Blog 27 May 2022

More cloud means less greenhouse gas

by Tommy Lai

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Environmental-Sustainability-Report-Netcall

We need to cut CO2 emissions to reach Net Zero, and IT policies can help

The path to 1.5° is a challenge for everyone, including local government and the NHS. They need to consider their own carbon footprints and form policies to shape more sustainable services in the wider community. The digitisation of citizens’ services is just one strand of this.

Moving IT systems to the cloud is a good first step towards net zero. Cloud-based services have less environmental impact than on-premises legacy systems. There are several reasons for this. Cloud-based services are hosted at much larger data centres which use newer, more energy efficient hardware, and generally have carbon reduction measures in place. Also, external data centres use their servers more intensively because they provide services to a number of clients. They allocate their capacity to a number of organisations and use virtualisation to provide a separate “space” for each client.

The economies of scale make a real difference. Large cloud-hosting data centres are very different to smaller IT sites where the servers are generally not fully utilised, yet the systems still need 24/7 energy-intensive cooling. Cloud-based services bring massive efficiencies of scale, and as the client organisations share the hardware, they share the energy consumption as well.

One provider of cloud computing platforms, AWS, estimates that cloud-based IT services can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 88% compared to an on-premise system. This significant reduction in carbon adds up to make a big difference. Analysts IDC write that the transition to cloud computing could save 629 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere between 2021 and 2024.


Accepted benefits of moving to the cloud


Most of Netcall’s customers appreciate the benefits of moving to the cloud. And many have already made the move, or they are just about to. The up-front investment in hardware and software is less and the systems are easier to manage and maintain. Cloud-based IT services have business continuity built in and software updates are provided automatically. Generally a cloud-based solution creates less work for IT teams and gives them piece of mind.  

Cloud-based services also make an organisation more agile and more able to react to change. The business can scale capacity up or down, and it can roll out new applications much faster. At Netcall, we’ve implemented cloud solutions with Patient Hub and Liberty Converse in a matter of days or weeks, not months.


Netcall’s solutions help in more ways


In large organisations, the carbon footprint comes mainly from three areas: energy consumption, travel and procurement. We’re pleased to say that the Liberty Platform helps in all three areas. It delivers the carbon reductions that come with cloud-based solutions, and it also enables people to seamlessly work from home. This reduces the emissions from motor travel. Introducing digital communications to clients, as for example with Patient Hub, brings savings in the procurement of paper, printing and postage. So, our solutions can bring customers several steps closer to their carbon reduction goals.

The University Hospital in Birmingham moved to Liberty Converse and call centres in the cloud to support remote working across six sites. UHB transitioned to the cloud as part of a cost reduction programme which also reduced their carbon emissions and realised another big benefit – their staff can now work from any of their six sites.

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust recently moved its contact centre to the cloud. This freed up the internal network and enabled staff to move swiftly to work from home during the COVID pandemic. In Scotland, the Dumfries and Galloway Health Board chose Patient Hub for its sustainability and modernisation programme. Part of this programme is to avoid waste of any kind. The Health Board uses Patient Hub to manage their appointments digitally and has reduced the number of printed letters they send and their postage costs.


Security in Netcall’s cloud-based solutions


Moving data to the cloud can raise questions about security, but a professional service provider will have all of these covered. There are legislation and standards in place to protect everyone. The GDPR enshrines the privacy of personal data in law, and a responsible IT services provider will be able to demonstrate the integrity of its service by achieving ISO9001 and ISO27001 accreditations.

Netcall’s solutions have a single sign-on with the option of including two-factor authentication. We’d add that our solutions fit with our customers’ IT security policies so that their IT team can still control system access and permissions and follow their usual policies on data destruction.

Ready to find out more? Make your move to the cloud, talk to us about your next steps.


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