Digital transformation is among the UK government’s latest challenges
Citizens are demanding increased digital access to government information and services. However, government organisations are facing a roadblock of fear when it comes to implementing one of the primary technologies critical to digital transformation – the cloud.
The benefits of migrating data to the cloud include everything from cost-savings to improved productivity. The SolarWinds annual IT Trends Report found that 95 per cent of government IT professionals said their organisation has migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year. As many as 68 per cent of respondents said their organisations have received either most or all expected benefits – cost efficiency, availability or scalability – from cloud technologies.
Despite these benefits, a sense of trepidation still exists around cloud security.
Many government IT personnel get nervous at the thought of relinquishing control of important data to cloud service providers. In fact, the research found that security is one of the key reasons for organisations, including government, to move from the cloud back to on-premises data storage.
Ironically, deploying a cloud IT infrastructure can keep your data more secure, as on-premises data is often stored in legacy IT systems, even if such systems are out of date and represent potentially easy targets for attackers.
Check out these three reasons why moving data to the cloud can help manage the increasingly complex threat landscape:
1. MINIMISE ADMINISTRATIVE EFFORTS
IT professionals know well that traditional hardware can be high maintenance. In the SolarWinds Government Cybersecurity Survey, 48 per cent of respondents said that difficulty supporting their IT environments had resulted in increased security challenges. Cloud services, however, relieve this burden. In adopting cloud services, government IT professionals can focus their energy on other critical aspects in support of their organisation, whether it’s monitoring data and intelligence, strengthening security or innovating for the future.
2. AUTOMATIC SOFTWARE UPDATES
Out-of-date systems can create serious vulnerabilities for an organisation hoping to protect itself from increasingly sophisticated attackers. Manually buying and applying updates to ensure that everything is up to date can be expensive.
Cloud-based solutions offer automatic software updates, implementing the latest security patches and intelligent design. With rapidly delivered updates addressing immediate threats, agencies are in a better position than ever to repel harmful attacks.
3. SCALABLE CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURES AND INSTANTANEOUS DEPLOYMENT
Installing legacy technologies can take weeks, even months. Adding to the challenge, traditional systems are often inflexible and difficult to scale, and may leave a government organisation with no choice but to stick with the technology for an extended period, even if it ultimately doesn’t meet their needs.
Cloud services can be deployed immediately and are agile enough to scale up or down easily depending on an agency’s needs. The flexibility of cloud services better equips government organisations to handle the shifting sands of the threat landscape.
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
Once you decide to implement a cloud solution, evaluate cloud service providers and ensure their security models match the needs of your organisation. If you prefer to keep some data on-premises and some in the cloud, a hybrid IT may offer you the best of both worlds.
If you do opt for a hybrid approach, be sure to invest in the right tools. According to the SolarWinds IT Trends Report, the number-one challenge created by hybrid IT is lack of control and visibility into the performance of cloud-based applications.
Monitoring and reporting provide this control and visibility, and are vital to ensure you have optimal efficiency across your environment, regardless of its location. Real-time reporting provides insight into who is accessing networks and applications, which is key to safeguarding your agency from leaks.
As government agencies face increased pressure to move to a digital model, one of the first steps is to adopt a cloud infrastructure. As you can see, security is not a reason to abstain. Our advice? Adopt cloud, then start down the path towards digital innovation.
Read the full SolarWinds UK Public Sector IT Trends Report here