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Statistics Canada sees the benefit of migrating to the cloud

Knackles
|Jan 15|magazine12 min read

Government statistics bureau Statistics Canada has announced its intention to migrate all data from its computers onto the digital cloud. 

The data, previously held on servers within the bureau itself, is being integrated into the government’s ‘cloud first strategy’ for operations, which is seeking to overhaul and thoroughly modernise data management. 

Advantages of the cloud

Wary of public anxiety about storing sensitive information on an external source, spokesman Peter Frayne clarified that only “non-sensitive, unclassified information” would be stored at this stage. However, Statistics Canada has made it clear that the move carried two major advantages.

Cost efficiency: By using a third party’s infrastructure, a company doesn’t need to spend money on maintaining its own. These costs can soon stack up, as internal data storage requires server equipment, adequate space to house it and utilities to keep the atmospheric conditions correct. 

Increased data and storage: Unless an organisation possesses some very talented and IT literate staff, it is unlikely that its own data storage facilities could compete with the state-of-the-art capabilities of Silicon Valley. Options like Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive offer terabytes of data per user, along with smoothly designed interfaces and bespoke features.

Top three cloud service innovators

IBM Cloud: Holding roughly an 4% market share, IBM’s platform offers customers over 170 services, including storage, security, analytics and migration. Originally branded ‘Bluemix’, the IBM Cloud features a suite of services that use “AI-intensive workloads” to bolster “data integrity, low latency and parallel processing”. Called ‘Watson’, the AI service can actually run on all current cloud platforms, not just IBM Cloud. “It can run on any cloud and it can connect between them,” CEO Ginni Rometty commented in an article with CNBC. “We think that’s a trillion dollar market and we’ll be number one in it.”

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Microsoft Azure: Holding the second largest share of the cloud market at 14%, Microsoft’s service is truly an industry leader. Categorizing its services into 18 primary functions, including: ‘Compute’, ‘Networking’ and ‘Media and content delivery network’, Azure is available in 140 countries and available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Microsoft’s cloud also gained the distinction of being the first US provider to obtain Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) certification in January 2020.

Amazon Web Services: With a market share of 32%, Amazon leads the rest of the pack by a large margin. Featuring mobile friendly access, serverless cloud functions and databases, AWS also has many of the aforementioned applications of Azure and IBM Cloud. A unique element is the AWS Marketplace launched in 2012, an online store for customers to purchase software, either for personal use or business. More recent developments include AWS Retail Competency. A press release from Amazon explained the new innovation, “AWS Retail Competency saves our customers time and takes the validation process out of the equation as it takes care of the heavy lifting of identifying, vetting, and highlighting industry specialised APN Partners who have proven success and deep technical capabilities when it comes to retail.”

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