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Why Azure for public sector?

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In the public sector, there is an ongoing move to adopt cloud technology, with spending in the sector expected to reach record levels of more than £1bn this year. In fact, statistics suggest more than 80% of public sector organisations are already using at least one cloud service. But with varying degrees of adoption and usage, how can public sector organisations realise the true potential of the cloud?

This was the topic of discussion at our recent Azure Breakfast event in Edinburgh. Hosted in partnership with Microsoft and Dell EMC, the event sought to explore how hybrid cloud can deliver value to the public sector, the benefits of Azure and Azure Stack, as well as key considerations for a successful cloud migration journey.

One key outcome from the breakfast briefing was that cloud adoption is more than a technology upgrade. Successful cloud adoption requires alignment and a shift in mindset across the entire business. So how can organisations make this journey a reality?

When considering cloud adoption or increasing cloud usage, there are three key questions organisations should be asking:

1. Why do you want to move

2. How are you going to do it?

3. When are you going to migrate?

Understanding your cloud journey

To help organisations answer these questions and as a result of our extensive experience in delivering hybrid environments to public sector organisations, Pulsant has developed the Cloud Maturity Matrix.

It’s a great tool for guiding conversations about the cloud journey by assessing where organisations are, and clearly identifying where they want to go. It also helps our team gain a deep understanding of an organisation’s requirements and drivers and enables us to develop a plan for our customers’ cloud adoption.

Adding value with Azure

Another topic discussed at the event was how a combination of Azure and Azure Stack can provide a true hybrid cloud solution for local government and agencies, solving issues around data sovereignty, compliance and security.

For example, some governments in the EU are already deploying Azure Stack together with Azure, to deliver innovative digital services to residents. This enables them to meet strict data compliance, regulatory and policy requirements—all using a common set of tools for developing, deploying, and managing data and applications. As a result, they can now modernise on-premises legacy applications that aren’t quite ready for public cloud.

We also discussed some of the common migration triggers, including addressing urgent capacity needs, the need to develop and deliver applications faster, as well as software and hardware refresh requirements.

One pressing migration trigger is the end of support for SQL Server or Windows Server 2008 / 2008 R2. These versions are reaching the end of their extended support lifecycle (July 9, 2019 and January 14, 2020 respectively). This means that these workloads will no longer be supported or receive security updates, leaving them vulnerable to cyber security attacks. The upgrade process takes time and planning and, with the date looming closer, it’s important to take a look at the various options available. One of the options we are supporting our customers with is migrating these workloads to Azure or Azure Stack. By doing so, customerscan benefit from three years additional security patching and updates for free. More importantly, this gives them the time to work on a plan for modernising these workloads to avoid this problem in the future.

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