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Canada: What Governments Need to Consider as They Move Data and Services to the Cloud
Source: www.itworldcanada.com
Source Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Canada
Created: Jun 25, 2018

Over the years, governments have earned the reputation for being innovation-averse. This was certainly the case when it came to cloud, which in its earlier days the public sector viewed it not in terms of its potential benefits,  but the potential threat it posed – specifically when it came to critical data. This is understandable. Governments are among the largest collectors of sensitive personal and financial data.

Of late, however, this has been changing – government has been changing. Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, recently announced that the federal government’s innovation agenda, it would be launching a series of consultations regarding a national data strategy.
In a press release that accompanied his announcement, Bains said that while technologies such as AI and big data present opportunities for innovation, investment and job creation, citizens should and must have confidence that their sensitive data is secure.

So it’s no longer really a question of if government will migrate to the cloud, but more a question of how. As  Gartner predicts double-digit growth in government use of public cloud through 2021, IT departments at the federal, provincial and municipal levels are scrambling to create the effective data strategies.

A well thought out data strategy is not the only consideration. Many other boxes must be ticked for decision-makers in government looking to migrate highly sensitive data to the cloud or expand its use of cloud, including:

- Ease of experience – Is setup quick and painless or a nightmare? Do we need to install drivers and applications? Are there minimal changes to the source database?
- Smooth transition – Will this disrupt our day-to-day? Will moving to cloud involve any substantial downtime?
- Reliable going forward – Are there real benefits to being in the cloud or more in the cloud than we were before? Can we count on it being reliable, or will we possibly see kinks, interruptions, and loss of service?
- Data not at risk – Will moving to cloud put our sensitive and private citizen data at risk? Will we be able to demonstrate, whenever required, that our data is as secure in the cloud as it was before?
- Sovereign data – Will our critical information be retained within specific geographic bounds or scattered to the four winds, across many jurisdictions?

More and more governments around the world are using cloud to automate processes, collaborate, manage content, and engage with its clients — the citizens who have entrusted them with their critical data. Those government entities that have not yet “gone cloud,” or have yet to truly commit to it, the key question is around strategy — “What’s our cloud plan going to be moving forward?”

(By Glenn Weir)
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