More and more local government agencies and municipalities are adopting a more efficient future by making the switch to the cloud.

Gartner estimates that government spending on cloud technology will increase 17.1% per year through 2021. The reasoning is simple. The cloud is not just a “virtual computer” floating somewhere out in cyber space. It’s a collection of constantly evolving tools and services that enables a strong and lasting IT foundation.

Among the most valuable features the cloud offers to public administration agencies are:

1. Speed

When speed meets efficiency, everyone wins. From your IT professionals and employees to citizens who engage with your agency, switching to the cloud makes it much easier to get up and running faster, because there is no need to spend time buying and setting up unnecessary hardware. Which leads to…

2. Easier Maintenance

All routine maintenance that used to disrupt workflow is now done by the provider – not you. Pay less attention to maintaining behemoth on-premise systems and instead invest more time in transformative business initiatives.

3. Cost Efficiency

When time is lost, money is lost; and with budgets tightening across the board, having to do more with less is critical. Currently, state CIOs report that cost and economics are one of the three main drivers for migrating to the cloud. Budgets no longer have to be redirected to maintaining outdated and inefficient software. The cloud is cost-effective because maintenance, set up and the latest updates are always taken care of by the provider.

4. Scalability

Scalability is another reason why more agencies are choosing the cloud. Cloud-based solutions allow your organization to grow efficiently through smart integrations, streamlined accessibility and flexible functionality. Leveraging the cloud allows you to have the right-size software solution for your agency without being locked into a product you could quickly outgrow, or costly extra features you don’t need.

5. Security

One thing every organization faces, no matter how large or small, is an increase in cybersecurity threats. Governments especially are becoming an increasingly attractive target for cyberattacks; in fact, the ICMA reported that 60% of local governments experience cyberattacks daily. So what features should your agency be looking for when it comes to cloud security?

Leverage the power of security experts in your favor. When your organization uses the cloud, your agency’s data is protected by professionals who are keeping up with the latest security risks and deploying countermeasures so you don’t have to.

Environmental risks like natural disasters, fires, floods and unexplained power outage failures can also devastate your agency’s on-premise systems, either temporarily or permanently. When your systems are stored in the cloud and not in security prone, stand-alone environments, they are protected from the unexpected.

Technology has changed the way we interact with every aspect of our lives. Today, individuals expect –they demand – a simplified day-to-day experience. It’s time to rise to the challenge of meeting those evolving expectations and defend your agency’s data against cyberattacks. And it’s possible to do all of this while uncovering new efficiencies for your operations workflow.

The world is moving fast, but technology is moving faster. Your agency has two options: keep up or get left behind. When faced with the question of what direction you’re going to lead your agency, choose the cloud.