In 2000, the United States population was roughly 282 million. In 2019, it’s almost 329 million.

As populations grow, so must the ability of local governments to serve them. In order for a local government agency to do so successfully, it must have the capability and room to develop better systems and services in response to their growing citizen base.More people will be applying for housing and business permits. More will be registering their vehicles and registering to vote. These small indicators of population growth can put a big strain on systems not equipped to handle the increased input. Technology has long been a great equalizer when it comes to keeping up with increased citizens demands and expectations.

Sometimes the software a government agency uses has been in use for a decade or more and becomes slow, and at the very worst, stagnant. It serves its purpose and agencies look to avoid the risk of implementing something unknown or unproven. Local governments have budgets they have to stick to and taxpayers to answer to, so they can’t purchase new software every time their population ticks up or they outgrow the use of their current software system.

Enter the cloud. Most government agencies are shifting their systems onto cloud-hosted platforms because a major benefit of the cloud – and solution to the government’s growing challenges – is scalability.

The cloud empowers scalability for smart growth through efficient integrations and streamlined accessibility, allowing agencies to perform better and react faster to the needs of its citizens. There is minimal down time as there is no need to replace existing systems in order to scale up or down, making it an attractive feature of the cloud.

Being able to adapt easily and efficiently is a key indicator of future success for any government agency. Here are three key ways cloud scalability impacts governments’ ability to respond to growing needs:

1. FLEXIBILITY

Whether agencies need to scale up to meet the needs of their growing population or scale back on some resources that are no longer needed, the scalability of the cloud allows for this flexible growth.

2. COST SAVINGS

Agencies would no longer need to purchase new software every time their needs change. There are no large upfront costs associated with scaling, as it’s already a feature of the cloud. In many cases, you only pay for what you use. Agencies can better allocate their IT resources to focus on other priorities, instead of needing to manage onsite systems that can be more vulnerable in case of natural disasters or cyberattacks.

3. EFFICIENCY

Another benefit of scalability is the ability to handle heavy loads of traffic that come with little to no warning. Seasonal spikes in traffic – such as end-of-year reporting or financial needs during tax season – can cause an onsite system to slow down significantly or even crash completely. The ability to scale proactively in preparation for expected growth or reactively to sudden changes on demand is vital for government agencies.

Going forward, population size will continue to increase, and governments will need to continue to meet the increased demand that stems from this growth. Cloud scalability allows for government agencies to proactively prepare for and scale up in response to their growing populations.