Improving government collaboration with cloud services
From the local level to federal operations, government agencies need seamless ways to manage data and share files. No matter the scale and responsibilities of your agency, you could benefit from cloud adoption.
Cloud technology allows authenticated users to access important information whenever they need it, from wherever they're working. Cybersecurity protocols, such as limiting user access and requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA), can ensure that only authorized users access sensitive data.
Table of Contents:
- The importance of government collaboration and coordination
- How the cloud streamlines collaborative processes
- The future of government collaboration in the cloud
- Plan for growth
- Improve government collaboration with cloud content management software
The importance of government collaboration and coordination
Cloud-based solutions allow government agencies to increase efficiency and strive for smooth and effective collaboration. The cloud facilitates collaboration between government facilities and constituents. Cloud-based solutions allow you to assign credentials to documents and data and appoint access to specific individuals.
The cloud is more than an excellent tool for sharing documents. It also allows contractors and employees to access essential documents anywhere in the world whenever they need them, as long as they have internet access and credentials for authentication.
Cloud migration can also help government agencies streamline workloads while saving money and ensuring sensitive data remains secure and protected. While there are numerous benefits of cloud adoption for government agencies, some of the most notable include:
Cloud-based collaboration tools allow government agencies to reduce costs. When a government agency uses the public cloud, it can save money by downsizing on-premises solutions, such as additional servers or hardware. In addition to the cost of these servers, there is also the cost of running, maintaining, and repairing them and the energy required to cool the servers — all expenses you do not incur in the cloud.
Scale with your needs
Cloud migration lets you automatically scale workloads up or down in real time to respond to your organization's growth or traffic surges. Your government agency can scale workloads without the concern of sacrificing connectivity or performance.
Cloud-based solutions offer your organization more flexibility than traditional IT infrastructures. When your government entity works with a cloud service provider (CSP), there is no concern for limited resources, which is a common issue when working with on-premise servers and hardware.
The cloud allows you to change, add, or subtract services when you need to, granting you the flexibility to grow and determine what works best for you.
Improve business continuity
Most CSPs feature redundancy built into their networks, allowing for less expensive and more efficient disaster recovery and data backup. CSPs also offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), making the process less disruptive and more affordable.
How the cloud streamlines collaborative processes
Cloud collaboration services promote communication and collaborative processes to boost productivity and efficiency.
Cloud migration can help your agency streamline various workflows, protect sensitive data, and grow your bottom line. One benefit of a cloud solution is scalability, allowing your organization to create the perfect solution tailored to your unique needs.
Your organization may have taken on an unnecessarily complex IT solution that doesn't fit its needs. Fortunately, cloud-based solutions are flexible, allowing you to adjust your solutions based on your organization's needs at that time, so you only spend what you need.
Traditional IT systems are often offered on a one-size-fits-all approach, meaning your agency won't get the most out of these solutions. On the other hand, cloud-based services can be tailored to your operational needs and implemented with a relatively short setup process.
Cloud-based solutions also include data security as a part of their services, helping you ensure sensitive information and data remain private and are only accessed by authorized users. Knowing your organization's data is secure allows you and your team to focus on current action items and collaborate effectively.
Some of the ways the cloud can streamline collaborative processes include:
Tear down silos
Silos occur when your organization stores data in different locations, which become inaccessible to different departments. The first step to streamlining collaborative processes is identifying cloud silos and dismantling them.
Your agency likely uses various applications for specific tasks, potentially leading to cloud silos. When team members use these tools independently, they are disconnected from other team members and the information they may need. Most employees only have access to a few tools but not all the ones your organization may use.
Without access to all tools, your people can only gain all the access they need through continual emailing between departments. Cloud solutions can help increase collaboration and communication throughout your agency to correct the negative effect of these silos. Additionally, innovative communication tools help your team members stay in contact, preventing the risk of uneven knowledge distribution. Instant and reliable communication, such as in-office messaging systems, is essential to productivity, as traditional communication methods, including email, require a team member to wait for a reply before moving ahead with a project.
One way to ensure proper communication is to ensure all departments and team members have access to the same communication solutions. With the same tools, your team can get their work done while quickly connecting with other team members if needed. This is an essential step in reducing the severity of information silos and fully realizing the various benefits of the cloud.
You can use the power of cloud-based technology to bring data and information together that originally may have been housed on various tools or apps. Cloud solutions allow your team to create and implement sophisticated workflows using the power and potential of innovative applications.
Cloud-based solutions provide unparalleled improvements, allowing your agency to streamline workflows and improve productivity and efficiency. An effective cloud solution has the power to dramatically improve daily tasks and operations for your organization.
