How to Buy AWS Cloud for the Public Sector

Discover the acquisition steps and best practices you need to start your government, education, nonprofit, or healthcare organization journey to cloud.

Buying cloud is different from buying traditional IT infrastructure and services. Cloud computing requires a shift in the way that organizations acquire IT infrastructure to operate business systems and digital services. Tens of thousands of public sector customers are already using efficient cloud-centric procurement processes to quickly launch Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud services.

This page outlines cloud acquisition topics that are important to consider, which include: operational and cultural implications, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and key considerations to enable innovation and save costs down the line.


Getting Started with Cloud Acquisition

If you’re new to the cloud, working in a non-technical role, or looking to learn the fundamentals of how to buy AWS Cloud, our AWS Getting Started with Cloud Acquisition digital course is the place to start. This no cost course is designed to help anyone to upskill and start their learning journey to AWS through effective cloud acquisition practices.

Don't know where to start?

Buying cloud computing services takes different skills and strategies than those required for buying traditional IT services. To make sure you are ready to start on your cloud acquisition journey, read our blog 6 steps to cloud procurement readiness. If you are ready to buy, we invite you to review our FAQs below.

Note that AWS specialists are available to meet with you to talk through acquisition considerations for cloud services. Please contact us.

  • When should I involve my key stakeholders?

    To provide effective cloud acquisition, engage all stakeholders in your organization—not just your procurement lead—early and often, including:

    • Line of business/business leadership
    • Legal/contracts
    • Security/compliance
    • Governance
    • Compliance
    • Finance/budget
    • Technical/IT
    • Procurement/commercial

    Work with each internal stakeholder to:

    • Help them understand what cloud is and how the cloud will affect their area
    • Understand how they will need to change and adapt internal skills and processes to maximize the benefits of the cloud
  • How does AWS Cloud pricing work?

    Our approach to pricing is to provide transparent and publicly available pricing to all our customers. Unlike legacy IT, cloud customers:

    • Use a pay-as-you-go model with on-demand, utility-like pricing
    • Have no upfront costs
    • Are not required to make a long-term financial commitment

    Learn more about how AWS pricing works » 

    Learn how to optimize and save with AWS »

  • How is security managed in the cloud?

    There’s a shared responsibility to accomplish security and compliance objectives in the AWS Cloud. There are some elements that AWS takes responsibility for and others that customers must address. AWS is responsible for the separation of physical and logical access of the cloud. Customers retain ownership and control of their content to meet our shared security objectives. Understanding the shared responsibility model is the cornerstone of a sound cloud acquisition strategy, and it’s important that customers are clear as to what is within their remit and what AWS is responsible for. 

    Learn more about AWS Cloud security »

  • How does data sovereignty and data residency work in the cloud?

    Both data sovereignty and data residency have become a major topic for many customers. Historically, command and control over sensitive enterprise data meant housing the information locally on premises or in physically accessible, contractor-owned facilities within a country.
    With cloud technology, you work within the shared responsibility model and therefore often have questions about who controls your data and where your data is stored.  
  • Is AWS Cloud more sustainable than on-premises infrastructure?

    We realize that sustainability is becoming an increasingly important topic. Moving to AWS is more sustainable than on-premises infrastructure because AWS:

    • Focuses on energy efficiency
    • Continuously innovates in our data centers to reduce energy usage
    • Uses our scale to achieve much higher resource usage and energy efficiency than the typical on-premises data center
    • Has global infrastructure that is built on Amazon custom hardware—purpose built and optimized for workloads run by AWS customers

    According to a 451 Research report, moving on-premises workloads to AWS can lower the workload carbon footprint by:

    • 88 percent for the median surveyed US enterprise data centers
    • 72 percent on average for the top 10 percent most efficient enterprises surveyed

    You can learn how AWS is committed to running our business in the most environmentally friendly way possible and achieving 100-percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure by visiting our Sustainability in the Cloud webpage.

  • How are cloud terms and conditions different from traditional IT contract terms?

    Cloud service providers operate on a one-to-many scale, offering standardized services to millions of customers. Physical assets are not being purchased, and customers purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is therefore critical that you:

    • Engage CSPs early to get the best-fit made for cloud terms and resolve differences. It’s often easier if you consider cloud-friendly terms and conditions early in an RFx process.
    • Incorporate and use the CSP’s terms to the fullest extent possible to avoid misalignment. These terms will reflect the shared responsibility model, help enable you to take advantage of all benefits offered by the cloud, and ease the overall contracting process.
    • Avoid traditional IT contract terms (for example, managed service terms) as the basis for a cloud contract. These traditional IT contracts are not designed for the cloud and are often antithetical to the shared responsibility model.
    • Recognize the differences among CSPs, cloud-managed service providers, and resellers. Each type of entity has different terms and conditions that reflect their respective models. If you recognize the different models, you are more likely to understand the terms and conditions of a CSP.

    Learn more about our terms and conditions »

  • How can I successfully migrate to the cloud?

    Completing our cloud readiness assessment with CART can transform your idea of moving to the cloud into a detailed plan that follows AWS Professional Services best practices. The AWS Cloud Adoption Readiness Tool (CART) helps organizations of all sizes develop efficient and effective plans for cloud adoption and enterprise cloud migrations. 

    Take the cloud readiness assessment »

  • Do I need a partner? If so, how do I find one that is a good fit?

    It’s important to know about the relationships CSPs like AWS have with partners and how and why you should consider working with them. Because CSPs provide a one-to-many service, the AWS Partner Network (APN) can help you by providing more flexible terms and bespoke solutions and support to meet your requirements. Partners can help you identify solutions, build, deploy, or migrate to AWS.

    Find and connect with AWS Partners around the world by use case, industries, services, and Partner Programs with the Partner Solution Finder.

    You can also buy indirectly from an AWS Partner. Visit the AWS Contract Center for a list of some of the AWS Partner contract vehicles that allow for AWS purchases.

More information

10 Considerations for a Cloud Procurement

Re-evaluate existing procurement strategies to extract the full benefits of the cloud

AWS Public Sector Contract Center

Additional information on contracting AWS services in the public sector

AWS Training and Certification

Build and validate your cloud skills so you can get more out of the cloud

How to Buy Cloud Handbook

Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) deep dive handbook on how to buy cloud in the public sector.