Many public sector bodies are experiencing the same common challenges; namely, budgets under pressure, a call to drive the digital transformation agenda. All this, while at the same time, keeping the lights on and being agile to embrace new opportunities and threats such as Brexit, the possibility of an early election, terrorism, climate change, the refugee crisis, etc. This is an overwhelming remit for any organisation.
Public, and subsequently hybrid cloud would appear to be the natural solution to address these issues. However, they don’t come without their difficulties; these can include security concerns, data sovereignty, and a lack of training and early engagement guidance on best practice.
Cloud has moved on a lot in the past few years; more specifically opinions have softened over time. The initial fears of losing control, of public cloud being a lesser service than the incumbent option. The truth is that many organisations and enterprises across the world today have adopted public cloud with great success, and not just for trivial non-production workloads but mission-critical services and solutions at global scale. Public cloud has been proven to inherently offer a more secure computing environment than many presently use, and at a fraction of the cost. Public cloud has reached a tipping point where as more organisations are adopting it, and proving that it is fit-for-purpose, meeting rigorous compliance standards (including ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC3, PCI DSS Level 1, Cyber Essentials Plus and many more) bring more to the platform which in turn drives greater peer adoption.
Public cloud is now considered the new norm, a default option for new computing needs. There have been large central government departments running official sensitive workloads in AWS data centres located in Ireland for years. The official stance from the Government Digital Service is now “It’s possible for public sector organisations to safely put highly personal and sensitive data into the public cloud.” The argument has now changed from 'why cloud?' to 'why not cloud'?
Data sovereignty is another potential blocker to moving public sector data and services to the cloud. Data sovereignty refers to data being held in a country in adherence to the laws of that state. In a Pre-Brexit era, with systems hosted in the European regions; using data centres located in Ireland and Amsterdam many are fearful of the future. However, in a post-Brexit era, the introduction of British-based data centres (with native Public Services Network (PSN) and N3 connectivity) which go a long way to eradicating this argument altogether. It also reduces latency and helps open the doors to new classes of organisation previously locked out of using the public cloud. These include the cash-strapped health care sector, with the stringent PID (Patient Identifiable Data) technical, information security management and information governance requirements, who are needy of the tangible operational savings public cloud can deliver to reinvest in frontline services to drive up service quality.
Indeed, the biggest driver for the rapid adoption of services in the AWS London region, especially when compared against similar recently launched European regions such as Frankfurt, is the Public Sector. This is evidence that there is not only a push to the public cloud but also a hint of the use beyond just virtual machines and storage in the cloud to more innovative and cost effective services.
Finally, there is a lack of training and early engagement guidance on best practice; organisations want to stay in control of their infrastructure and services, do not want to be reliant on third-parties to keep the lights on. Together with government procurement initiatives breaking down large contracts, this presents the opportunity of releasing from large legacy suppliers to more nimble players capable of truly helping deliver on these challenges using the public cloud.
Now is the age of the disruptor such as KCOM: inexpensive, agile, and capable. With our rich public sector and enterprise experience, we are poised to help public sector clients, wherever they may be on their journey to the cloud.