The benefits of cloud services for local government

Cloud services offer a multitude of benefits for local governments, and can revolutionise the way they operate and deliver services to their communities. Cloud services streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and promote better resource allocation. Here are some key advantages of cloud services for local governments

Cloud services remove the need for on-site hardware and infrastructure investments. Instead, users can pay for the computing resources that they actually use, and reduce capital expenditures. A model such as this allows for better budget management and can prevent wastage of resources.

Cloud services contribute to environmental sustainability, with the government’s net zero goals, it is important that every aspect of government, whether central or parish council is doing their bit to contribute to reaching net zero. By sharing resources among multiple users, and reducing the need for onsite hardware, cloud computing reduces the overall energy consumption and carbon footprint that comes with traditional IT infrastructure.

It may be the case that you experience fluctuating demands for IT resources due to seasonal demand for example or changing workloads. Cloud services offer scalability, and allow organisations to easily boost or reduce their computing power and storage as and when needed. This can ensure optimal performance without over-ordering resources.

Collaboration and remote access
Cloud services facilitate remote work capabilities, allowing government employees to access critical applications and data from anywhere, either when working from home, on the road or in different office locations. Remote access can also boost collaboration among teams as many people are able to access and work on the same file immediately.

Data security and compliance
Cloud providers often invest heavily in robust security measures, and this can often surpass what local authorities already implement or can even afford. Data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security updates are all there to safeguard sensitive often citizen-related information. Furthermore, reputable cloud providers will also ensure compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws.

Disaster recovery
Cloud services provide built-in disaster recovery solutions, enabling local governments to swiftly recover data in the case of unforeseen events. This can be used to ensure minimal downtime and still maintain essential services.

Innovation and citizen-centric services
Cloud services enable local governments to utlisise advanced technologies like data analytics, machine learning, and AI and allow them to make data-driven decisions, and optimise resource allocation, as well as develop innovative solutions that address community needs and provide appropriate resources. Cloud-based platforms enable local governments to deliver citizen services more efficiently with residents at the centre. Online portals for services such as permit applications, or offer citizens easy and convenient access, improving overall satisfaction with their local authority.

Traditional IT infrastructure deployment can take time. However, cloud services provide rapid provisioning of resources, which means organisations can implement new services and applications quickly, and therefore respond quicker to citizen needs.

G-Cloud 13
Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) G-Cloud 13 Framework allows customers to buy cloud-based computing services such as hosting software and cloud support and lists 5,006 suppliers.
The agreement is available for central government, charities, education, health, local authority, blue light (police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue), devolved administrations, and British overseas territories and offers cloud hosting, cloud software and cloud support.
Lot 1 includes Cloud Hosting and covers cloud platform or infrastructure, which enables buyers to deploy, manage and run software, and provision and use processing, storage or networking resources. Services covered by this lot include archiving, backup and disaster recovery; compute and application hosting; container service; and content delivery network. Other services include database; NoSQL database; relational database; data warehousing; load balancing; logging and analysis; message queuing and processing; networking (including Network as a Service); Platform as a Service (PaaS); infrastructure and platform security; distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) protection; firewall; intrusion detection; protective monitoring; search; storage; block storage; and object storage.
Lot 2 is Cloud Software (SaaS) and includes applications which are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud. Services covered by this lot include accounting and finance; analytics and business intelligence; application security; collaborative working; creative, design and publishing; customer relationship management (CRM); electronic document and records management (EDRM); and healthcare. Other services include human resources and employee management; information and communication technology (ICT); legal and enforcement; marketing; operations management; project management and planning; sales; schools, education and libraries; software development tools; transport and logistics.
Lot 3 covers Cloud Support to help set up and maintain cloud software or hosting services. Services covered under this lot include ongoing support; planning; quality assurance and performance testing; setup and migration; security services and training.
There is also a fourth lot for further competition for Cloud Support. The scope is the same as that of Lot 3, but is designed for larger and more complex requirements which are procured through further competition.
The framework has several benefits including access to over 40,000 services and over 5,000 suppliers, providing access to the latest technology and innovation.
It offers a quick and easy route to market with scalable services, so you only pay for what you use.
Using the framework delivers reduced costs and reduced total cost of ownership compared to running your own service in house.
CCS provides advice and guidance on the website. As well as this, there are monthly customer webinars.

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