Business continuity is of utmost importance for the public sector. Local governments are looked upon as pillars of a community because they provide invaluable services to citizens. For example, issues such as missed service requests can cause widespread utility outages, or gaps in maintenance needs can lead to future failures of critical infrastructure. Having a business continuity plan in place should be a high priority for any local government leader.

The cloud becomes the solution

During times when access to traditional office facilities may be restricted or limited, allowing personnel to safely and securely access data remotely is a key contributor to ensuring business continuity. The best way for a municipality to ensure business continuity through every circumstance is through cloud-hosted systems.

Certain government services are especially vital to citizens during times of need, including access to emergency services, unemployment benefits, payroll and continuity of utilities. If there is a sudden need for municipalities to move to remote work, it becomes critical that they have the infrastructure already in place to be able to continue supporting the community they serve.

What “cloud-first” means for business contintuity

The first step to implementing any cloud initiatives for business continuity purposes is to ensure all essential personnel be able to access the necessary data. Many municipalities have some form of telecommuting capabilities in place – prior to 2020, about 22 percent of state and local governments offered telecommuting options for eligible positions, according to a study done by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

However, due to external circumstances, a government might have no choice but to allow closer to 100 percent of its workforce telecommute. It is important for municipalities to be able to quickly and adeptly meet this swelling need of remote work should it arise. For municipalities, adopting a “cloud-first” strategy – a cloud mindset aimed at leveraging cloud services in all aspects of an organization, not just certain segments – puts them at lower risk of experiencing technical difficulties during a time where remote work is necessary. For the municipalities that have not adopted a “cloud first” strategy, quickly transitioning to a system that can handle the sharp influx of telecommuters can be difficult.

Not every municipality has adopted a true “cloud-first” mindset when it comes to the cloud services they are currently using. Instead, these municipalities have transitioned only a portion of important business functions to the cloud while still housing business-critical applications onsite. Unfortunately, these tend to be unreachable during remote work. This decision to retain business-critical applications onsite can have powerful consequences when employees are unable to access those applications.  

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During times when business continuity is threatened, it is critical that municipalities be able to communicate important information to its personnel and citizens. Adoption of cloud services can benefit a municipality in numerous ways, such as allowing all facets of a municipality’s data to be available to its employees and increasing business agility. By going cloud-first, municipalities can be empowered to deliver greater services, gain the most value from efforts and focus on the top priority: ensuring continuity of services for their communities.