With network-enabled tools, you can use cloud technology to its fullest potential to ensure your organization is working as efficiently and productively as possible. Some of the ways the cloud can streamline workflows include:
Cloud-based solutions feature many collaborative elements, including voice commands, share-file systems, and meetings, to ensure all team members have access to reliable communication with coworkers. Cloud solutions allow your team members to collaborate, from quick edits to in-depth meetings, helping them create impactful strategies and deliverables each day.
2. Built-in features
Regulatory requirements are a vital aspect for government entities. Fortunately, many cloud-based solutions take compliance into account and offer built-in features to ensure your agency operates within the scope of its regulatory needs. Choose a cloud solution that offers compliance to standards like:
- Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
- International Traffic In Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
3. Search functions
Many cloud solutions have advanced filing and search functions. Sorting through similarly named files can be time-consuming and lead to decreased productivity. Innovative search functions can easily solve this redundancy and allow your team members to access the information they need whenever and wherever they want with ease.
4. Decreased redundancies
For many organizations, redundancies are a common issue that indirectly eat at revenue by decreasing productivity. Redundant files and documents also slow your system down and confuse team members, dramatically reducing efficiency. Cloud solutions feature improved organizational and collaborative elements to save your team time and minimize the possibility of redundancies.
5. Access to analytics
In addition to cloud solutions, there is also the benefit of using smart analytics for data assessment. Traditionally, on-premise hardware required a user to have engineer-level knowledge to determine the efficiency of use. Cloud solutions let you access valuable analytics, allowing your government agency to make effective changes to increase efficiency.
Increase security and ensure compliance
As the cloud becomes an increasingly popular choice, it's essential that your entity enhances security protocols and ensures regulatory compliance. Cloud migration can help increase security and promote compliance with these benefits:
1. User access
Limiting user access with cloud solutions can help minimize certain cybersecurity risks. Generally, it's best to only provide users access to the data they need to complete a project. Restricting access is one important step to minimize the risk of sensitive data being breached by attackers or unauthorized agency members.
Authentication is an essential aspect of improving the security of sensitive data. If a user only needs to supply a username or password to access data, it increases the risk of a potential data breach. Fortunately, MFA provides an added layer of security, making it difficult for cybercriminals to access personal data. MFA requires another level of information for authentication, such as a fingerprint, one-time passcode, or another piece of information.
3. DDoS protection
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is when someone attempts to disrupt the traffic of a network or service by overwhelming it and its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic. As DDoS attacks continue to be a concern, a cloud service provides solutions to prevent a large quantity of traffic to a cloud server. DDoS protection involves assessing, absorbing, and scattering a DDoS attack to minimize its danger.
4. Flexibility of security
The cloud offers a high level of flexibility, providing you with the level of security you need as your organization changes, whether scaling down or up in capacity. If your agency experiences high traffic periods — like during tax season or health insurance open-enrollment periods — your servers will be protected from potential crashing when you scale your cloud solution. When this high traffic period ends, you can scale back to lower costs.
Provide more flexibility and better reliability
Cloud services are incredibly flexible, allowing your agency to respond to changing demands without service delay concerns. The cloud is also incredibly reliable, ensuring your team members have dependable and quick access to data, applications, and services.
When your organization accesses the cloud, members can expect the service to run correctly and smoothly. Cloud connection is also secure without the concern for downtime and interruptions.
These aspects help you measure the reliability of your cloud-based services. Despite cloud-based solutions being exceptionally safe and reliable, there is always the potential for software failure, user errors, server downtime, and other unexpected complications.
Fortunately, proper cloud visualization and planning allow you to address these potential complications efficiently, preventing these issues from causing severe or long-term complications. You can easily build fault tolerance into your cloud infrastructure. When you enforce measures that allow your cloud system to be more reliable, you will experience numerous benefits, including:
- Team members can continue doing their job, minimizing potential downtime or decreased productivity
- There is no equipment downtime, and services and products remain easily accessible and available
- Redundant resources can automatically kick in if the system experiences a complication
Cloud computing reliability is essential for local, state, and federal government agencies. Improper or malfunctioning software can easily lead to lost revenue, decreased productivity, and even lowered agency trust. Before deploying your applications or systems to the cloud, you must test them thoroughly.
Testing your applications against potential real-world scenarios ensures your cloud infrastructure is prepared. Quality testing checks that applications are reliable and will meet and exceed all user experiences.
