government IT soutions Cloud-ServicesI recently saw an interesting post about how more and more cities are relying on the cloud for part of their IT infrastructure. The slideshow highlights a number of large metro areas, and it is very exciting to see places like Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco take substantial steps towards leveraging the power of the cloud. The cloud gives cities abundant and powerful resources without increasing costs. Even better, the cloud makes interoperability between agencies and divisions simple and seamless. From collaboration tools to email, cloud solutions provide robust and always-on infrastructure to cities large and small around the world.

The Right Way to Start a Move to the Cloud

When we talk to neighboring municipal agencies, we almost always find an eagerness to embrace new technology, but a general hesitancy around what the process will actually look like and how it will impact the community in both the short and long terms. Is the transition done all once or in pieces? How do they plan for it? Will systems be down? How hard will it be to train people? When it comes to government IT solutions, we often find that a combination of existing technology and new solutions—brought on a little at a time in many cases—creates a smooth transition to the cloud that brings increases in productivity and decreases in cost without stopping, or even slowing, the work being done.

When considering a move to the cloud—either in part or completely—it is vital that your agency or organization “begin at the beginning.” There are no shortcuts, and that means a network assessment is in order to learn the health and state of the existing infrastructure. A network assessment will uncover what parts of the network are most healthy, which parts need the most improvement, and prioritize what part of your network needs to transition to the cloud first.

Getting the Most Out of the Cloud Can Be Easier Than You Realize

For example, in many cases municipalities are running outdated email software on on-premise servers. Considering the critical nature of email for most organizations, including city, county, and state governments, this is one place where a move to the cloud makes plenty of sense. So what does this move look like? First, an assessment will uncover how your team is using email in the first place. Are you using calendars and sharing contacts? Are there addresses still being supported from workers that left long ago? Does everyone have the same access level to send and receive messages? Once this assessment is done, it’s time to tap into the power of enterprise-class email. Hosted Exchange provides a powerful, cloud-based email solution that increases features without creating chaos. Moving to hosted Exchange will give your agency cutting-edge and secure email that is safely delivered from the cloud.

Another place where the cloud can deliver amazing results for government entities is with document digitization and storage. So many of the agencies we work with are awash in paper files that go back years or even decades. Locating anything in a reasonable amount of time is nearly impossible, and security is often limited to a fragile filing cabinet lock. The cloud offers a better way. Documents and files can be digitized and safely stored in the cloud. Even better, organized taxonomy and powerful search functionality are just a few clicks away. No more spending hours looking for an old tax assessment or water bill while a citizen stands waiting for an answer. With documents stored in the cloud, you and your colleagues can access every page of information in a matter of moments.

Additionally, the cloud presents amazing opportunities for recovering from an interruption event. Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions mean that when something halts your ability to work, you won’t have to wait long to get back online and serving the community. A disaster recovery solution minimizes the time that your agency or department is without access to tools and data—get back online, and you can get back to work. When disaster strikes, it often falls to city and county resources to dispatch help or coordinate community relief efforts. By implementing a cloud-based disaster recovery plan, you can be sure that your community won’t be left waiting for help that you would otherwise be able to provide…if only you had access to applications and data.

Make Your Move to the Cloud with Confidence

We’ve worked with city and county governments as well as individual municipal agencies across the Central Valley to deliver cloud solutions that fit in with existing IT infrastructure. From Fresno to Bakersfield and many points in between, our experience has been that these agencies—like most businesses—are eager to find tools that can help them do even better work. If this describes your city or county government, then we would encourage you to explore a network assessment and form a plan for the future. Knowing how to get to the cloud starts with knowing where you already are. From Los Angeles deploying Exchange to San Jose deploying cloud collaboration apps, it is clear that cities all around us are embracing the cloud as a component of their network. As for your city’s move to the cloud, it will take a unique path, and you’ll need to right partner to get there. Contact us now to learn more about how DiamondIT can help bring the cloud to your municipal agency, department, or division.