While there are calls to embrace and adopt digital transformation in government institutions, this move still faces some challenges. Some of the opposition could be due to a fear of losing control of the data. However, cloud computing takes away this fear and has other benefits as well.
Cloud Computing Overview
Simply put, cloud computing delivers digital services over the internet. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) facilitate the delivery of these services through three models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). IaaS provides virtual storage while SaaS provides hosted applications and email software. On the other hand, PaaS offers database solutions and web hosting.
CSPs can deliver the above cloud computing models in four different ways. These are Private, Public, Community and Hybrid.
1. Private Cloud
The CSP provides services to one organization on this cloud service. It allows the consumer to build a custom platform that fits their needs and is only accessible to a specific group of consumers. An example is a materials management platform in an organization.
2. Public Cloud
As the name implies, this cloud service is available to everyone on a pay-as-you-go basis. Most online shopping platforms use this cloud.
As most government agencies want to embrace technology efficiency, they turn to cloud service providers for help. The CSPs provide a community cloud that is accessible within certain criteria. For example, tax filing sites and social security platforms.
4. Hybrid Cloud
In this last cloud module, CSP provides services by using two or all three clouds. For example, a CSP can offer private cloud services to a consumer via a secure public cloud.
All the above modules are available for the public sector in Australiaand you can use them according to your IT needs.
Challenges for governments in adopting cloud computing
Despite the opportunity to take advantage of cloud computing, most governments are still reluctant to adopt it completely. Below are some of the challenges behind their reluctance.
1. Data Sovereignty and Security
Every government must protect the privacy of its citizens. On the other hand, cloud services reside on a third-party server and may not have direct control. In addition, cloud services may be located in a different jurisdiction and may operate under the laws of another country. As such, this poses a challenge when a government tries to ensure the privacy of its citizens.
In addition, data storage is located in a different jurisdiction. Therefore, a government believes that this could pose a threat to its sovereignty. For example, can it lose data through access by foreign parties? Once CSPs can address this concern, governments can demand more cloud services.
This is the government’s ability to control access to its information. Because cloud services are accessible to other users, confidentiality can become an issue. In addition, it can be a concern, especially when cyber-attacks are always a threat.
For this reason, a government may prefer traditional technology where it can control all access and know the location of its data.
3. Legal Issues
When CSP offers cloud services, they can host the data in different locations. These locations may be under separate legal jurisdictions. As a result, a CSP may be required by law to provide information in one location of a user living in another location. As a result, a CSP may provide information without notifying the user.
Again, such a clash of laws makes governments reluctant to adopt cloud computing more quickly.
Of course, concerns can arise when sharing information that is sensitive and private. The CSPs can assure a government of privacy and security. Still, uncertainty can arise from a lack of full control over access and use.
Until governments build trust in CSP host services, the move to cloud computing could take a while.
5. Cost of migration
Moving from traditional technology to cloud computing can come with additional costs. For example, getting a suitable cloud model and expertise to make the switch can be expensive. There is also training of staff on the new technology.
Even if a government can afford to cover the costs, it can be challenging to implement. This may be due to a lack of commitment to justify the costs and reasons for the transition.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Government Customers
The cloud computing sector is becoming more competitive† Service providers thus improve the reliability, power and cost-effectiveness of the products they offer. Essentially, a government as a cloud service consumer (CSC) can reap the benefits of choosing cloud computing over traditional technology. Below are some of the benefits of cloud computing for government customers.
1. Data Backup and Security
Cloud computing provides remote data storage with multi-layered security protocols. Therefore, your data can be safe in the event of a cyber attack on your network. This is not the case with traditional technology, where a breach of your network can give access to sensitive information within the network.
In addition, your data is backed up off-premise to provide a restore point in case a cybersecurity breach destroys your own network.
It is important to note that information is extra protected because of the multi-layer protocols. These protocols can be two-factor authentication or biometric authentication. This means that you will only be able to access your platforms unless you share access codes.
2. Lower operating costs
The initial cost of transitioning from traditional technology to cloud computing can be challenging. However, once cloud computing is fully effective, you can reduce operating costs. For example, you can reduce the number of employees you need to monitor your network. Thus, this reduces recurring costs such as salaries and benefits in a public sector.
In addition, because you can get the service based on your current needs, you can match the operational costs to the service you need. Furthermore, you do not need to purchase any additional software or hardware to host the service you need. There are also no repairs and maintenance as the service provider hosts the applications.
3. Flexibility and scalability
Sometimes your service requirements may increase or decrease depending on several factors. As such, you may need to expand or reduce your software needs to meet these requirements. With cloud computing, governments can scale up or down the services according to their system requirements. likewise, cloud computing is flexible and can meet the IT needs of the government in different sectors.
You don’t need to be on site to access information with cloud computing. All you need is an internet connection and a device that can access the internet. Most service providers currently offer software applications that you can access on mobile phones. This means you can track progress, communicate and respond in real time wherever you are.
5. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
Your organization can deliver more when your customers and staff can access your platform from anywhere. With greater efficiency comes greater customer satisfaction and revenue.
As for the government, citizens can access its services from various locations at any time. This reduces the load on the physical offices; this allows staff to focus on improving productivity and efficiency. Ultimately, the delivery of government services to the public can be more effective.
While cloud computing is gaining popularity in the technology industry, governments may still be skeptical about its adoption. However, this reluctance to use cloud computing may diminish over time. This is because CSPs are always increasing the resources, security, reliability, and sophistication of the cloud services they provide.