The Right Cloud can make or break the public sector

By Ansuman Dhal, Director DevOps, Granicus India

The advantage of cloud-based technologies is being recognised by governments all around the world, especially considering the aftereffects of the epidemic. Recently, we read that Google Cloud can fully partner with India’s public sector organisations to become an active participant in India’s digital transformation initiatives. One of the biggest benefits of the cloud for public sector organisations is the ability to quickly spin up virtual machines to test and scale ideas, as opposed to having to wait around for extended requests for new hardware or provisioning from on-premises servers.

Cloud can make or break:
The management frequently resist implementing new technology, such as the cloud, in public sector organisations. This problem is often fuelled by a lack of awareness surrounding the ‘what’ and ‘how’ to adopt cloud technology, along with fears over how much the migration journey could cost. According to an IDC report, the public cloud services market in the Asia-Pacific region is likely to reach $165.2 Billion in 2026 with expectations that the APAC public cloud market with grow at higher year-over-year (YoY) rate at 31.4 per cent in 2022, as compared to 30 per cent in 2021, owing to the rapid acceleration of cloud migration.

During the pandemic, governments were able to handle the urgent difficulties like the shift to remote work or the enormous spikes in service demand, thanks to the flexibility and scalability of the cloud. Governments at all levels subsequently made large investments in the cloud, but they now must make challenging decisions regarding how to sustain, expand, and build upon these new cloud expenditures.

Some of the ways in which one can sustain this is:
– By choosing the best infrastructure for one’s business requirements that can help move workloads securely and confidently to the cloud.
– Creating services and solutions that cater to community requirements allowing citizens to access essential, up-to-date information and resources more quickly.
– By choosing a vendor that helps them get third party expertise to help them with disaster recovery.
– By choosing the best scalable option for the business in terms of storage and compute. By right sizing one should have the liberty to make quick automatic adjustments to storage and compute needs to suit their fluctuating operational demands.

Challenges with cloud:
Although the potential gains are clear to see, public sector organisations wishing to migrate to the cloud frequently encounter a wide range of hurdles, from privacy and security concerns to a lack of in-house IT professionals. One of the greatest challenges, however, is the difficulty fitting into cloud industry-standard processes. Cost and affordability are also often cited as the main reason for hesitancy around moving away from on-premises systems.

Some of the prominent challenges across the cloud environment are:
Lack of clear strategy and understanding: Having a clear business objective and strategy is quintessential. Strategy is important as there is a wide variety of choices to opt for – private, public, or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Knowing the purpose behind migration is very important to make the right decisions.
Exceeding the planned budget: According to Gartner, End-user spending on public cloud services in India is forecast to total $7.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 29.6 % from 2021. Cloud spending is a major issue and becomes more critical as cloud costs continue to rise. Measuring your costs and performance on an ongoing basis is essential for assessing the ROI of your cloud. Application dependencies are also one of the key reasons for budget overruns. An effective governance and control of cloud infrastructure cost can help organisations keep the budget within acceptable limits.
Security weak points and failures of critical services: With the pace at which digital transformation is being witnessed, security breaches are bound to occur. Setting security configuration parameters in cloud infrastructure, automating security processes, compliance with GovCloud regulatory requirements and building continuous monitoring systems are some of the processes public sector organizations needs to abide by to overcome any security weak points and failures. Also, infrastructure should be built in a manner that is resilient for organizations and citizens.
Human error and lack of IT skills: According to the NASSCOM report, India has an unmet demand of 30% for open cloud computing positions which poses a major challenge for cloud projects in India. The level of expertise within this industry is very limited with regards to cloud computing and hence talent pool and skilled resources play a vital role and need to progress. Organizing IT functions in the cloud is quite different from the same processes that are run on-premises. There exists a knowledge gap and employees need to be trained.

Cloud technology is a key enabler in the sought-after modernisation process. With key changes in the government and IT policies towards embracing cloud technologies, choosing the right cloud is quintessential. It also enables organisations to innovate quickly, enjoy greater resilience, and continue to be agile in order to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s time. Therefore, when leveraged optimally, the cloud can be a transformational model for improving efficiencies and productivity.

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