How to Manage an Efficient and Secure Cloud

While state and local government have been evaluating cloud strategies for years, the current COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud services. NASCIO’s 2020 State Chief Information Officer (CIO) survey lists cloud services as one of the top 10 business practices that state CIOs believe will expand due to COVID-19.

The pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption as an imperative for disaster recovery, mission-critical operations, better citizen experiences and telework. This means an incredible amount of data is going to be migrated, managed and will need governance in the cloud.

“We will have such a large flow of data coming into the IT environments in the future that if we are not managing it now, it will be a bigger challenge that continues to snowball,” said Bob Burwell, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for State and Local Government and Education at NetApp, a data management company.

To learn more about how agencies can manage the data influx and optimize their cloud journeys, Burwell offered three key practices.

1. Understand your data environment

First, agencies must understand their data and the applications that use them. Both will evolve – data will become intertwined with other data for analytics, and applications will quickly move to containerization or microservices. What are your data’s input/output, storage, disaster recovery and governance requirements today?

“Tools like NetApp® Cloud Insights exist to provide insight into your environment – embrace them. Without understanding your environment, it is difficult to migrate to the cloud and manage costs successfully in a way that best fits agencies’ needs,” Burwell said.

2. Embrace technologies for efficiency

Cost is top of mind for state and local agencies. Sometimes agencies use what Burwell calls ‘naked cloud,’ which is when you migrate data to the cloud without reducing its data footprint with efficiencies like deduplication, compression and compaction.

“If agencies migrate what they’re doing in the data center straight to the cloud, it can be needlessly expensive. You want to ensure your data footprint is small so your costs in the cloud are manageable,” Burwell said.

“Leverage tools to reduce costs. After one city leveraged NetApp OnCommand Insight, a solution that analyzed and optimized its data performance, it was able to lower its annual capital storage costs by 35% and reduce operating costs by 17%,” Burwell added.

3. Embrace technologies for security

Agencies must also embrace tools that can ensure their data is secure, wherever it resides.

“Security can’t just be for the cloud or on-premises,” Burwell said. “It has to be across the entire organization.”

Agencies should take advantage of built-in data security features and leverage cloud monitoring tools. For example, NetApp Cloud Secure looks for ransomware activity, security breaches and potential compromised environments. Tools like NetApp Cloud Secure and Cloud Compliance can help audit data activity across clouds and on premises.

All in all, to maintain an efficient and secure cloud journey, agencies must understand their data environment and embrace the latest technologies.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Resilience Lessons From State & Local Government.” Download the full guide here.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply