UK public sector increase in cloud use

Government organisations are beginning to overcome some of the cloud stigmas and concerns around loss of control and security issues that were initially holding back adoption.

Public sector organisations have been prompted to evaluate cloud based disaster recovery (DR) technologies as a means to ensure resilience in the event of a potential outage in the face of increasing security incidents across both public and private spheres.

One of the largest housing associations in East London and Essex, East Thames, today announced that it will be following the cloud trend by leveraging iland’s Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) with Zerto to increase organisational digitisation, achieve compliance and ensure business continuity.

“Our DR capability had been listed as a risk item by auditors a year ago – that’s not the case anymore. This has been a great introduction to cloud for East Thames, and has given us the confidence to adopt more cloud use cases in the future,” said Paul Clark, Head of Service Operations at East Thames.

By Initiating a ‘cloud-first’ strategy, UK public sector housing association’s can simplify testing, improve reliability and drastically reduces recovery times using iland’s DRaaS.

>See also: Half of the UK’s top local councils have no strategy for cloud

East Thames manages almost 15,000 homes, builds new homes, provides care and support services and offers employment and training programmes to local people.

Business Continuity is important to meet the needs of its customers, but also critical due to regulations from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) of the UK Local Government and Business Continuity steering committee.

As such, East Thames prioritised updating its disaster recovery plans as part of its transition to a ‘cloud first’ strategy, in order to maintain UK government compliance.

The association’s previous DR solution had very high operational costs, was untested and would require significant capital investments to make it fit on an ongoing basis, suggested Zerto and iland.

So what benefits does integrating cloud services into this system produce?

Reduced recovery times from weeks to minutes

East Thames now achieves recovery time objectives (RTOs) in mere minutes – a huge improvement over the previous best case scenario which was measured in days and weeks.

Simplified, non-invasive testing

Using iland’s management console with automated failover and failback, East Thames executes tests on-demand, anytime with no affect to production workloads.

>See also: Majority of public sector hasn’t used G-Cloud in past year

Regular testing on a much reduced time scale has given the IT team the assurance they need to trust their DR plans and address audit requirements.

Agile operations in hybrid environment

With iland co-location services and carrier-neutral data centres, East Thames is able to leverage stretched Layer 2 VLAN technology to maintain the same network addressing scheme on-premises and in the iland cloud.

“We can failover a single VM in a production environment with no scripts or configuration changes required. We can do partial failovers very easily and operate in a truly hybrid environment,” said Clark.

Proven security and compliance

East Thames needed to show its Group Risk and Audit committee that cloud security and data sovereignty requirements could be met by the new DR solution.

Failed over applications are monitored by the iland advanced security settings to ensure ongoing compliance. Further, iland as well as its data centres in London and Manchester are ISO 27001 certified.

Significant cost savings

East Thames is able to achieve cost efficiencies by reserving compute space in the iland cloud and quickly dialing up additional capacity only when required.

The association has also cut costs by eliminating the capital investment required by the legacy DR infrastructure.

>See also: Microsoft opens first UK cloud data centres

“Across industry sectors, we see organisations struggling to address ever-evolving compliance challenges as part of their day-to-day operations,” said David Rushton, EMEA Channel Manager, Zerto.

“These issues only add to the complexity of today’s data centre operations and have triggered IT leaders to focus on the pivotal role of disaster recovery software as well as efficiencies in compliant infrastructure options.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.

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Disaster Recovery