Cloud computing

Explore the cloud options that are currently available to ministries and organization.

Last updated: August 11, 2023

On this page

Cloud computing in the B.C. government

Cloud technology represents the next big shift in the B.C. government’s digital transformation. Many of the common tools we use to streamline our processes, collaborate with colleagues and communicate and engage with citizens and clients are now being accomplished on the cloud.  

Cloud computing has the potential to: 

  • Increase the agility, flexibility and speed of delivery for digital services 
  • Remove the big, up-front investments in technology to enable scaling up or down quickly 
  • Provide much-needed flexibility and the ability to respond to changing demands 
  • Enhance collaboration, limiting the duplication of solutions and reducing the amount of maintenance effort required from ministries 

Pick the cloud option that works best for you

Any ministry or organization within the B.C. Public Service can explore and purchase cloud services, as long as their intended use of cloud services meets legal and policy requirements. 

If you need help deciding which service is right for your business needs, consult with your Information Management Branch (IMB). 

Private cloud

Build and deploy applications on the B.C. government’s private cloud, a reliable and secure application hosting platform for deploying and running government services. 

Powered by the Red Hat® OpenShift® Container Platform.  

Public cloud

Build and deploy applications with pay-as-you-go public cloud hosting services. Current cloud service providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Only available for B.C government ministry teams. 

Software as a service (SaaS)

SaaS are online tools that support your work and processes.

You can use pre-built cloud software to facilitate communication, business processes and Agile delivery. 

Includes popular tools like Mural and Jira. 


Considerations before moving to the cloud

A cloud solution is only appropriate if it meets your business, privacy, security and system requirements. 

Security and privacy

If you are planning to use cloud services, you will need to work closely with your ministry or organization’s information privacy, security and procurement specialists to ensure information is always treated with a high standard of protection and care. 

These specialists can help you consider relevant privacy, security, and procurement policies and legislation, including: 

Cloud economics

Saving money by using cloud services is possible, but it isn’t always the case and most often isn’t the most significant benefit. Two key features of cloud are:

  • Someone else owns and maintains the computing infrastructure
  • You only pay for the computing power and storage you use

Cloud providers make use of economies of scale by providing access to shared infrastructure to many clients. This helps them offer a unit cost lower than most organizations can achieve when considering total cost of infrastructure ownership.

This also means organizations don’t have to purchase and maintain infrastructure capable of handling peak use or carry excess storage capacity, instead one can pay only for what is needed as it is needed.

Making the economics work

Right-sized provisioning: Cost optimization requires purchasing an appropriate service level – inefficiency occurs when users either over-purchase services relative to their needs, or under-purchase and incur higher unit costs as they consume more than allowed in their service level agreement.

Active management: As multiple users can use on-demand compute and storage services, ongoing management is required to ensure individual users are right-sizing services and not leaving paid-for capacity unused.

Plan for storage access: Cloud storage prices change based on how often storage is accessed - this means users can either pay too much for by purchasing storage with easy access when not needed or incurring additional costs by exceeding access limits.

Prepare for troubleshooting: Level of system visibility can be lower for cloud services than on premise hosting; be prepared for a higher resource requirement for troubleshooting.

Select suitable migration candidates: Contracted resources are typically required to support migration; consider architecture and infrastructure needs/complexity – the more spent on migration the longer the time-to-ROI; further, if solutions use shared infrastructure, a reduction in footprint is not possible unless all connected solutions migrate.

Account for ancillary costs: IP addresses, domain resilience and data transfers into, out of and between servers, data backup requirements need to be considered when preparing budgets.

Build capacity: Developing solutions using cloud and onboarding legacy solutions requires a specialized technical skill set; developing this capacity internally provides long-term financial benefits as it reduces reliance on contracted resources; however, this comes with a short- to mid-term opportunity cost related to time and training investment.