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When Should Government Organizations Consider using the Public Cloud?

 

November 12, 2015

Government organizations are reluctant to use “public cloud” services. Adoption of the cloud by the public sector globally, in all forms, lags behind the private sector. And, it’s no wonder given concerns about security, privacy and sovereignty. Especially when spending public funds.

Yet, more and more organizations are adopting public cloud services whether Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).  Many governments are consolidating systems and data centres to create private clouds or “shared services”. Some are strategically combining public and private cloud offerings as “hybrid clouds.”

Public cloud investments continue to climb to half of the global software, server and storage spending. Government spending on public cloud services is growing at higher rates than internal spending. So, there must be some attractive opportunities for government organizations to leverage the public cloud as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.

  1. Public Cloud as Innovation: Government organizations can test software and process innovation inexpensively in the public cloud. For example, the use of big data analytics that requires significant storage can be tested on public cloud services before deploying on a private cloud.
  2. Public Cloud for Software Development: Many government organizations build custom software to support unique requirements, particularly in Public Financial Management (PFM). Why not test these applications on the public cloud in order to reduce capital costs? (This is particularly true of platforms like the FreeBalance Accountability Platform that enables deployment of custom applications on public and private clouds.
  3. Transparency Portals: Public information does not represent a security risk. The public cloud can scale up fiscal transparency information like budget, procurement and results portals improving citizen services.
  4. Public Cloud to Test GRP systems: Many governments are in the midst of PFM reform that cannot be supported by their current Government Resource Planning (GRP) systems. Government organizations can reduce the time of developing specifications for new systems by testing systems on the public cloud.
  5. Improved IT Spending: Public cloud services enables governments to reduce capital expenditures in favour of more predictable operating expenditures. Usage-based pricing enables governments to scale down. This can help government organizations to focus IT spending on what is important.

It should be noted that the public cloud has more “elasticity” than any shared service. It is far more scalable: up and down. And, more reliable and more secure. How can governments deal with the sovereignty issue where public cloud information is hosted in a foreign country?

Do not provide any internal or secret information on foreign-hosted sites and ensure that critical information is hosted in your country. If it is not realistic to have public cloud hosting in your country, opt for cloud services hosted in countries with strong privacy laws like Canada and countries in the European Union.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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