Accessing the alternative: Achieving public sector application modernisation

While many organisations face resource and finance-based hurdles, particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the public sector in particular is battling unique challenges

Funding is typically tight and strictly allocated based on the department which most needs it to provide a public service. Additionally, the need to facilitate remote working for employees during the pandemic has stretched already under-strain resources. UK-based councils expressed concern at the end of 2021 regarding budget deficits in the millions of pounds.

It typically means that legacy systems and applications have remained in use due to the cost involved with making the upgrade, plus the time, resources and potential risk associated with a drastic digital change. Digital transformation, including application modernisation, is put on the backburner as public sector bodies firefight immediate issues. Moving IT innovation to the wayside can however create greater problems further down the line.

Problems among public sector bodies

Public sector organisations, such as local authorities representing their region, will typically utilise applications or software that are public-facing, whether it’s communications regarding bin collections, schools or housing. With the public relying on constant uptime of such applications, public sector teams understandably fear any potential disruption, including the risk of incompatibility in the case of a shift to a new, secure and compliant operating system such as Windows 11.

On the surface, it’s a catch-22 situation for businesses. Keeping the old operating system to ensure continued uptime of the critical application could lead to significant costs or critical security issues if it’s breached, while replacing, rewriting, refactoring or retiring the application in the move to a new operating system is typically too expensive and resource-draining. Being able to access a third option, which helps public sector organisations avoid both avenues, is critical for continued business stability.

Tapping into the third option

Adopting a new operating system is essential to avoid the costly venture of paying for basic Extended Security Updates (ESUs) from Microsoft. This is necessary among businesses running end-of-life systems if they wish to continue receiving essential security patches and plug any potential avenues for cyber attackers to infiltrate their business and ensure continued compliance with regulations.

With a new operating system in place, it’s then on to the tricky task of ensuring the public-facing application continues to be reliable and provide value. However, with the help of compatibility packaging solutions from an expert partner, such as Cloudhouse, critical legacy applications can be transplanted to newer systems that would otherwise be impossible to shift. The application can be migrated over to an on-premise, hybrid or cloud system, certified with Microsoft Azure and able to run in Citrix Cloud and AWS.

Retain, replatform, rehost and reduce risks

Rather than be forced to follow the route of rewriting, refactoring, replacing or retiring, public sector organisations adopting this technology can retain, replatform, rehost and reduce their risk.

Public sector organisations can benefit from the retained use of an older application without any time-consuming or costly code changes. Code amendments are also typically a highly specialised task, and employing the appropriate human resource has become increasingly difficult in a challenging job market. Organisations are also easily able to replatform by migrating applications from end-of-life servers to supported platforms. Rehosting is made possible by seamlessly migrating legacy apps to the cloud, while risks are reduced via the phasing out of unsupported platforms to meet compliance and protect against cyber-attacks.

Maintaining evergreen processes and systems is critical to ensure that public sector organisations can allow for continued modernisation in their crucial applications. To enable future external factors to be captured moving forward, state-of-the-art tools can encourage a continuous improvement strategy by offering an effective internal security compliance monitoring solution. With the ability to trap potential changes in configuration drift thanks to policy and integration capabilities, compliance can be continually assured as the technology landscape evolves.

Creating a level playing field

The unique nature by which many public sector organisations are funded has led them to play catch-up with the private sector. However, deploying the right tools allows public sector bodies to prioritise IT innovation and application modernisation, avoiding the potentially catastrophic impact of service downtime. Supporting technology can bring the sector onto a level playing field with digitised private businesses and enable organisations to keep pace with the rapid rate of technological change.

To find out more about the technology challenges facing the public sector, Cloudhouse’s recent whitepaper identifies the top six barriers to modernising applications and operating systems and how to overcome them.


About the Author

Mat Clothier is CEO and Founder at Cloudhouse, he leads the company ensuring that enterprises can give all their applications a future without having to needlessly re-engineer when moving existing Windows based applications to the Cloud or Windows 10. Visit https://cloudhouse.com/public-sector/

Featured image: ©Zinetro

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