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Government’s revised net-zero strategy could put public sector under more pressure to move to cloud

With the UK government due to publish its revised net-zero strategy in the coming weeks, the public sector is being warned it could see itself under more pressure to move to cloud

Public sector organisations could do more to help the government achieve its 2050 net-zero emissions target by moving more of their high carbon-emitting legacy systems to the cloud.

That’s according to digital services provider Kainos, which recently oversaw the migration of legacy systems by Companies House to the cloud, which reportedly enabled the public sector entity to curb its carbon emissions by 94%.

Kainos is of the view that when the next iteration of the government’s Net-Zero Strategy drops by the end of March 2023, public sector organisations will find themselves under increased pressure to shift more of their systems off-premise.

“The public sector will be expected to lead the way in making tangible and measurable cuts to emissions once the Net-Zero Strategy is published,” said Gareth Workman, cloud practice director at Kainos. “But many departments still rely on legacy technology, which wasn’t built with sustainability in mind.

“There’s never been a better time for public sector departments to propel their cloud journeys, especially if they’re to meet net-zero demands and demonstrate quantifiable carbon savings,” he said.

The revised strategy follows the publication of a review, as reported on by Computer Weekly, that featured 129 separate recommendations about what needs to be done to ensure the government hits its net-zero greenhouse gases goal by 2050.

Many of the major cloud providers have made public, time-limited commitments to ensuring their infrastructure runs exclusively on renewable energy in the years to come, which is something Kainos is imploring public sector organisations to take advantage of. “By migrating their infrastructure to major cloud providers, the public sector will benefit from these sustainability initiatives by reducing their direct emissions from datacentres, which falls within the Scope 1 category,” the company said, in a statement.

Read more about cloud and carbon emissions

Aside from moving to the cloud, there are also other steps public sector organisations can take to improve the sustainability of their infrastructure and IT estates, including taking the time to optimise the usage and data storage habits of their cloud setups and applications using automation, for example.

This is to ensure departments only use the IT resources they need and that the underlying infrastructure is managed and monitored to avoid unnecessary CPU peaks.

“Reducing public sector carbon emissions is a journey that starts with cloud migration, but it doesn’t need to end there,” said Workman. “Continued cloud optimisation in the weeks, months and years following migration will play a key role in achieving long-term, auditable reductions to the public sector carbon footprint and public purse.

“Upskilling and reskilling will play a central role in achieving this goal,” he added. “Internal stakeholders must be equipped with the knowledge and capabilities to drive ongoing efficiencies through the cloud. Migration is just the first step.”

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