Publication - Advice and guidance

Scotland's Digital Future: Scottish public sector cloud computing guidance

Published: 1 Apr 2015

Guidance and principles on cloud computing in the Scottish public sector.

Scotland's Digital Future: Scottish public sector cloud computing guidance


Cloud computing offers numerous advantages both to end users and organisations of all sizes. One of the biggest advantages is that you would no longer have to support some or all of your ICT infrastructure. As this responsibility is reduced it allows organisations to focus on their core business. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Cost: This is the biggest headline advantage of cloud computing and is achieved by the reduction in investment in stand-alone software or servers. By leveraging the scalability and flexibility available through cloud computing, organisations can reduce overhead charges such as the cost of data storage, software updates, management etc. The majority of costs are now transferred from CapEx to OpEx and the service price includes all necessary hardware and software. Computing then becomes an operating expense rather than a capital expense. Cloud platforms provide direct visibility into your IT spending where you can see exactly what a cloud platform is charging you for. This greater transparency can help you make better decisions about the services you provide.
  • Increased storage capacity: Cloud computing can accommodate and store much more data compared to a personal computer and in a way offers almost unlimited storage capacity. It eliminates worries about running out of storage space and at the same time it spares businesses the need to upgrade their computer hardware, further reducing the overall IT cost.
  • Scalability: Cloud services enable an individual or organisation to access computer services on a pay-as-you-go basis, with the flexibility to scale up and down as needed for little marginal cost. Scalability is a built-in feature for cloud deployments. Cloud instances are deployed automatically only when needed and as a result, you pay only for the applications and data storage you need. They also provide elasticity, since clouds can be automatically scaled to meet your changing IT system demands.
  • Strong security: Cloud service providers can offer organisations better security, reliability and access to the latest upgrades than would otherwise have been possible through traditional in-house solutions.
  • Energy efficiency: Cloud computing has the potential to leverage modern technologies such as computer virtualisation so reducing carbon footprint due to the more efficient use of computer hardware that requires less electricity and less air conditioning. The cloud is in general more efficient than a traditional ICT infrastructure and it takes fewer resources to compute, thus saving energy. For example, when servers are not used the infrastructure normally scales down freeing up resources and consuming less power. At any moment, only the resources that are truly needed are consumed by the system.
  • Business continuity: With the computing infrastructure typically located in multiple physical locations for improved disaster recovery the process of backing up and recovering data is simplified since it now resides on a cloud infrastructure and not on restricted physical devices. In some cases, the cloud itself is used solely as a backup repository for an organisations data.
  • Core business focus: To enable organisations to focus on their core business, support staff currently employed to maintain hardware can be redeployed in areas that can provide business benefits.
  • Capability: This can provide organisations with the ability to do things quicker and without new investment in servers enabling immediate access to infrastructure.
  • Resiliency and redundancy: A cloud deployment is usually built on a robust architecture thus providing appropriate resiliency and redundancy to its users. The cloud offers automatic failover between hardware platforms out of the box, while disaster recovery services are also often included.


Email: Philip Whitley