Many companies and organisations have been slow to embrace cloud computing due to uncertainty surrounding its security and financial costs. This can be problematic for any IT department, but it’s a particular challenge for those working within councils and other public sector departments to overcome. We’ve taken a look at some of the arguments IT professionals can present when attempting to encourage the adoption of cloud computing in their organisation.
The Challenges of the Cloud
There are many challenges that IT professionals might face when attempting to introduce buy-in for cloud investment. These include:
- Considering data security for both full cloud and hybrid strategies
- Ensuring a new cloud strategy will be scalable as the organisation grows and develops
- Considering how cost effective it is and will be, compared to traditional methods
- Ensuring it will meet the organisation’s operational goals
- Considering whether cloud can meet the organisation’s compliance mandates
One major factor that will encourage leaders to embrace the technology is the issue of security, which is becoming an increasing concern as more and more criminals turn to hacking as a means of harvesting data and exploiting organisations. While in some small businesses this may not be an imminent worry, for a council that’s storing virtually endless amounts of personal data on behalf of their constituents, security could not be more vital. Cloud investment can protect data from localised hacking, ensuring that sensitive information is not accessed by unauthorised parties.
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Of course, a sure-fire way to encourage cloud uptake is to demonstrate to your council why cloud services will be beneficial in both the short- and long-term. Thankfully, cloud investment can be regularly and easily adjusted to meet the needs of any organisation, so that both short-term and long-term growth or downsizing can be mirrored in the level of cloud services solicited.
According to Sanil Solanki, research director at computing firm Gartner, the financial benefits of cloud computing are a major point of confusion, both within and outside of council offices, resulting in many IT departments meeting opposition when attempting to introduce the technology.
Solanki added that IT professionals desperate to begin implementing the cloud should highlight the significant amounts of money that could be saved; a point that’s particularly relevant in the current economic climate as councils around the country are forced to cut budgets.
Another council requirement that could tip the scales in the direction of cloud computing is the need for a fast, reliable IT service that can be used to achieve the organisation’s goals. For example, an outdated IT system in a council is likely to have negative implications when it comes to upgrading procedures for communicating with the public. To stay ahead, councils need to consider the benefits of a regularly updated cloud system, which could be the key to smooth running, increased public engagement in the future and achieving goals.
Meeting Compliance Mandates
Compliance mandates continue to change and develop as businesses and government departments increasingly rely on computers and other forms of technology to run their operations. As the EU sets its sights on imposing yet another set of data protection regulations in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), councils should ensure they are prepared by updating the security of their data management systems. Thankfully, cloud systems are inherently safer than traditional systems, making it possible for organisations to meet their compliance mandates with less time, less effort and less expense.
The Benefits of the Cloud
We’ve already covered many of the benefits of the cloud above, but when approaching your council it’s important to use concise and clear arguments to ensure they understand how beneficial cloud investment could be. We’ve listed the main arguments below:
Increasing Return on Investment
Those higher up in your council will want to be convinced that the cloud can help them grow and develop as and when they need to. According to a survey conducted by Cloud Industry Forum, 55 percent of organisations feel they have received a greater return on investment (ROI) and a competitive advantage against their competitors by embracing cloud technology.
Reducing Demands on IT Departments
Many IT departments are overwhelmed by the number of people requiring help with data and hardware issues every day. However, by upgrading to cloud technology, IT experts can be freed up to focus on other aspects of the business while the cloud provider deals with any issues.
Flexible working is increasingly popular among businesses and organisations, with many employees now completing their work tasks using laptops and other mobile devices. By using cloud technology, organisations can ensure workers can access files and documents on any device without hassle or delay.
The Cloud in Action
In case these benefits aren’t quite enough to convince your council to embrace cloud technology, we wanted to include an example of the cloud in action. In particular, the story of how the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire recently managed to implement an extensive overhaul of its IT infrastructure.
As part of its overhaul, the organisation moved its back-end server estate to the cloud, brought disaster recovery in the house and introduced remote working technologies that improved service while reducing costs. These changes have not only reduced energy usage across the data centre, but the centralisation of storage has also reduced risk and helped the borough save £100,000 per year.
“Early last year we decided it was time to consider virtualisation to help achieve our objectives,” said Keith Clark, Head of ICT at the Royal Borough. “So far, we have reduced our energy consumption by 44%, with total project savings of around £1.2 million expected during a five-year period.”