The government has a lot of data. To illustrate this fact, consider that over the course of 90 days, government websites can receive over 2 billion visits in total. Government databases contain data from millions of citizens, for essential purposes such as voter registration, grant applications, vehicle registration, social security, law enforcement, general statistics and more. And that only begins to scratch the surface of just how vast a government database is.

Understandably then, this large amount of data presents more than a few issues for government agencies when it comes to figuring out how to store all that data. Not least because, as a government agency, there are a lot of considerations that a regular organization may be able to ignore — or at least not be quite as strict about. Things like higher levels of security, compliance, cost considerations, and efficiency. Perhaps that is why so many government agencies still depend on the same old legacy IT systems, viewing it as easier to stick with what they know, rather than risk spending money on unfamiliar new solutions.

However, these legacy systems are often inferior to modern alternatives, and particularly cloud platforms, for a number of reasons. Here are just a view of the reasons why the cloud is a much better home for a government database.

Government agencies are run by the money that they receive from citizens. As such, there are few more important things in many citizens’ eyes than how their money is being spent. With that in mind, most agencies could save a lot of money by transferring their government database to a cloud based solution. Why? Consider that:

Legacy systems are draining resources throughout the government, through the cost of maintaining and updating infrastructure, in training new employees in near-obsolete systems, and in the potential security risks that result from these same, outdated systems.

The core problem caused by all of these expenditures can be described as the “digital dilemma” — the gap between where government agencies want to spend their money and resources, and where they are actually having to spend it: on supporting legacy IT systems. In order to solve the digital dilemma, and to channel taxpayers’ money more effectively, switching to the cloud is essential.

As indicated, legacy systems can often fall short when it comes to security, as the outdated systems lack the protections necessary to combat the techniques of modern hackers, leaving sensitive data exposed. Considering that the average cybersecurity attack costs about $4 million, not to mention the huge problems associated with losing sensitive government data, security is a primary concern for government data storage. Cloud storage is generally viewed as more secure than traditionally stored data, with 65% of IT leaders confident that external cloud storage was either equally or more secure than internal storage systems.
In a similar vein, one of the most important aspects of government IT is compliance. When introducing any new tools or infrastructure to be used in government, it is important that they meet a certain set of regulations. Getting it up to code is important, but also potentially time consuming and expensive. If you opt for a FedRAMP approved cloud solution instead, you can ensure that it will already be compliant without having to jump through any more hoops.

Through using a PaaS or SaaS system, government agencies can enjoy more data-related benefits, beyond superior storage. These kinds of platforms provide the tools necessary to do more with that data — and this goes for every area of government.

For example, artificial intelligence can be used to analyze relevant data to help government employees engage citizens more effectively over email or social media. Furthermore, when citizens have requests or queries, agencies have more immediate access to relevant information, thus serving them quicker or even pre-emptively solving certain common problems.

Or, in a government to business setting, government agencies can interpret data to see where contracts can be offered and manage bids, or view areas where the workforce needs developing.

Platforms like Salesforce Government Cloud provide government agencies with all the tools they need to understand their citizens more fully, and thus serve them more effectively. And since providers like Salesforce are literally in the business of providing these tools, they have a more advanced expertise in relevant subject matter, paving the way for a much more advanced design.

There are few more important things to the security and smooth-running of a government agency than the safe and efficient storing of its citizens’ information. When government agencies let government databases exist solely in legacy IT systems, they are not only creating a security risk, but expending a lot of unnecessary time and money in maintaining them. Just as crucially, they are not tapping into that data in a way that best serves citizens and contributes to an effective government agency in this modern digital environment.

The government has a large amount of data, but with a cloud based storage solution, it does not need to be an equally large burden.

Ready to talk more about the capabilities of the Salesforce Platform for Government? We’ll help you set up a strategy to start connecting people and streamlining processes like never before.