The most mentally taxing part of a transformative journey is starting it. Many agencies want to migrate to the cloud, for instance, but security, compliance or governance risks could prevent them from taking those initial steps forward.
So why do agencies want to move to the cloud in the first place? There’s a perfect storm environment that’s making migration happen, explained Kent Cunningham, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Enterprise Cloud Solutions at Microsoft. Agencies can really focus on their mission when they move to cloud instead of focusing on mundane tasks.
Cloud providers are spending tens of billions of dollars so that agencies can focus their time on their applications and processes. Other factors that spur cloud migration include the reduction in networking costs and the ubiquity of cloud services; however, the most important factor, according to Cunningham, is a greater awareness of what the cloud environment is capable of.
“Overall, it’s the maturity of the cloud environment that made people realize that the capacity of the cloud is beyond what agencies can duplicate,” Cunningham said at GovLoop’s “Government Innovators Virtual Summit: Solving Your Agency’s Biggest Challenges.” “The conversations we have are no longer driven by IT, but rather by business outcomes. What would it mean if you were able to serve your agency better?”
Agencies also have to sufficiently understand the responsibility of the customer versus that of the cloud provider in the migration to cloud, for financial governance, or properly allotting agency resources, and the concept of security boundary changes. “We’re not just protecting networks; we’re also protecting identity,” said Viktar Zherdetski, Cloud Solutions Director at Unisys Federal.
Raj Raman, CTO of Cloud at Unisys, recommended considering three questions around security and risk. First, what controls are relevant considering an overall awareness of all things related to cloud and security? The agency has to be set up to think about security from the start. For example, with Unisys CloudForte, agencies can enable the management and governance of AWS and Azure cloud environments, as well as the acceleration and adoption of cloud-native modernization and development.
Second, what are the key things to keep thinking about at a network, user, and access level and then on an ongoing basis? The agency has to have a DevSecOps mindset and maintain the ability to create the foundation to make sure that the architecture and workloads are secure and reliant.
Finally, what are the right tools or capabilities to use within a cloud environment such as Microsoft Azure to support security and risk objectives?
Accelerating digital transformation encompasses more than security concerns, and it’s not about taking ineffective legacy processes or poorly connected systems and moving them straight to the cloud.
“Cloud migration is really about taking the people, data and processes within an agency and putting that all together to transform the agency,” Cunningham said. “How do we change the way we work and empower the people we work with to meet that mission?”
This blog was based on a session at GovLoop’s Government Innovators Virtual Summit. To pre-register for future summits, click here.