Smart multicloud policies: Golden ticket to modernising IT infrastructure

By Sandie Nkonqa, Sales Director: Public Sector, Dell Technologies South Africa.

Johannesburg, 09 Apr 2024
Sandile Nkonqa - Sales Director Public Sector, Dell Technologies South Africa.
Sandile Nkonqa - Sales Director Public Sector, Dell Technologies South Africa.

South Africa’s public sector organisations are facing serious IT challenges, but have been left without the tools to address them. From cyber security threats to unprecedented data management complexity to systems outages, outdated IT hinders government’s ability to provide important services in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

Our technology infrastructure should receive the same attention and investment as our roads, bridges, energy and broadband infrastructure. Instead, current policies deter government IT leaders’ ability to choose the best solutions to meet modern challenges. Public agencies are too often using outdated technology and face too many barriers to effectively modernise their systems.

Modern technology can empower South Africa’s workforce through skills development, enhance service delivery and drive the progress and prosperity of our nation. However, for government to better leverage technology to provide critical public services, policymakers must support policies to modernise IT infrastructure.

Public sector agencies have been slowly upgrading IT infrastructure over the past decade by shifting to a public cloud computing model. This is primarily driven by the promise of increased efficiency, lower costs and improved continuity to enhance the services they offer to the public. While many government organisations have taken advantage of the flexibility public cloud computing offers, given privacy, compliance and security concerns, this approach does not work in every situation. It is critical that IT leaders have the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective solutions that best meet the needs and security of their mission.

Government agencies should consider a multicloud by design approach, using cloud services from multiple public and private cloud providers. While a single-cloud strategy might seem simpler, it limits service offerings and often commits organisations to a single vendor, which often costs more in the end. A multicloud approach to cloud computing is used for better data control, allows access to the best services from each provider, and offers more flexibility as IT leaders can optimise workload placement based on workload requirements. Government agencies – and, ultimately, taxpayers – that adopt multicloud approaches can also have greater control over cost, which is critical at a time when research firm IDC estimates that nearly two-thirds of organisations are spending more on cloud than initially budgeted.

Policymakers need to make this multicloud modernisation process a reality by:

  • Investing in technology modernisation, thereby allowing government agencies to replace legacy equipment with upgraded multicloud computing solutions that will ensure agencies can provide critical services quickly and securely.
  • Requiring all public sector agencies to conduct multicloud computing readiness assessments through an evaluation of current IT infrastructure, processes and policies to determine the best path for adoption. The assessment should evaluate whether the agency’s applications are considered cloud-enabled, the cost of migration, if the cloud computing solutions meet security and compliance requirements, as well as the impact on civil service employees.
  • Reinforcing the universal adoption of South Africa’s national data and cloud policy, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of the state to deliver services to its citizens, ensure informed policy development based on data analytics and promote secure data sovereignty.

We cannot fight off cyber attacks and provide the best services possible in the digital age with inadequate and outdated IT infrastructure. Adopting a multicloud approach will help securely manage critical data, cut costs and allow for our government to use the solutions that are most effective to meet our citizens’ needs.


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