How to Prep Your Network to Be Cloud-Ready

Agencies must address three concerns to get cloud-ready: their people, their work and their technology.

In 2018, the federal government released its Cloud Smart policy to assist agencies with their cloud efforts. Broadly, Cloud Smart impacts agencies’ employees and the work they do. It also simplifies cloud adoption by guiding agencies on how to optimize the technology. Cloud Smart focuses on three pillars of successful cloud adoption:

  • Security – Cloud Smart urges agencies to manage security risks to their clouds. It also demands that agencies continuously monitor their data, so it remains private and secure.
  • Procurement – Cloud Smart advises agencies to understand the cloud market and which model best fits their needs. The policy additionally recommends that agencies factor privacy, security and business continuity into their cloud acquisitions.
  • Workforce – Cloud Smart suggests that agencies recruit, retain and reskill their talent to make the most of cloud’s capabilities.

From a technology perspective, the heart of cloud-readiness is software-defined networking in a wide-area network (WAN), also known as SD-WAN.

A WAN is used to connect branch offices and remote users back to a central data center.

As agencies adopt a growing range of cloud-based services, they may find it difficult to manage bandwidth. With SD-WAN, network resources are pooled and managed virtually, making it easier to adapt to changing traffic patterns.

As a result, the network is more efficient and more reliable. When backed by SD-WAN, cloud-ready networks can easily deliver latency-sensitive services such as media streaming.

With SD-WAN, cloud-ready networks are also well-suited for other disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and the Internet of Things. Each of these technologies are data-intensive, which can strain traditional wide area networks. SD-WAN makes them manageable.

Ultimately, cloud-ready networks can support many transformative technologies.

Picture an agency that has multiple offices spread across large distances. As more users access this agency’s network, it struggles to provide consistent, dependable services.

Using a cloud-ready network, this agency can continuously optimize service delivery and guarantee a positive end-user experience. A cloud-ready network can also handle the agency’s data securely, reducing the risk of a painful breach.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop Academy’s recent course, “Readying Your Networks for Disruptive Tech,” created in partnership with Cisco. Access the full course here.

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