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Cloud Service Providers: Modernizing the Public Sector

Cloud service providers (CSPs) offer on-demand access to compute resources, storage and applications via the cloud. With cloud services managed for them, organizations can focus their full attention on their use cases. CSPs provide public sector entities such as government agencies, educational institutions and public healthcare providers an opportunity to achieve their service mission more efficiently. In this article, we’ll share how cloud service providers support the public sector, focusing on advanced data analytics, AI/ML development and other big data use cases.

What are cloud service providers?

Cloud service providers are companies that provide access to cloud-based resources including storage, processing power, databases, networking, software applications, and more. CSPs such as Snowflake also offer the infrastructure for end-to-end ML workflows, including the development and deployment of advanced AI applications. Government entities and other organizations in the public sector are shifting away from costly on-premises IT infrastructure in favor of cloud resources with near-zero maintenance, on-demand resources and consumption-based pricing.

Federal legislation has accelerated this departure from legacy systems and technologies. For example, the U.S. Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act pushes agencies to modernize their infrastructure and IT resources while the Modernizing Government Technology Act allocates funding for new investments in cloud services. In addition, the President’s Management Agenda and the OPEN Government Data Act (HR 1770) have created an environment that helps federal agencies drive cloud adoption and data collaboration to a greater degree than ever before. 

What Cloud Service Providers Offer the Public Sector

Government agencies and other public sector entities such as school districts, universities and public healthcare systems are looking to cloud services to modernize their IT infrastructure and lower costs. Partnering with a cloud service provider allows public agencies to improve the quality of their services and better meet the needs of the citizens and constituents who depend on them. Here are five benefits of using a cloud service provider.


With on-demand compute and storage, cloud service providers eliminate the need for costly upgrades to accommodate future growth. Public sector entities can elastically expand or contract resources based on current needs. Thanks to consumption-based pricing, organizations can tap into additional resources during periods of peak demand while avoiding paying for excess capacity when it’s not needed.

Cost savings

Without the requirement for expensive hardware purchases and data center infrastructure, public sector entities can significantly reduce costs. Many CSPs, including Snowflake, offer fully managed services, reducing in-house maintenance burdens to near zero. A fully managed platform can support data management, security, governance, availability and data resiliency ― reducing risk and improving operational efficiency.

Robust security and governance 

As the importance of securing sensitive data grows, state-of-the-art security tools and practices are becoming more crucial. Some cloud service providers, such as Snowflake, are FedRAMP Authorized (High). This means they have been independently verified to have met the stringent requirements outlined by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). Even for public service entities outside of the federal government, partnering with a FedRAMP Authorized provider validates commitment to maintaining comprehensive data security and governance practices. 

AI development and innovation

Cloud service providers supply the tools needed for developing and deploying advanced AI applications. A CSP can enable organizations to quickly build features, train models and deploy them into production without having to move or copy data outside its governance boundary. This enables public sector entities to tap into the potential of AI to increase  quality and efficiency. 

Secure data collaboration 

Cloud services enable secure data sharing across the organization and with external partners, creating seamless connections across regions and clouds. For example, with Snowflake’s secure data sharing, the public sector can securely share live, governed data without extract, transform, load (ETL) processing. This approach replaces inefficient and inherently insecure methods such as emailing spreadsheets or executing batch processes that require extracting, copying, moving and reloading data. 

How Cloud Service Providers Empower the Public Sector

Using cloud-based resources, government entities can rapidly deploy new applications, process big data workloads, and collaborate with other agencies and the public with secure data sharing. Here are a few examples of how cloud service providers are empowering the public sector. 

Federal government: DOD CJADC2

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is developing a concept for a single platform that would enable secure data sharing among all military branches. The project, the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2), uses cloud service providers to build a holistic common operational picture across the military services. With a multi-cloud, multi-cluster, shared data architecture, the DOD can leverage the scale, performance,  elasticity and concurrency required for complex, multi-domain operations. In addition, the software-as-a-service model eliminates the complexity that exists in both open source and legacy systems. It enables continuous collaboration across all domains and streamlined decision-making. 

State government: California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System 

Cloud service providers enable public sector entities to store, integrate and govern massive volumes of data across departments and organizations. California’s Cradle-to-Career (C2C) Data System has created a single source of truth to provide a holistic, longitudinal view of an individual that identifies which services made the most impact. This statewide data system offers tools students can use to reach their career goals, and provides policymakers and communities with data-driven insights on education and workforce outcomes.

Local government: Optimizing public transit (advanced analytics)

Advanced analytics methods help local transit authorities identify disparities in services. Combining operational and transit data with demographic and equity data allows transit authorities to make more informed decisions on where and how resource investments should be made to improve the availability of public transit in underserved areas.

Public education: Streamlining document processing

Education is a paperwork-heavy profession. Document intelligence uses AI methods such as natural language processing to automatically extract usable data from unstructured sources such as forms, documents and handwritten text. Educational institutions including public schools and colleges can use document intelligence to organize, classify, tag and search text documents. Document processing can streamline workflows including student application processing, transcript evaluation, and the analysis of job applications and resumes during the hiring process

Snowflake: The Cloud Service Provider for the Public Sector

Snowflake is a cloud service provider designed to meet the needs of the public sector. The Government & Education AI Data Cloud empowers organizations with a cross-cloud data platform to tackle their most critical challenges, providing access to an ecosystem of partners that deliver pre-built solutions and industry data sets to support diverse use cases across government and education.  

Snowflake enables teams to share data securely and seamlessly while collaborating with key stakeholders in the organization and across agencies. Agencies can now collaborate seamlessly and virtually instantaneously, sharing critical insights previously buried in siloed departments, while retaining control of their data at near-unlimited scale. With Snowflake, public sector entities can make more informed decisions and improve program efficacy by easily combining multiple data sources, regardless of source or format, to generate a holistic view of citizens, students and patients.