model allows government IT departments to only pay for what they use—improving economics beyond basic virtualisation, and freeing up budgetary funding to be allocated to other areas.

Offload management burden

Cloud platform infrastructure is only part of the mission-critical workload story. Organisations can experience true IT transformation through comprehensive IT management solutions that raise the bar on current operations and ensure that the most value and performance is gained from information infrastructures. Industry-leading methods and innovative tools now exist, providing real-time metrics to detect, diagnose, repair, and report on issues in the most complex business IT environments.

Focus on the mission

Government agencies can now effectively navigate the complexities of digital transformation and modernisation. Here at Virtustream our Federal Cloud capabilities allow public sector and government organisations to deliver mission-critical applications more efficiently, strengthen security while simultaneously enabling them to tackle transformative new projects and programmes. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.