The true value of a cloud-native policy

Cloud computing
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It has not taken long for cloud computing to disrupt the technology world. In just over a decade initial skepticism of cloud as a novelty has given way to broad consensus that cloud is the new normal, and is here to stay.

In fact, a report by analyst firm Gartner says cloud computing is approaching the highest level on its disruption scale and will act as a necessary foundation for future disruptions. Furthermore, it suggests the worldwide public-cloud service market grew to $246.8 billion last year.

Industry watchers, academics, and governments increasingly assert that cloud is more than just a like-for-like replacement for traditional methods of computing. Instead, cloud is seen as truly revolutionary—reinventing IT functions, fuelling new services, driving innovation and democratising the barrier to entry for disruptive start-ups. 

However, it is important to note that the continued evolution of cloud and its ability to support economic growth on a global level will be impacted by regulation and policy decisions around its usage. As such, understanding and evolving policy decisions around cloud computing has never been more important for businesses and large enterprises looking to drive efficiency, boost security and accelerate innovation.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

What is a cloud-native policy

Cloud-native is not just about considering cloud before other options, it’s about adapting the way that governments organise their work to take advantage of what’s currently on offer and what’s can be used to increase efficiencies. 

For example, with a cloud-native approach, public sector organisations are able to take advantage of emerging cloud technologies - from IoT to machine learning - to create technology services and applications that are resilient, flexible, and forward thinking. It signals an important shift away from years of favouring on-premises data centres and a move towards cloud being used as default. 

At its heart, a cloud-native policy is there to create value. Whether it be through spurring innovation, creating new business models or improving security posture and compliance governance, it is helping governments to increase efficiency, reduce costs and drive innovation. 

Cloud policies enabling growth 

The good news is that well-designed cloud policies are already enabling organisations around the world to quickly and seamlessly adopt the scalability, security and cost-savings, inherent within cloud technology.

For example, since 2017 we have seen national governments, state governments, and large government agencies issue new policies in favour of public cloud adoption. Key examples include, the Government of Australia issuing its Secure Cloud Strategy, replacing the Government Cloud Computing Policy that was released in 2014; the Government of Argentina promoting a Cloud First policy and the U.S. Department of Defense issuing a directive to “accelerate the adoption of cloud architectures and cloud services, focusing on commercial solutions”.  

These policies demonstrate how cloud-first is fast becoming the norm in governments across the globe. However, the industry has evolved in the last 12 months, we have also seen the introduction of cloud-native policies, designed to further accelerate the way that public sector organisations derive benefit from the cloud.

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Enhancing security and compliance 

Security and compliance are critical issues for governments. The introduction of regulations such as GDPR in Europe mean that concerns over the use and governance of data are at an all time high. As such, having the right policies in place to protect data has never been more vital. It is here that cloud-native plays a key role.  

By proactively selecting cloud over on-premises infrastructure, governments can enhance their security posture - while also boosting flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency. The best cloud platforms come with world-class security baked in enabling customers to automate security and governance controls, and streamline auditing and detection processes - reducing the risk of human error. Additionally, cloud provides security controls built-in throughout the IT management process instead of relying on auditing security retroactively, meaning that threats are identified and tackled in real time.

The result is an automated environment that meets or exceeds assurance, governance, security, and compliance requirements. Crucially, it allows the public sector to demonstrate the implementation of the security standards that are written in their policies and makes it easier to ensure compliance with local and global regulations.

Cloud native - the future of compliance

There is no doubt that cloud computing is the next frontier in how we consume IT services. However, further adoption, innovation and growth centres on having the policies in place to put cloud not only first, but as the default for all application and technological development.  

From agility and cost savings, security and compliance, to privacy and governance, cloud is enabling governments to break boundaries and remove the complexity and human error that can put data at risk. Going forward, we believe that by having a cloud-native policy, governments and institutions can continue to capitalise on the innovation that cloud can offer and support the services that will make a real economic difference, now and into the future.   

Ian Massingham, Technical Evangelist at AWS