27th July 2018

The public sector cloud conundrum

Despite the benefits of agility, performance and cost, a false perception of security inhibits many government organisations from reaping the benefits of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is on the agenda of public sector organisations to drive efficiencies, enable mobility for in-field operations, and turbocharge their digital culture transformation programs to improve citizen engagement and experience.
Although private sector organisations can trade off risk against cost, their public sector counterparts operating in highly regulated and politically sensitive environments must select partners and technologies that meet a high bar for data protection and sovereignty. 

Indeed, while a recent Civica research study conducted with the University of Technology Sydney found 66 per cent of senior public sector decision makers said cloud-based applications and services were important, an earlier Civica/UTS report found just 34 per cent of public sector organisations had a preference for cloud solutions, while 45 per cent preferred to web-enable their applications and services on privately hosted (‘private cloud’) infrastructure. 

It’s not so surprising when 96 per cent of decision makers in this highly sensitive sector said security was their top concern. This gap between intention and action could indicate that public sector organisations are stalling their cloud and digital transformation out of respect for protecting their citizens’ data. 

But maintaining citizen privacy is no reason to delay reaping cloud’s benefits of performance, agility and cost because, by resisting the inevitable shift to cloud and its ability to scale on demand, public sector organisations may paradoxically risk their data. 

A trusted partner such as Civica lives and breathes governance and cybersecurity, providing infrastructure, applications and secure managed cloud services alongside deep technical knowledge to keep systems running and secure. For instance, Civica’s secure gateway deflects malicious attacks on a client’s critical public sector infrastructure while encrypting traffic to ensure business continues uninterrupted. Civica also maintains a mesh of certified Tier-3 data centres in Australia to ensure applications keep running even when there are local outages.

This scalable, trusted and resilient cloud infrastructure frees public sector clients to innovate in serving their citizens without worrying about the ‘plumbing’. Civica will even collaborate with public sector organisations and their stakeholders in a process called ‘co-design’ to innovate custom, engaging solutions on top of a rock solid and common core platform. 

For organisations that have a significant infrastructure investment – or are not yet ready to leap into a total cloud offering – Civica’s ‘hybrid’ and ‘multi-cloud’ options enable them to add functions and features at their own pace, in response to citizen demand and within budget constraints. 

Hybrid and multi-cloud options bridge the legacy gap so organisations can serve their citizens best 

Civica can ‘lift and shift’ an organisation’s legacy systems into its secure and managed cloud platform, within a public cloud infrastructure such as Microsoft Azure, or a mix of clouds. Civica can even add functionality to a client’s private cloud by hosting some services on its own infrastructure to enable the client organisation to ‘burst’ on demand, such as the end of a rates payment quarter when transactional demand is stronger. Civica can implement a multi-cloud solution, whether it’s on-premises, off-premises, collocated in an ultra-secure and compliant Tier-3 data centre, in the private or public clouds or any mix of the above. 

Microsoft recently achieved Protected Classification for its Azure platform in Australia – as required by the Australian Signals Directorate – to host the Commonwealth’s Protected material. This ensures that the highest possible levels of security protect public sector data. Civica is now accredited as a Microsoft Tier 1 partner. 

Civica can also shoulder running an organisation’s IT, including providing help desk, managed services, disaster recovery and business continuity. It can deploy unified communications, secure connectivity and onsite support and staff to enable the public sector organisation to focus on serving its citizens and stakeholders instead of keeping the lights on. 

Benefits of a Civica cloud or managed services solution are:

  • Experience – Some 40 years advising public sector clients on how to serve their citizens
  • Proactive – When global attacks such as Wannacry ransomware and Intel’s chip flaw struck, Civica technologists quickly ensured client systems were secure and protected
  • Partners – Inside track at major vendors such as Microsoft, Dell and Cisco for fast and accurate answers
  • Scale – Systems for upwards of 20 users with uncompromising reliability, accessibility and security
  • Turnaround – Rapid help desk resolution delivers superior customer service so client staff can focus on serving the public
  • Value – Data centre Tier-3 guarantee offers best mix of price and reliability with unwavering availability and security
  • Compliant – Client workloads hosted simultaneously around Australia for high-availability, redundancy and resilience while maintaining data sovereignty – so you always know where your data is
  • Expertise – Civica’s team of 4300 experts (1000 in digital alone) are on hand to speed client projects with their global knowledge and proven methodologies
  • Peace of mind – Certified for ISO 27001, 20000, 22301, 14001, 9001, SSAE 16/ ISAE 3402 SOC 1 Type 2 for highest levels of cybersecurity, IT service management, business continuity, environmental compliance and quality
  • Knowledge – Leverage insights from running public sector clouds around the world. 

At whatever stage an organisation is on the road to cloud – and whatever its unique heritage and constraints – Civica has technologies, processes and people to help public sector clients deliver better service to their citizens and stakeholders at lower cost and higher performance than sticking with traditional IT. 

Why Tier-3 data centres?

An industry standard for assessing the resilience of data centres, tier standards define what to expect from a service provider who hosts your data in a facility. The four tiers measure relative performance, reliability and redundancy with a Tier-1 analogous to a server in a cupboard at a small business to a Tier-4 data centre that guarantees almost 100 per cent availability through redundant power, data links, servers and so on. A Tier-3 data centre provides only slightly lower availability than a Tier-4 data centre but at a fraction of the cost.


This article was published by The Mandarin. Click here to read it on the website.