Deciding if Cloud Is Right for Your Agency

With the direction that government IT has been headed, it seems like every agency is fighting to get into the cloud. But how can an agency know if the cloud is actually right for them? And how can they make sure that they are as cost-efficient as possible while trying to take those next steps?

For many agencies, plunging headfirst into cloud isn’t the best option. Careful consideration must be taken to ensure that they’re getting the best services for their agency at a level that they can successfully manage.

To explain the possibilities with balancing cloud and on-premise services, GovLoop spoke with Dan Kempton, Director of Engineering & Cloud Services, North Carolina Department of Information Technology, and Samir Kadoo, Partner Solution Architect, AWS, during Tuesday’s online training titled “How to Keep IT Simple in the Cloud.”

Kempton started by speaking to the level of consideration that he has taken and seen – or sometimes not seen – at agencies in their pursuit of effective cloud services.

“It didn’t come without some challenges,” Kempton said. “The internal challenges, cultural challenges, technical challenges, old processes – they all have to change. With internal challenges, agencies and people in those agencies want the cloud now, whether or not they know what they need to do or want to do.”

But when done right, there are a number of things to consider when adopting and implementing cloud, including security risk, cost, onboarding processes and more. “Deploying into the cloud is a different mindset than deploying on-premise,” Kempton added.

Kadoo continued this line of thinking, stating some of the considerations that need to be made in terms of business wants and business challenges.

“Customers want to run their workload in the cloud, on-premise, with tighter integration, and they want to do it without new hardware,” Kadoo said. In terms of challenges, he mentioned operational consistency, learning new skills and tools, monitoring and security, and budget constraints. Without giving thought to all of these, an agency will struggle with implementing cloud services as well as they may like.

Once an agency has taken all of these steps, though, they are able to begin efficient selection of cloud services. Kadoo walked through all of the technical aspects of how agencies can mix-and-match cloud and on-premise services to meet their needs.

“Be upfront about your use case,” Kadoo said. “We work to make sure that we can architect something that will meet your needs, with your limits, which you specify. You’re just paying for what you utilize. That’s going to include your infrastructure, licensing, support. You don’t have to worry about juggling all of that. You don’t have to worry about the hassles or headaches that you might have on-premise.”

Kempton and Kadoo also touched on making sure that employees are kept in the loop with the transition to cloud to avoid any tension or worries that may exist. Kempton noted that open communication is key and working with staff to ensure that they aren’t negatively affected by implementation.

“It comes down to what the motivation is, taking a step back and assessing what makes the best sense for them,” Kadoo said.

But when it comes down to making final decisions, agencies aren’t alone.

“You do have to think about what your primary goal is,” Kadoo said. “You have to design an architecture around that as well. We will guide you through that. This is a journey, and we don’t want you going through that on your own. This is a partnership.”

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