Building a strong Digital Foundation in the public sector

Moira Roberts, business development manager at Cloud Gateway, explains the importance of building a strong digital foundation in the public sector – with network connectivity is its heart.

Posted 9 May 2023 by Christine Horton

Why is it so important to build a strong digital foundation across the public sector?

We define a Digital Foundation as the blend of technologies, people and processes that an organisation has in place to drive growth and enable better outcomes for its customers.

A strong Digital Foundation provides the business with the ability to adapt and evolve as macro factors outside of their control – such as the pandemic, Brexit, and the war in Ukraine, to name a few that we have encountered recently – create instability and unpredictability around them. This fragility creates risk and uncertainty that must be mitigated and managed.

At Cloud Gateway, our mission is to provide easy access to the technologies that drive innovation, progress, and collaboration for the benefit of everyone. We help public sector organisations build a Digital Foundation that securely and seamlessly connects their people, sites and devices with cloud and on-premise environments, public sector networks, and the internet. This gives them the ability to begin consuming new digital services as and when they emerge, driving their transformation strategy forward and providing the tools and support to overcome whatever challenges the future might hold.

What should customers be thinking about when they are planning their digital transformations?

The latest UK Digital Strategy establishes four key pillars for maintaining strong Digital Foundations. These are centred around having a robust digital infrastructure, unlocking the power of data, a pro-innovation regulatory framework, and secure digital environments. Although this looks at the state of digital in a broader sense, we can apply these pillars on an individual basis – using this framework as a tool to help organisations with their network management and transition to cloud.

A good way to think of the framework is to look at each pillar as a leg of a table. If one of the legs isn’t equal to the other, then the whole table will lose balance.

In terms of the network, securely connecting an organisation’s people, places, and devices has never been more important than it is today. Historically, the network component of any transformation project has been overlooked until it is too late to secure the best commercial terms. We would urge organisations to consider their connectivity and network security requirements as soon as possible to avoid unexpected delays and disruption.

What are some of the challenges that organisations face? Do you have any examples?

As the hype around cloud and its adoption gathered pace, organisations began spinning up environments for their business critical functions with little thought for existing on-prem operations, and even less to the corporate network connecting everything together.

Cloud Gateway was born from a shared frustration that the network had been left behind, and that those providing connectivity services were slow and reluctant to change. This typically resulted in a complex web of applications hosted in different locations, which users struggled to access, supported by a network that was somehow both over-provisioned and under-performing at the same time.

As the benefits of hybrid and multicloud strategies continue to be realised, the limitations of traditional connectivity and security providers are going to become more apparent. Organisations are discovering that operation critical transformation projects are taking longer than necessary because of excessive lead times and unfavourable commercial terms. This is a trend that we have seen across both public and private sectors.

What can happen if network connectivity isn’t a priority in these plans?

Over the years, the technology landscape has changed immeasurably, but the corporate network remains much the same. Expensive contracts, poor service, and a lack of commercial and technical innovation are still prevalent in the telecommunications sector. If the underlying network isn’t prioritised, whether that be connectivity to cloud, enabling remote users, or secure access to public service networks, then organisations will find themselves subject to long lead times and prohibitive costs from traditional providers.

This can be avoided with forward planning, but the ever evolving technology and security landscape means requirements often change as a project progresses, meaning you need a provider who is flexible in responding to these challenges as they emerge. Without this, transformation projects can easily take longer than expected or exceed the budget that was allowed for them.

How can Cloud Gateway, and technology like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), help them overcome these challenges and realise their transformation plans?

Our network and security solutions provide organisations with the tools and support they need to embrace cloud, hybrid and multicloud at a pace that suits them. We do things differently to traditional connectivity providers. There is no longer an obligation to provision expensive connectivity infrastructure based on projected consumption, or wait months for hardware to be procured and deployed.

Our platform affords organisations greater control, choice and operational agility than traditional providers have been able and willing to deliver. We’re able to connect an organisation’s users, sites, cloud and on-premise environments within hours, whereas many traditional providers will demand up to 90 days. We’re committed to bringing networking and secure connectivity into the digital age through cultural, commercial and technical innovation.

With approaches like SASE that deliver unified networking and security capabilities, organisations can implement hybrid and multicloud strategies that give them the ability to select the application, technology or provider that best fits their requirements, all through a single, cloud native managed service. This eliminates the costs and time associated with unnecessary network complexity and the management of multiple vendors. It also gives organisations greater flexibility to scale up and down with their requirements.

In a competitive market, how does Cloud Gateway differentiate itself to customers?

At Cloud Gateway, we do networks differently. The company was created to address the technical and commercial bottlenecks that often stifle digital transformation, especially in the public sector.

The quality of our service – including our lead times, commercial terms, and highly scalable bandwidth and security options – set us apart from traditional connectivity providers, as does our team of experienced cloud, network and security experts! At a time when all are in short supply, we’re able to support our customers with the very best technical minds out there.

We supplement our own unique blend of services and skills with those of our partner community. We are very proud to partner with some of the most forward thinking and disruptive organisations across industry. Like us, they’re committed to helping our customers utilise technology and digital to deliver better outcomes for the business.

We work alongside our customers to design, build and deploy a bespoke solution that meets their immediate requirements right now, whilst laying a Digital Foundation for future transformation plans.