Cloud computing is a major driver in your modernization journey. As state and local governments adopt cloud computing solutions, they have greater potential to realize their business goals, including program delivery enhancements, new digital services, and IT performance improvement. The most desired outcome is for the government to be more agile to implement new highly scalable technologies as they become more rapidly available without the constraint of capital debt.
But what is cloud computing? Cloud computing is a service-based solution that provides computing resources and/or software over the internet as a utility. Based on a pay-as-you-go model, cloud computing has no up-front expenditures because consumers basically rent the services they consume – the infrastructure, development platforms and software.
According to a study conducted by the market research company Vanson Bourne, adopting cloud solutions resulted in a 19% average increase in process efficiency and a 15% reduction in IT spending. Elyon has observed that most government entities will gain critical added functionality instead of cost reduction. By leveraging cloud technology solutions, state and local government entities have the perfect opportunity to improve their agility posture in order to rapidly adapt to meet the evolving needs of the individuals they serve. Cloud computing has become widely adopted by state and local governments as government entities look for ways to reduce the cost of computing infrastructures, improve scalability, and ease the financial burden of system maintenance.
Your state or local government entity has decided to make the transition to cloud. However, you are not sure what route to take. The path to the cloud is not always clear cut. Before selecting a cloud computing type, Elyon recommends that you fully document the type of data you need to store, what software you want to host in the cloud, and how many people and devices will be connected (allowing for future growth).
The two original cloud computing types were public and private. The primary differentiating factor between the two cloud types are location and deployment. Public clouds store data in the hosting company’s data center and the data is accessible via the internet. Private clouds are located behind a firewall on your intranet or hosted data center. More recently, hybrid cloud has been introduced into the market and is rapidly gaining popularity, especially among state and local government entities.
Public cloud began by hosting applications over the internet (Software as a Service - SaaS). Today's public cloud can also include infrastructure or data storage provided by a third-party vendor. Based on a classic cloud computing model, public cloud provides users with access to a large pool of computing services via a network that is open to the public. One of the benefits of public cloud is the ability to attain economy of scale because the costs are shared by all users. Since users share resources, the public cloud generally excels in performance. However, the resources are not usually on-site, and the customer does not control the infrastructure. When an application goes down in a public cloud, it typically causes a service outage for all customers using that application. Gartner recommends adopting a public cloud service when the benefits are high (cost reduction) and the risks are low (outages).
Private cloud is often referred to as internal cloud; however, it can be hosted either on or off premises. Cloud computing services are offered on a cloud-based secure environment that is protected by a firewall and not shared with other organizations. The only shared component of private cloud is the provider’s infrastructure. Private cloud uses proprietary architecture to distribute services, which is better for changing or unpredictable business needs.
Private cloud is also scalable and offers self-service and other multi-capacity uses. It is essential if your government entity leverages large amounts of proprietary data. Each private cloud customer can have its own unique security model, which provides stricter access to more sensitive data and applications. If one application goes down, other users are not affected.
Two disadvantages of private cloud are:
Your government entity must manage your private cloud, which means you need to budget for staffing, maintenance, and capital in addition to virtualization, cloud software, and management tools. Private cloud costs more than public cloud, but is a better choice to host and manage critical workloads and sensitive information
Hybrid cloud began as a marketing term and is rapidly becoming the most popular cloud computing type. A hybrid cloud refers to infrastructure and service environments made up of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud services. Government IT leaders are often reluctant or unable to retire their legacy technology investments. Additionally, as workload demands continue to increase, IT department resources often have difficulty keeping up. A hybrid cloud model is a natural transition that realizes the best of both worlds (public and private) by augmenting current/existing infrastructure and by taking advantage of the agility, scalability, and performance of cloud services. Hybrid cloud is basically an extension, or point of integration, of your existing on-premises environment to the cloud.
A hybrid cloud solution establishes an environment that supports today’s traditional workloads and tomorrow’s cloud-based applications. Hybrid cloud leverages innovation, cost, and flexibility by providing access to the best solutions without getting locked in. One disadvantage of hybrid cloud is that you have to manage multiple different security platforms and ensure that all of your applications can communicate with each other. Other potential drawbacks include governance, application and data integration, and lack of visibility; however, these risks can be minimized with proper planning and due diligence.
The following table provides a high-level comparison of the three cloud computing types.
Elyon Enterprise Strategies, Inc. is a management consulting firm specializing in business design. Our purpose is to lessen executive burdens, increase organization order, and provide organizations with more hope and success while meeting human needs. We are each client’s most trusted advisor and inspire our clients to transform complexity into enterprise success.
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