Cloud-first approach for government
By Adrian Iannessa, Senior Director of Technology, Dell Technologies ANZ
Thursday, 04 November, 2021
The massive increase in telework since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced government agencies to rethink and renew their focus on digital transformation. Australian academicians have identified that around 39% of all jobs in Australia can be done from home and a survey by Gartner revealed that during the pandemic 88% of organisations adopted some form of teleworking as part of their response plan. As we head into a post-pandemic recovery, the federal government dedicated $1.2 billion of the 2021–22 Budget into the Digital Economy Strategy that will drive investments that underpin jobs, productivity and the economy.
While it’s still uncertain what government offices will look like in the upcoming months, the benefits of continued remote work — and its achievability for government agencies — are clear. The accelerated multi-cloud migration and digital transformation that have enabled this reality will have lasting impacts. When accommodating remote work, selecting the right cloud environment is of utmost importance. With the introduction of the Australian Cyber Security Centre and the Digital Transformation Agency’s Cloud Security Guidance last year, agencies now had a way to perform a comprehensive security assessment on cloud services. This was an important step in transitioning towards agile cloud environments and in providing thoughtful digital services.
These days, over 55% of all businesses in Australia are using paid cloud services and the figure is around 81% for businesses that have 200 employees or more. Cloud services are integral for Australian business operations, more so now than ever before.
The push toward multiple cloud environments offers agencies the flexibility to rethink IT in terms of their workloads and specific mission needs. Cloud is not a destination, it’s an operating model that should be adjusted to address evolving needs. As remote work increases, integrating multiple clouds is critical and allows agencies to easily scale depending on workload and provide the transparency needed to enhance security.
The rapid shift to mandatory remote work illustrated the immediate benefits of flexible hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Most agencies have a mix of public and private clouds. In an office environment, it’s easy to cross-pollinate, but a remote workforce often struggles to share data between the two, unless using an effective hybrid approach. Agencies run both private and non-sensitive workloads daily, making a hybrid-cloud approach a universal best practice. This hybrid approach keeps data secure and accessible while providing consistency across public, private and edge environments.
With an exponential increase in the number of devices connecting to agency resources via the cloud, flexible environments kept missions running. Scalability became more important than ever to ensure essential government missions could continue.
Experiences during the pandemic are solidifying efforts on digital resilience. By the end of 2021, it is expected that 80% of enterprises will shift towards cloud-centric infrastructure and applications. Beyond enabling telework, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and edge computing increase the need for flexibility. As the use of sensors and embedded devices at the edge increases and possibilities of AI expand, edge computing must be considered a part of an agency’s IT strategy.
Gartner reports that the spending on public cloud services in Australia is expected to increase by 18.4% in 2021 to reach $10.6 billion, and by 2022 this figure is expected to grow to 19.7%.
Operating in multiple cloud environments accommodates changing security needs. The government’s rapid shift to remote work could easily have introduced cybersecurity challenges if sensitive information was in the wrong environment. As agencies made this transition, the ability to move certain workloads to public clouds, while keeping others on premises, was critical.
Today, digital transformation and hybrid cloud enable continuity of government agencies’ missions during the greatest and most unexpected crisis of our time. But by connecting agencies with the insights they need more reliably, effectively and securely, they will also impact citizens on a more local level. As an example, by 2023 all NSW Government agencies will have a minimum of 25% of their ICT services on a public cloud. This will streamline data processes and allow for more flexibility and agility in information storage which will ultimately improve administrative procedures.
When utilised correctly, the Secure Cloud Strategy will facilitate a cloud-first approach for agencies to adopt and implement into all services. It will allow for easier access to services, maximise speed and efficiency for users, and will allow agencies to innovate. The future presents an opportunity for even more significant transformation and the adoption of new technologies that will further government agencies’ missions.
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