Government moving from ‘cloud first’ to ‘cloud appropriate’ – Dell

Dell UK’s public sector chief weighs in on the acceleration of digital services in government and why organisations are now embracing hybrid and multicloud.

Posted 11 August 2022 by Christine Horton

The public sector is building on the significant technological advances it saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Richard Rawcliffe, VP and general manager UK public sector at Dell Technologies.

“Public sector organisations are taking significant strides towards transformation, by necessity and now by design,” he told TDP.

Dell worked during the pandemic to supply end user devices to the NHS as a priority, followed by social care and government. It then worked to provide compute power to universities and research customers in the push around Covid-19 research.

“It was very much, ‘how do we support the UK public sector carry on delivering it’s its core services from technology perspective?’ And that didn’t stop for two years,” said Rawcliffe.

‘Cloud first to ‘cloud appropriate’

Rawcliffe said he has seen “a subtle change of language” within government around cloud computing. He now says there is more use of “cloud appropriate” as opposed to the government’s long-standing strategy of “cloud first.”

“Realistically, if you think about cloud as a way of working rather than a destination, most of what we do today is on the cloud. Wether private, public or on or off premise. We’re working in a hybrid environment today. Our view is that different workloads will suit different organisations at different times.”

To that end, Dell has worked with Chorley Borough Council and AWS to supply cloud-based data protection.

“We’ve got some big government customers that have put applications into Azure or AWS or Google because that suits their workload and the way in which they want to work. [You need to] get to the point of ‘what’s the outcome that you require as a business, where is it best to put that workload?’ Because for most of my customers, technology and IT is not their core business. So how do we help them to get to a point where they have as little touch as possible?”

Focus on cybersecurity

Rawcliffe also said with more public sector employees working remotely, there is a need to ensure organisations fully embrace cybersecurity.

“The more people that you have doing their core work at home, the more you increase your threat landscape. It’s not ‘if I’m going to get a cyberattack, but when, and what do I do about it?’”

“Everything from the edge, core [and] cloud is ‘how do I protect myself at each level?’ Then ‘how do I make sure that I’ve got a verifiable air gap solution such that if I get a catastrophic attack, I can recover back to something that’s very recent?’ Those are the conversations that we’re having.

“The NHS has done more implementations than other sectors in the conversations with us. They hold the most critical data from an individual perspective. And it’s also most critical that they can continue to continue to deliver services, as a service interruption of the NHS is very different than a service interruption to a bank or an insurance company.”

Elsewhere, he said the public sector thinking more about sustainability.

“’If I increase my tech footprint, is that going to naturally increase my carbon footprint?’ It’s very much around making sure that digital does not further enhance the issues that we’ve got today from that environmental perspective. Digital makes up around two percent of the environmental challenge. [But] anything you can do to reduce that is bound to have an impact.”