22 May 2019

Cloud migration: Key considerations for local authorities

Cloud migration: Key considerations for local authorities  image

With the widespread adoption of mobile devices and flexible working practices, local authorities are increasingly turning to the cloud seeking greater IT agility, scalability and business continuity. Cloud migration - the process of moving data and applications from IT infrastructure on-site to the cloud - is a key priority for many organisations.

Yet, despite recognising the multiple benefits of cloud-based IT, adoption has been slower than anticipated since the launch of the Government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy in 2013. Many organisations in the public sector have been hesitant to make the leap, primarily because of privacy concerns, shrinking budgets and complex regulatory requirements. The process of migrating IT systems to the cloud - while simultaneously ensuring ‘business as usual’ for staff, members of the public and local service providers - is not without its challenges. A robust strategy will allow local authorities to best reap the rewards, while making the process as efficient and straight-forward as possible.

Strategy before action

Moving all your IT systems to the cloud may be appealing, but in practice, this is unrealistic. Not everything can or should be moved. Many applications and services are still not optimised for virtual environments, let alone the cloud. You will also need to consider the order of migration and impact on operations and staff. Considering your unique needs is critical to unlocking the benefits of the cloud without compromising security, daily activities, existing legacy systems or wasting budget.

Interim planning is critical

The long-term plan may be to move 80% of your applications and data storage to the cloud; however, in the short term, you will need to consider how you will maintain accessibility and security of existing data, hardware and applications during the migration. Third party suppliers can help maintain legacy systems and hardware during the transition to ease disruption and ensure continuity of services.

Careful disposal of legacy hardware

Cloud migration will inevitably involve the retirement of some hardware. It’s imperative to ensure any stored data is secured to avoid the risk of data breaches. Many organisations underestimate hard drive related security risks or assume incorrectly that routine software management methods provide adequate protection.

Integration between cloud and on-site technology Local authorities must develop ways to integrate premise-based hardware with cloud systems to ensure data and applications can work in tandem, with smooth data transmissions between various information sources. However, this can be incredibly difficult. Cloud computing depends on a significant amount of oversight to ensure vendors are meeting service level agreements, keep budgets under control and avoid cloud sprawl. This vital work requires a different skill set, so you will need to consider upskilling and retraining staff.

Streamlining ongoing hardware costs

Following cloud migration, as retained legacy IT systems age, dedicated hardware maintenance and operating system support strategies enable local authorities to reduce their costs compared to OEM extended warranties, while also accessing more flexible services. A third-party maintenance provider can provide required support for almost half the cost. Consequently, local authorities can free resources to support the systems that remaining in the on-site environment. Hardware maintenance plans provide a consistent source of fiscal and operational relief that makes it easier for local authorities to manage their data storage issues as they arise.

Short-term pain for long-term gain

Although any large-scale IT transformation will undoubtedly cause some disruption, for those local authorities looking to make the move, a sound migration strategy will be vital to success. While some organisations are understandably hesitant about the impact of cloud migration in terms of operational disruption and costs, it’s worth remembering that, in the long-term, moving to the cloud will allow local authorities to unlock the potential of a more flexible, scalable and resilient IT system so they can focus on delivering improved public services and increasing innovation.

Paul Mercina is director of product management at ParkPlace Technologies.

Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Placement Finding Team

Essex County Council
£28500.0 - £50400.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - Children and Young People Placement Service- Placement Finding Team Interviews to be held on the 10th September at County Hall, England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

People Information Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £33330 per annum
Please note this is a fixed term contract role for a duration of 12 months. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local au England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Key stage Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32430 - £34794
Key Stage Education Officer (Secondary Phase) to work with children in our care, supporting them in classrooms and in their homes with their education SE18 6HQ
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Solicitor/Barrister Advocate - Children’s x4

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band I, SCP 44 - 47 (£46,564 - £49,538 per annum) (£24.14 - 25.68 per hour)
To act as the principal advocate for all aspects of advocacy legal work relating to the children’s social care in the county court and high court. Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Business Support Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band C, SCP 5 - 8 (£18,795 - £19,945 per annum) pro rata (£9.74 - £10.34 per hour)
The successful candidate will provide administrative business support to service teams within Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing. The Lyng, Health & Social Care Centre, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich, B70 7AW
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine