Digital transformation helps central and local government make resilience a reality

Sungard Availability Services Ltd explores the pressure central government departments and local authorities are under to achieve more with less and how digital transformation can help to achieve their business outcomes

With spending cuts and population growth a reality, central government departments and local authorities alike are under pressure to achieve more with less. In response, many are forming new partnerships, adopting innovative ways of working or embarking on digital transformation projects.

Finding they lack the resources or specialist expertise in-house, some central government departments and local authorities are turning to Sungard Availability Services, a leading provider of custom production and recovery IT services, to help them achieve business outcomes. Sungard AS successfully partners with government departments, local authorities, housing associations and other public-sector organisations to transform the IT infrastructure underpinning public services and improve organisational resilience.

Many organisations believe they have protected themselves from business disruption by implementing a business continuity plan. But that is no longer enough. Gone are the days when businesses, residents and taxpayers would tolerate downtime while a heroic recovery of IT systems was executed. Today’s citizens expect the organisations they deal with to be always-on, which means public sector organisations need to be both agile and resilient. The government needs to be able to handle change and deliver expected services without interruption, regardless of any obstacles encountered.

In the past, IT systems that were rigid, slow and expensive to change were a barrier to achieving this goal. With organisations today almost completely reliant on technology, there is little incentive to make other parts of the business agile when anchored to IT systems that are rigid, slow and expensive to change.

However, cloud computing offers the agility, flexibility and lower lifecycle costs that free the rest of the organisation to adapt to withstand and even flourish, in response to change.

Sungard AS is constantly evolving its service offering to meet customer needs. Isolated Recovery, a recently introduced service, is one such example:

A successful recovery starts with clean backup data

On average, cyberattacks can remain undetected for up to 99 days. This means there is the real prospect of an organisation having no clean backup data available with which to perform a recovery. To address this, Sungard AS developed its Isolated Recovery solution for customers’ critical applications that need an additional layer of protection.

Platform and operating system agnostic, this service enables customers to create a ‘gold copy’ of critical backup data in an Isolated Recovery vault in a separate, secure location. As data is replicated to the Isolated Recovery vault, customers can perform malware forensics and manage the risk of corruption.

Once the backup process is complete, the direct network connection to the Isolated Recovery vault is air-gapped or shut down. This isolates the gold copy from the network and prevents corruption. Organisations then have a safe backup to restore their data without fear of replicating the malware in the recovery process.

Lastly, because the Isolated Recovery vault stores multiple gold copies, all with retention lock, a rollback to days or weeks beforehand is possible if needed.

Council benefits from flexible, agile and resilient IT at lower cost

Enfield Council was prompted to embark on a programme of digital transformation when its contract with an outsourcing provider came to a premature end. The forward-thinking local authority saw it as an opportunity to grasp the flexibility and cost-savings achievable through exploiting cloud technologies. A seamless transition, with no degradation of services, was essential.

With the time being of the essence, the council turned to Sungard Availability Services, its longstanding disaster recovery provider, to guide it through a phased transformation programme. This involved helping the council transition to the Microsoft Azure cloud within an aggressive timescale and hosting remaining legacy systems in a secure, resilient environment. The migration was executed on time and within budget, so smoothly that those council employees were unaware that it had taken place!

Enfield Council is now benefiting from highly available and secure infrastructure with SLA-backed levels of uptime, lower IT running costs and greatly enhanced flexibility and scalability. As well as anticipated headline savings of 30%, it also has more predictable IT infrastructure spend with costs moving from the CapEx to OpEx budget and greater cost-effectiveness as it pays only for services used.

Government department retains control without the headaches

Sungard AS also works with central government departments to achieve their ‘cloud first’ ambitions. One key department needed a cloud partner it could depend on to host four important applications and provide a disaster recovery service to minimise downtime.

It contracts Government Cloud Services from Sungard AS, which has been Cyber Essentials Plus-certified, via the Digital Marketplace. Under the G-Cloud call-off contract, Sungard AS provides the department with an enterprise-class, multi-tenancy, IT infrastructure

in a secure hosted environment, resiliently connected. This means the department retains control over its all-important applications without the burden of owning and managing the underlying infrastructure. While this comes with the assurance of 99.99% uptime, the department contracts Cloud-Based Recovery to cover its hardware and operating system.

OFFICIAL data is hosted within two UK-based data centres, supported around-the-clock by a dedicated, security-cleared operations team. In addition, the department can scale up quickly and easily according to demand.

Of course, some legacy systems are not suitable for the cloud so Sungard AS works with whatever infrastructure the organisation has, including the most complex Hybrid IT environments, providing comprehensive consultancy support.

To find out more about Sungard AS’ services, call +44 (0)800 143 413 or email Government@sungardas.com .

Please note: this is a contributor profile

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