Moving to the cloud

Yarra City Council is leading local government in its move to a public cloud platform.

Many of us are familiar with cloud computing when it comes to storing our photos on iCloud but for councils, the benefits are greater than saving your snap of that on-trend turmeric latte.

Cloud computing can be simply described as having access to secure remote servers to manage, store and process data. It gives organisations the chance to be agile and access infrastructure, platforms and services with greater scope than they could hope for on their own.

Yarra City Council is leading local government in its move to Microsoft Azure, a public cloud platform and infrastructure that provides computing power, network and data storage.

Yarra is using cloud technology to provide its disaster recovery capabilities. The new system provides critical protection for the council’s ability to continue to deliver vital services.

Andrew Day, Yarra’s Director Corporate, Business and Finance, said, “Using Azure means that in the event of a total loss of our main system we have the potential to be up and running within hours, with data loss limited to under a minute in most frontline systems. This is compared to a potential loss of around four hours.”

Cloud-based backup and recovery solutions also help organisations avoid large up-front investment, as well as enabling them to access third-party expertise.

Yarra is also looking to host its frontline systems, including its customer relationship management system, on a cloud platform due to the scalability and data protection that Microsoft can provide.

Yarra began its transition to the cloud to maximise opportunities for flexible working for its approximate 1100 employees.

“Moving to the cloud allows greater flexibility in the way our employees interact with our technology,” said Andrew Day. “Using the cloud facilitates a more mobile workforce, allowing staff to complete tasks when they need to, on the device they have to hand.”

A key step in this process is Yarra’s move to Office 365, which is currently underway. The organisation expects to complete its move to Azure by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s email and social networking services provided through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, as well as access to the Microsoft Office software.

“We continue to look for other opportunities that can be deployed to staff,” said Mr Day.