Create easy access to public data
Your government agency, no matter its size or scope, likely gathers data from its public. Your team has to use that information to meet citizen requests and needs such as unemployment claims and small business loans. Use the cloud to streamline communication within your agency and with citizens, allowing for faster case intake.
You can use cloud collaboration services to gain easy access to public data:
1. In the field
If your government agency employs caseworkers in the field, they can use the cloud to share or access mission-critical data. Your organization can also optimize information and evidence collection, whether you're making reports after a natural disaster or allocating community funding.
Public safety and law enforcement agencies can also use the cloud to benefit evidence capture. That data collection enables analysis and discovery through compliant cloud services, allowing collaboration with authorized attorneys and department personnel.
If your organization focuses on permit approval and construction, the cloud grants streamlined access to transparent licensing requirements and approval. Enhance collaboration with your government subcontractors by file-sharing public information, permits, and blueprints through the cloud.
2. In service centers
With a digital claims process, your agency can cut the time and costs required to intake and process public data. Improve public experience with your government agency when you use the cloud to automate mission-critical operations. Citizens can get quicker results with your service centers, whether they're applying for permits or loans.
If your organization is a healthcare service center, you can better maintain public health through faster claim and approval processes with the cloud. Use mobile case files to benefit your family support services, or collaborate and digitally coordinate patient care with other relevant government agencies.
Gain easy access to public data when your citizens can use frictionless mobile and online services. Both your agency employees and the public can easily find and submit forms through secure cloud portals. Enable the public to complete and submit tax forms and other files for faster service turnaround.
The future of government collaboration in the cloud
As more government facilities realize the benefits of cloud-based solutions, cloud technology will continue to evolve and match the needs of consumers. The cloud can benefit your government entity, improving workflows and introducing innovative solutions, like:
The cloud will continue to provide heightened levels of cybersecurity, offering data protection for sensitive information. You can currently set access on individual levels and ensure users must authenticate themselves before accessing data, significantly minimizing the risk of a potential data breach. In the event of data loss, the cloud also enables your agency to restore lost data by backing it up.
Minimized shadow IT
Shadow IT is when employees use technology systems, software, devices, and applications without direct approval from the IT department. An IT team does benefit your company, and operating without its consent introduces several security concerns. As the cloud provides a higher level of collaboration between team members, your people are less likely to turn to unapproved tools.
Improved citizen services
Cloud solutions let your agency use virtual machines to scale and test ideas without the need for a time-consuming request for hardware or provisioning from an on-premise server. Cloud-based solutions allow you to roll out newer services much quicker to improve citizen experiences.
Consolidated data centers
The cloud provides your government agency the ability to consolidate physical data centers, providing a large amount of annual savings. Choose a cloud model that allows your agency to pay for what it needs. You'll shift capital costs away from cloud maintenance, granting you flexibility with your IT budget and others.
Cloud services enhance mobile access, allowing authenticated users to view data through approved devices and smartphones. Whether your agency has remote or field teams, increased mobility has become incredibly important. Enhanced mobility allows increased collaboration and helps your people stay up to date with citizens and coworkers.
Enhanced quality control
Cloud-based systems allow all documents and data to be stored in one place in one format. With users needing to access the same information, it allows you to maintain consistent data, minimizing human error and keeping a clear record of updates and revisions.
Ensured disaster recovery
While preparing for potential data complications is important, you can never fully mitigate these risks, making it essential to have an adequate disaster recovery plan. Downtime causes lost revenue, decreased productivity, and a negative reputation. While can’t always prevent data loss 100% of the time, you can create an effective and actionable response plan, especially with a CSP that ensures disaster recovery.
Plan for growth
While implementing cloud-based solutions is an important aspect for many government agencies, it is an ongoing process. A proper and effective cloud migration plan involves keeping innovation and evolution in mind, ensuring your organization stays on top of industry trends and implements the best practices for cloud solutions and security.
An implemented cloud solution should be flexible and scalable, allowing you to reconfigure certain aspects to fit your agency’s ever-changing needs. When adopting government interoperability solutions, it is essential to think about their future and growth.
Creating a strong collaboration platform can set a sturdy foundation for your organization to continue to grow. Interoperability solutions don't just involve messaging software and tools. You can examine different opportunities where technology can automate or connect workflows.
Innovative technological advances can connect collaborative tools with in-house platforms to automate the approval process. Employee cloud training is also a fundamental aspect of planning for the future because the more your people are educated on cloud solutions, the more productive and efficient they are.
Cloud fluency through cloud training can provide your team members the confidence and capabilities to innovate faster, minimizing the barriers that traditionally separated technical staff and business staff.
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**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.