Questions to ask when creating a cloud hosting strategy for a government department

If you work in a government department or another public sector body that is considering adopting cloud hosting to cut costs and increase efficiency, make sure you ask these questions to achieve the results you want.

Posted on 25 November 2015 -
Tibus BY Tibus

Cloud hosting has been nothing short of revolutionary in its impact on the storing, sharing and streamlining of our data and work processes in recent years. While the new technologies have been fully embraced in the private sector and in our personal lives, the public sector has been a little slower to take advantage.

There are many reasons for this, not least the hangover from short-sighted but long-term IT contracts signed before the cloud’s emergence and perhaps a reticence to adopt the technology before it had fully proved its usefulness.

But there is no reason why a government department shouldn’t now be reaping the rewards of cloud hosting, including greater flexibility, greater capacity and, if done right, lower costs. Here are some of the considerations for any government department working towards a successful cloud strategy.

Would the private cloud be a better option?

One of the big holdbacks for public sector and other security conscious organisations has been the fear of relinquishing data ‘into the cloud’. Those fears are justified when we’re talking about the public cloud favoured by many generic hosting providers.

But it is possible (and advisable) to create your own private cloud, which replicates the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud but with greater control and security over the platforms on which your data is stored.

Is there one product or platform that’s right for us?

All government departments have an amalgamation of various legacy IT systems, employ people performing very different jobs that demand very different resources and are always at risk of raft of changes at a moment’s notice given a change of minister or a change of policy. Is there really an off-the-shelf hosting product that is designed with that in mind?

At Tibus, we tend to think not. Instead, we choose to knit together the components and services that are best suited to the needs of a particular department to create a hosting infrastructure that is bespoke and totally fit-for-purpose.

What experience do our potential cloud hosting providers have?

Anybody who has worked in government or acted as a contractor or supplier to it knows that it has its own quirks and processes. To ensure a smooth transition when adopting cloud hosting, it probably makes sense to work with a hosting company that has been there and done it before.

We've been a G-Cloud supplier via the Government's Digital Marketplace since G-Cloud 2 and have been hosting public sector websites since 1996. We count the Department of Justice, Government Digital Service, Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Assembly among our clients.

What is our technical expertise?

If you’re thinking of swapping an in-house data centre for a cloud hosting solution, keep in mind that it is first and foremost the hardware that you are outsourcing. Many cloud providers are purely focused on the flexibility and capacity of their product, which means they are not really geared towards providing day-to-day support for or management of your hosting.

Again, we have a slightly different way of operating here at Tibus. We can offer 24x7x365 managed hosting and support. We feel this is important in order to help our public sector clients achieve the quality of service they need within the restrictions on in-house technical expertise. It is almost impossible for a government department to employ technical staff to support every aspect of web hosting, so it is important to find a cloud provider whose specialisms and expertise complement and enhance the skills your team already has.

What does the price include?

As we mentioned above, some cloud providers are effectively quoting purely for the use of their hardware. If you’re hoping for more support or additional services, it is worth questioning what the quote includes. For instance, we include bug resolution, support, third-party liaison, integration and return on investment measurement in the price we quote.

Interested in learning more about our expertise?

Find out if Tibus' cloud hosting services are the right match for your team.

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