Benefits of cloud migration for public sector organisations

Organisations throughout the UK public sector are enhancing the services they deliver to citizens by embracing cloud computing. Sheena Prema, cloud proposition design manager at Six Degrees, explores five of the key benefits that come with cloud migration – along with the different ways organisations can get there

Posted 2 December 2021 by Christine Horton

Organisations throughout the UK public sector are enhancing the services they deliver to citizens by embracing cloud computing. In this article we’ll take you through five of the key benefits that come with cloud migration – along with the different ways organisations can get there.

Cloud has been the direction of travel for the UK public sector for some time now, with the government’s Cloud guide for the public sector stating that “properly implemented cloud technology can improve speed of delivery, increase security and create opportunities for organisations to innovate”.

But why exactly are public sector organisations investing finances and resources into migrating away from legacy on-premises infrastructures and embracing the cloud?

Five benefits of cloud migration

There are a great many benefits of cloud migration, and where an organisation focuses its cloud ROI ambitions will dictate how it prioritises meeting these benefits. Public sector organisations all have their own unique sets of cloud drivers – local authorities want to enhance resident services, while healthcare organisations want to make it easy and safe for patients to engage with them. However, there are some cloud migration benefits that are pretty universal. Here are five of the key cloud migration benefits organisations seek to realise:

  1. Cost optimisation. Migrating to the cloud can be more cost-effective than the continued maintenance and management of a legacy on-premises infrastructure. Moreover, when evaluating an organisation’s current workloads, a cloud readiness assessment can help to evaluate workloads that are redundant and can be retired, ensuring more optimised costs in the future. This is essential for public sector organisations dealing with stretched budgets.
  2. Remote collaboration and mobility. There’s no getting around it – hybrid working is here to stay. With hybrid working comes more complex user requirements and the need to provide ubiquitous experiences while ensuring performance, stability and security at all times. Cloud migration makes this significantly more straightforward, as the latest cloud-native applications can be deployed and managed using the most appropriate delivery methods. So wherever people are based, they can provide the best possible services to the citizens they support.
  3. Enhanced cyber security and compliance. Recent reports from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have highlighted the cyber threat faced by the UK public sector. Cloud environments elevate organisations’ cyber security and compliance postures by meeting data protection, security and statutory requirements and storing valuable data and information in a central location. The major hyperscale cloud providers like Microsoft deliver robust cyber security throughout their public cloud platforms, and by partnering with a secure cloud provider like Six Degrees organisations can enhance this further through industry-leading consultancy and managed security services.
  4. Elasticity and scalability. With cloud, organisations only pay for the cloud resources that they use. This means that as organisations’ requirements evolve, they can alter resource requirements on-demand. As most cloud providers are on global platforms, organisations can enhance performance by running workloads closer to where users or customers are. This on-demand business model benefits future IT infrastructure and resource allocation, and also enables organisations to deploy applications quickly by adopting new technological capabilities, enabling organisations to meet their cloud drivers and enhance citizen services faster than ever before.
  5. Backup, recovery and failover. Cloud migration enables organisations to improve their disaster recovery and business continuity provisions by offering built-in, one-click backup and recovery capabilities. Rather than relying on secondary data centres connected through links that are often left redundant until called into use, cloud environments enable the deployment of sophisticated disaster recovery tools that can recover data and functionality in minutes – not hours or days. This is essential for UK public sector organisations who can face significant operational challenges and resultant fines for any downtime experienced.

The six Rs of cloud migration

The cloud is the direction of travel for a great many UK public sector organisations, all of which are looking to reap the benefits of a successful cloud migration. However, there are a number of routes to the cloud, all of which bring their own benefits depending on the organisation’s specific circumstances.

Many people refer to the six Rs of cloud migration: retain, replace, rebuild, rehost, replatform, and refactor. Let’s take a look at these one at a time:

  1. Retain. Before an organisation chooses to take a scorched earth approach to its on-premises estate, it’s important to remember that it can always choose to do nothing – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If your workloads are not suitable for the cloud, this could be the best approach for you.
  2. Replace. Perhaps an organisation has reached the end of the line with an application, and it has identified a commercial off the shelf (COTS) product that will do the same job. There are certainly advantages to the replace approach: there is less administrative overhead involved in deploying and managing a COTS product; COTS products often come with enhanced mobility, flexibility and features; and COTS products often come regulatory compliance-ready for organisations operating in compliance-heavy verticals like public sector.
  3. Rebuild. The rebuild approach is a relatively drastic one: the organisation creates an entirely new solution from scratch on a new platform. The rebuild approach enables an organisation to modernise its workloads achieving full cloud benefits, deploy the new workload from the ground up to be in-line with requirements and SLAs, and gives users the ability to create workflows themselves, which allows the organisation to focus on what it does best, unburdening work from non-essential stakeholders.
  4. Rehost. Commonly known as ‘lift and shift’, the rehost approach uses migration tools to replicate a workload in a cloud environment without redesign. The rehost approach enables organisations to achieve cost savings by moving away from physical infrastructure, moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, and achieve some limited cloud benefits.
  5. Replatform. Replatform is sometimes known colloquially as ‘tinker, lift and shift’. And it does exactly that – a minimal rework of a workload to work in a cloud environment, while leaving the core architecture unchanged. Replatforming your workload will deliver infrastructure and software cost savings, and – like rehosting – will enable you to transition to an OPEX model.
  6. Refactor. The refactor approach involves reworking cloud components to leverage cloud capabilities, re-writing and decoupling to take a workload in its entirety and break it down into smaller pieces. Each piece is then entirely modular and easier to evolve and support, while posing less risk of breaking the whole workload.

The cloud explained

Deciding the best route cloud migration for your organisation to take requires careful consideration of a wide variety of factors: the workload, your objectives, and the future you see for your organisation’s evolution. That’s a lot to consider. Get it right, however, and you’ll reap benefits that will set your organisation in good stead to thrive as we enter 2022.

Sheena Prema is cloud proposition design manager at Six Degrees