Prior to his pending retirement in May 2017, Prison Ombudsman Tom McGonigle talks to David Whelan about the role of his office and the latest annual report. In March 2016, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed legislation to support placing the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland on a statutory footing. Tom McGonigle believes this is a...
The benefits of adopting cloud services of whatever flavour – be it private or public – have been well rehearsed around the world. Most of us are regularly using cloud services on a daily basis whether we know it or not, mostly driven by smartphones and tablets which have become indispensible parts of our lives. IT managers tasked with providing ever more complex technology to a growing workforce, often with a reduced budget, are increasingly using cloud solutions.
The reality of increasing costs, flat-lining or declining budgets and the challenge to improve services is at odds with the burden of an ageing infrastructure, often with outdated IT systems that simply cannot keep pace with demands of volume and service quality. The benefits of moving to cloud services – where infrastructure is constantly updated, combined with the ability to rapidly scale to meet both planned and unplanned demand and the ability to pay as you go – are hard to ignore. This new way of underpinning our ability to deliver better services is certainly attractive.
In healthcare, cloud solutions represent the single greatest method of ensuring that up-to-date clinical information is securely available as required. This can substantially reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment, as well as ensuring that some patients are able to be serviced by primary and community models of care rather than utilising scarce secondary care resources.
Adoption of cloud across the public sector would fundamentally change the way an organisation operates and, despite the obvious benefits, we all know this is easier said than done. So while work has started, and in some areas progressed well, wholesale adoption of cloud has yet to be realised.
We shouldn’t fall into the trap that on-premise equals secure. Of course, we make sure that we deploy the latest tools available to protect our network and data but there are real threats from within our own walls. The biggest threat can come from colleagues, often through human error such as the lost data key, stolen laptop, or even files left behind on public transport.
Organisations that do spend time adequately securing their infrastructure and locking down access and devices can overlook the ease with which a member of staff can send confidential data to a printer and remove that from the building. Perhaps the unease about the security of cloud services is linked to the fact that in most cases we don’t really know where the data is and how it is being managed and secured. To address this challenge and ensure that organisations can take advantage of cloud services, with reassurance around security, Capita has created Capita Private Cloud which offers a secure UK-based, pay-as-you-go, cloud platform where you can combine private, public and hybrid cloud services. The enhanced infrastructure offered by Capita Private Cloud means that IT teams can focus on their core objectives knowing that secure, flexible and private storage capacity is always on hand. When seasonal or unexpected changes in demand for citizen services place added stress on IT systems, extra capacity can be made available in minutes not months. Customers can choose exactly what they need and only pay for what they use, just like turning on a tap. The fact that Capita Private Cloud uses Capita’s UK data centres guarantees data security and sovereignty.
Making cloud even more accessible to the public sector is Capita Productivity Hub – a suite of services built with Microsoft technologies and delivered via Capita Private Cloud. This meets the most stringent of data security legislation faced by health, local and central government organisations.
Capita Productivity Hub offers UK customers familiar Microsoft applications such as Outlook, Lync, Sharepoint, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It allows organisations to increase productivity by offering trusted applications on the go and on their choice of device. In addition, the Capita Productivity Hub assures that customers will always have access to the latest versions of these applications.
To transform our services and adapt to the new economic reality, we need to integrate cloud services into the infrastructure. Ensuring that we understand how and where data is stored and secured is a key factor in having the confidence to get all of the advantages that cloud services bring.
Ed Brown, Managing Director
Capita Managed IT Solutions
T: 028 9085 9085