Guest blog: What should underpin a digital transformation strategy?

Unplanned interruptions can happen at any time. While disasters can be devastating, it’s how you are prepared to recover from them that could make or break your organisation. This approach is even more serious for public sector organisations. As government departments look to embrace digital transformation, emphasis must be placed on ensuring resilience of systems. In addition to ensuring business continuity, organisations in the public sector market need to focus on protecting data as this is likely to be sensitive information that must always be safeguarded. According to Deloitte, security concerns are among the top barriers to digital transformation. But how can you prepare for disaster, ensuring business continuity and protection of data in the cloud?  

To address these concerns, its best to tackle them one step at a time - but to always think about the bigger picture. Moving to the cloud is a great way to reduce the risk of hardware-related disasters. However, a chosen provider may be tied to a specific geolocation, and if there is a fault with the data centre at that location, can you quickly swap to an alternative location? This is just one consideration. As well as having a quick recovery time, a robust backup strategy can help mitigate against potential data loss. Should there be a failure on an important database for example, you should have a point in time to recover to; while some data may be lost, it’s not all lost. Combining a quick recovery time with little or no data loss ensures high availability and continuity of service. Implementation of protective monitoring solutions can help identify issues before they become a problem thus avoiding the need to recover in the first place. Of course, having a plan in place is extremely important but regularly testing of that plan is just as important to ensure failover is successful in the event of a disaster. Findings by IDC indicate that as many as 50% of organisations could not survive a disaster event due to untested plans.  

As well as business continuity, another concern for government departments undergoing digital transformation is data protection. Since the introduction of GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 and its associated hefty fines, a data breach could have far-reaching consequences for SMEs. Therefore, it’s vital that considerations are made on how to protect and manage data that flows through the department. This includes both physical protection of systems including configuration and training of staff on the identification of vulnerabilities and how to properly manage data. Another factor that must be considered by government organisations when looking to migrate to the cloud as part of a digital transformation strategy is where their data resides. If the cloud provider is based in a foreign country, they will be subject to the legal jurisdiction of that country meaning that government departments cannot be certain of data residency. Given the choice of cloud providers available to the UK public sector, this consideration is often overlooked in favor of other attributes provided by other larger cloud providers.  

A comprehensive business continuity plan should be considered as part of any transformation project, as it is important to improve citizen facing services but equally important is consistent services and the protection of data.  

Since UKCloud’s inception, data, security and resilience have been a core part of our DNA. We have helped hundreds of public sector organisations undergo digital transformation improving efficiencies and providing better services while always ensuring that these attributes are considered first and foremost. To find out more about how we have helped enable these digital transformation projects, click here.  

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