Is cloud tech now essential for public sector finance management?

28th February 2023

Time’s up for on-premise

Civica’s Andy Smith explains why the right cloud tech is crucial for public sector finance management.

Change never feels easy. Especially when it comes to long-established systems that handle critical tasks such as local authority finances. But as increasingly sophisticated software is delivered reliably and remotely via cloud solutions, the shortcomings of legacy, on-premise technology are becoming exposed. We explore three challenges created by these systems and show how cloud technology can help organisations to overcome them.

1. Complexity and carbon

Many on-premise IT landscapes are complex and made up of legacy systems and applications that may not be fit for purpose or nearing the end of their life. Both hardware and software for these systems need to be constantly managed. In many cases, they might not be easy to replace or upgrade, especially when software has been heavily customised, or the only people who understand it are retiring or have moved on.

Then there’s the question of support. If there’s a problem with an application, who’s responsible for fixing it? The external vendor or the in-house IT department? Users can get stuck in a stalemate trying to solve simple problems. With many different apps to support across the IT estate, internal teams may also not have the specialist knowledge to optimise a crucial app so users can get maximum value from it. And with all organisations tasked with reducing their environmental footprints, power-hungry traditional datacentres can be difficult to decarbonise.

Cloud deployment cuts the complexity, removing the need for both on-premise hardware and software. Responsibility for management and support shifts entirely to the vendor, who ensures software is always up to date and optimised for a customer’s requirements. Cloud can cut carbon, too. Shifting from on-premise to cloud deployment can reduce emissions by up to 90%1 .

And unlike a traditional IT upgrade, the move to cloud can be quick and painless, with migrations typically taking from six weeks to three months. For example, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, which serves 148,000 citizens, took just nine weeks to migrate to Civica’s cloud financial management solution2 .

2. Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is on the rise and frequently targeted at public sector organisations: the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has estimated that 40% of incidents it managed were targeted at the public sector3. Recent years have seen nearly 100 million attacks on councils, 25% of whom have now suffered system breaches in the UK. Several high-profile attacks have left local authorities with long-term disruption to their services and millions of pounds of debt.

For public sector IT teams, protecting in-house systems against cyberattacks is a non-stop, high-pressure challenge. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, systems need a continuous cycle of patches and upgrades to keep them secure.

Cloud-first strategies mean public sector organisations can completely outsource hardware and software security. While this itself may feel like a risk, it’s acknowledged that cloud services solve the major security challenges that traditional IT deployments face. An NCSC whitepaper identified 13 security benefits, such as having a consistent approach to authentication and monitoring, and knowing how different services are exposed to the internet 4.

Civica’s financial management system, for example, is supported by ongoing security investment and cybersecurity specialists. Instead of spending time, effort and money on the never-ending task of shoring up cyber defences, councils can switch to state-of-the-art cybersecurity and free up IT teams to build better services.

3. Doing more with less

This is the impossible challenge facing every public sector organisation today. How can teams deliver better services with finite (or even diminishing) resources of people and finance? One way is to make work more productive. But on-premise IT systems don’t make this easy. They can often take up valuable human resource, tying people up in unnecessary tasks and stop them focussing on what’s more important.

Modern cloud solutions are designed to take the burden of human resource out, with easy, intuitive interfaces and automation of time-consuming, low-level tasks. Why not invest in the flexibility to keep your teams working and services running smoothly?

The future starts now

More public sector organisations are adopting cloud platforms as they aim to simplify services, achieve state-of-the art cybersecurity and work more efficiently. To learn more about cloud financial software and how it’s addressing public sector challenges, visit