The public sector is often associated with national, regional and local governments. But the sector is so much broader than that, particularly outside the U.S. Generally speaking, the public sector consists of publicly controlled or publicly funded entities that deliver public programs, goods or services at an international, national, regional or local level. This can include services such as public infrastructure, healthcare, education, law enforcement, research and development (R&D) and, in some regions, government-owned utilities. Occasionally, non-profits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are included as well, particularly if they provide public services or benefits.
Regardless of which category they fall into, most public sector organizations face common challenges such as resource and budget constraints, regulatory and security concerns and inefficiencies around administrative / manual processes to name a few. These challenges also serve as drivers for their digital transformation journey to achieve benefits including:
- Reduced cost and inefficiencies
- Improved decision-making
- Optimized operations and resource allocation
- Regulatory compliance
- Tighter security
- Enhanced value and services
Private interconnection can help address these challenges by directly, securely and dynamically connecting networks, clouds, applications, staff, partners and users.. This enables public sector organizations to improve agility while reducing cost.
Common public sector use cases
From an Equinix point of view, the public sector customers we tend to work with have been government, education, R&D, healthcare and non-profit organizations.
1. Government: Improving efficiency, reducing cost and enhancing services
Many local and national government bodies are dedicated to delivering public services. For example, smart cities are, by and large, initiatives managed by regional and local governments for public benefit. As customer service organizations, these agencies are primarily focused on delivering a better user experience while reducing cost and inefficiencies. For instance the U.K. government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is responsible for conducting driving and emissions tests, roadside checks, monitoring vehicle recalls and ensuring that public transport remains safe. Like other government agencies, DVSA was transitioning away from long-term contracts, minimizing vendor lock-in and moving to open source and cloud where possible. By leveraging an interconnection strategy with Equinix Fabric™ as it moved services to the cloud, DVSA was able to cut latency by two-thirds and slash time for adding new connections from months to hours. As a result, it can now make new services available to staff at more than 500 locations within seconds of being added to the cloud. And reduced vendor lock-in means DVSA can move between cloud service providers (CSPs) to take advantage of better contract terms and save money.
In a similar manner, with the help of MatrixMind, Molenwaard, a municipality in the Netherlands saved $14 million (€12 million) and boosted citizen satisfaction after leveraging Microsoft Azure and Equinix Fabric to deploy its town hall in the cloud on Platform Equinix and establish remote connectivity for its staff.
2. Education and research: The need for speed and partners to collaborate
Academic and research organizations often need to collaborate with others in their field across the globe, as well as process/exchange large volumes of data with high performance computing. As a result, many specialized education and research networks have sprung up to support those needs such as GÉANT in Europe, APAN in Asia-Pacific, AARNet in Australia, CANARIE in Canada and Internet2 in the U.S. These networks leverage internet exchange points to connect with each other and exchange data traffic.
For example, CERN, a European research organization, one of the largest sources of scientific data in the world, provides particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for physics research. Collaborating and exchanging with hundreds of other institutes across the globe requires fast network connectivity. The CERN Internet Exchange Point (CIXP) was established to address those requirements. As the first pan-European internet backbone, CIXP is also the world’s oldest carrier-neutral internet exchange point (IXP) service that is jointly provided by CERN and Equinix. Today Equinix Internet Exchange enables education and research organizations and networks to exchange internet traffic via the largest global peering solution across more than 30 markets. And on Platform Equinix, they also have access to dense ecosystems of providers and partners, including 1,800+ networks, 2,900+ cloud and IT service providers and nearly 10,000 companies and organizations.
3. Healthcare: Staying compliant and improving service
As purveyors of private patient data, healthcare organizations are typically subject to stringent data privacy and compliance requirements in the regions in which they operate – to date, over 132 countries have adopted data privacy/residency laws such as the Health Insurance Accountability and Portability Act (HIPAA), the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) . As a case in point, Avivo Group, a leading healthcare provider in the Middle East, wanted to migrate its Hospital Information System (HIS) to the cloud to optimize IT processes and deliver enhanced patient-centric services. Since data sovereignty laws dictated that patient records remain in the UAE, Avivo chose CloudHPT as its CSP as it was the only provider that offered in-country cloud services. With assistance from system integrator BIOS, Avivo migrated 13 Avivo locations to CloudHPT in the Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data center. The new locally hosted hybrid cloud solution, fully managed by BIOS, is enabling Avivo to focus on its core vision of delivering a seamless, patient-centric experience.
Achieving mission goals efficiently with interconnection
Delivering public services and benefits efficiently on-demand with limited resources is a tall order for any organization. Conventional IT infrastructures were not designed to support rapidly changing needs such as those ushered in by COVID-19. Governments, educators, research and healthcare organizations have all had to pivot quickly to address the growing global pandemic. An IT architecture based on interconnection can help public sector organizations collaborate, innovate and achieve their mission at speed without compromising security, data privacy or trust.
Find out how moving connections to Equinix Fabric can streamline your ability to reach multiple clouds, partners, customers and your own infrastructure by reading the Equinix case study.