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The Cloud Journey in Today's State, Local Government and Education Organization

Posted On: December 13, 2016

Topic: Cloud & Hosting Solutions

iStock-524908206.jpgState and local agencies as well as education institutions are buried by regulations and are pressed by tight budgets. Police, fire and state colleges can also be very limited by existing legacy systems, making change difficult. The cloud offers these organizations a way to reduce costs, meet regulatory requirements and upgrade to modern systems, but many are unsure of how to best begin the transition to the cloud.

To begin answering their questions, an examination of primary cloud drivers can be critical to the decision process. According to 300 Federal, state, local, and education (SLED) cloud adopters surveyed by MeriTalk for its report, Destination Cloud: The Federal and SLED Cloud Journey, 82% of government agencies and higher education institutions say they will increase spending on cloud computing in 2017.

According to the report, cloud adopters see improvements in productivity, customer service and cost savings by moving applications to the cloud, and 65% of Federal , 56% of state and local, and 63% of higher education respondents say that when considering new investments, they now first look to cloud options first.

 

Public vs Private Cloud

When debating private cloud vs. public cloud, cloud adopters surveyed agree that the decision to use a public or private cloud heavily depends on the primary function of the application. A private cloud is heavily favored for applications that handle sensitive information, are specialized and used by a limited audience, and applications that are continually evolving. While 53% of the respondents cite costs savings as a draw of the public cloud, 61% are concerned with privacy and security.

 

Migration Strategy

When SLED agencies/institutions are ready to head to the cloud and preparing for migration to the cloud, they report taking the following steps:

  • 57% identify and mitigate risks
  • 56% develop a migration strategy
  • 52% prioritize applications for migration

But less than half take the following steps that are just as critical for success:

  • 47% assess the required computing, network and/or storage needs
  • 46% develop a cost model
  • 45% prepare the workforce for the transition

Migration to the cloud needs to be planned out in phases, as not all applications will be ready at once. Cloud adopters in the survey reported that email, web hosting, backup and collaboration applications needed modernization before migration could take place.

 

Selecting a Provider

The report states that when partnering with cloud service providers, agencies/institutions should take care to build trust and monitor performance along the way.   

They recommend the following steps to build trust with cloud providers:

  1. Require certification of security measures taken by cloud vendor(s)
  2. Build detailed security planning into the outsourcing contract
  3. Keep security functions on-premises and in-house (including managing access controls and all monitoring functions)
  4. Require that data is located on dedicated (non-pooled) server, storage and network infrastructure
  5. Require full access to the cloud provider to conduct security and procedural audits

 

Recommendations

The cloud opens up a world of cost-savings and flexibility to scores of industries looking to save money and stay current with IT trends. The top takeaways from MeriTalk report are:

  • Plan for the journey by assessing cloud goals, identifying the most critical cloud-ready apps and developing cost models.
  • Establish your path by which the cloud makes the most sense for your applications —public, private or a hybrid
  • Prepare your workforce for the transition, and establish trust with your cloud provider.

 

OneNeck IT Solutions has expertise leveraging a broad range of technologies and services that will help you operate more efficiently. We provide an end-to-end, technology-independent approach that includes a complete suite of hybrid IT offerings across infrastructure, applications and managed services. This approach enables SLED entities to realize benefits, not only internally but externally as well, leading to happier, more productive end users.