Security and Cloud Services are top priorities for State CIOs

On December 6, NASCIO released their annual top 10 priorities list for State CIOs, and it’s no surprise that the top priorities have not changed with security taking the top spot and cloud services in second.  Association president and CIO of Delaware, James Collins, stated in a prepared statement with the release that, “Increasing efficiency and fostering innovation are clearly indicated as key objectives for state CIOs in 2019.” He goes on to say, “Partnerships with state agencies and private IT companies are key ingredients for transitioning to NASCIO’s ‘CIO as Broker’ operating model.

Communications systems are vital components of any private or public entity.  In times of crisis or everyday moments, agencies need to be available for their citizens, and cloud solutions can effectively meet those needs.  Here’s why state and local agencies need to adopt FedRAMP authorized Unified-Communications-as-a-Service solutions.

Cloud-Based UCaaS Enables Agency Digital Transformation

There has been significant conversation on the federal level on working to modernize agency IT solutions with cloud-based solutions, but the benefits go beyond transition and IT modernization.  Cloud-technologies and UCaaS are transformative.

How does UCaaS transform state and local agencies?

Unified-Communications-as-a-Service, or UCaaS, combines voice, text, video, mobility, presence, conferencing, and customer care all in one predictable, user-based subscription model.

Security and Cloud Services are top priorities for State CIOs

Facilitates Workplace Transformation

Today’s workforce is mainly comprised of Millennials, and these digital natives are demanding more access to digital strategies to perform their duties effectively.  Traditionally, the public sector has struggled to recruit and retain young, talented professionals due to the rigid policies of previous years.  But the cloud is changing that, transforming the old ways of working.   Features such as messaging, mobility and video conferencing are enabling the workforce to work from anywhere at any time and maintain consistent communication and visibility with the rest of the staff.

Increases Productivity

The trends toward mobility and flexibility in where and when an employee works are not just a fad, even in the public sector.  The reality is that telework is no longer a benefit but a requirement.  The Federal government has recognized this with the passing of the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act earlier this year.  The International Telework Association and Council reported that telework increases employee productivity by 22%, while decreasing absenteeism by 60% and churn by 20%. From a government perspective, the first Federal Work-Life survey released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) earlier this year found that federal employees who take advantage of telework opportunities report being “more satisfied with their jobs and ultimately perform better.”  The Congressmen who championed the bill were quoted as saying, “Telework is a valuable tool for not only government efficiency, but also recruitment and retention of a talented federal workforce.”  It is not a big leap to assign these benefits to state and local agencies as well.  UCaaS enables telework seamlessly, streamlines technical setup and end-user training, delivers greater regional and national communication, enables workers to be more efficient and on top of it all reduces an agency’s overall communications costs.

Transforms Employee Safety and Emergency Response

A common objection to solutions such as UCaaS is the ability to connect with the 911 network.  Over the years, the technology has made leaps and bounds in this area, especially as more and more residents have moved from PSTN to VOIP connections like cloud-based UCaaS works from.  As a result, e911 was developed and is a standard feature in collab9’s UCaaS solution.

Enhances Continuity of Operations

In many ways, state and local agencies are even more at the forefront in helping citizens in the event of a natural disaster or other events, since the agency is completely aware of what is occurring, without an outside source informing them.  Things like wildfires and hurricanes can directly affect these agencies, along with their constituents.  UCaaS helps solve these challenges.  Geo-redundancy enables the failover of critical voice communications to another location, allowing for all phone calls to be re-routed to an active location and reduces the risk of a phone outage during a disaster.   This topic is explored in greater detail How Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) Protects State and Local Agencies’ Ability to Communicate in Disasters and, Cloud Moves Unified Communications from a Risk to an Asset.

Increases the security of communications data

Cyber-security is a critical concern of many state and local agencies, as the NASCIO Top 10 Priorities shows, with the topic coming in as the first priority.

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Here is where the FedRAMP comes in, even for state and local agencies.  Collab9’s best-of-breed UCaaS solution is FedRAMP authorized, meaning it has undergone stringent security assessments, ensuring that the solution can maintain the confidentiality of any data sent across the network.  The IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS) is one proponent of state agencies using FedRAMP authorized providers, and even shares in the States Cybersecurity Principles and Best Practices document how state agencies should  “utilize FedRAMP certification to better inform their acquisition of quality cloud products and services. When looking to standardized cybersecurity, states should avoid trying to reinvent the wheel, and should instead embrace existing standards developed by industry and leading professionals.”

Reduces Communications Costs

Many federal agencies are strapped for finances to modernize any of the IT systems currently in place.  Statistics have been shown that 80% of a federal agency’s IT budget goes to maintaining legacy systems, leaving little for IT modernization.  As a result, the federal government has implemented several bills to aid Federal agencies in removing this barrier.  But even though state and local agencies are not eligible for these funds, there is a way around the barrier of limited budgets.  To start, by moving to a cloud-based UCaaS solution, agencies reduce the capital expense needed to maintain and update these legacy on-premise communications solutions.  Instead, the infrastructure becomes an operating expense and a subscription-based solution, and can even reduce real estate and energy costs as these become the responsibility of the provider.  Additionally, much of the telecom equipment the agency already has can be used, reducing the burden of a large capital expense and enabling the agency to migrate on their own schedule and as funds become available.

Cloud-Based Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) Solves NASCIO priorities for Cloud Services

State and local agencies have significant challenges in modernizing their IT solutions, but there are offers out there that can ease the burden.  Collab9’s unique best-of-breed solution enables agencies to shift resources as funds become available by utilizing portions of the already existing solution.  Not only that, but the flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions are allowing agencies to manage rapidly changing missions and enhancing their communications infrastructure efficiently.

Are you ready to make the change?  Speak with one of our specialists today and see how collab9’s Best-of-Breed UCaaS solution can aid your agency’s mission.

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