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IT Transitions Meet Challenges

Have you ever bought new furniture? If you have, you know it’s a big hassle. You have to consider the model, make, size, comfortability, and so much more. Believe it or not, agencies undergoing IT modernization and consolidation efforts can relate.

Does your agency have all the necessary tools to implement the new technologies and procedures? Is everyone on board with the change? SolarWinds, an IT management company, recently published their report, Federal Cybersecurity Survey, which explored some of the challenges associated with modernization and consolidation efforts.

Mav Turner, Director of Product Strategy at SolarWinds, sat down with Christopher Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program to discuss the findings of the survey.

Efforts to improve the overall transition process can lead to less secure systems.

About half of the survey’s 200 respondents (federal government IT decision makers and supporters) stated that the government’s IT modernization and consolidation efforts have resulted in an increase in security challenges. The survey found that the some of the main concerns of those surveyed were due to complex enterprise management tools, lack of familiarity with the new systems, and issues with incomplete transitions (some legacy systems were still in place at said agency/organization).

“Agencies have to handle all the legacy issues that come with the equipment that they are trying to manage, as well as issues with the new systems they are deploying,” Turner said.

 How to help mitigate potential security issues.

“There are just so many new risks that get introduced regularly, particularly with how quickly IT changes, that you can feel good about what you’re doing, but you need to be constantly improving,” Turner said. The survey found that there was an increased concern of cyber threats from foreign governments and hackivists. As threats continue to increase in sophistication and volume, agencies need to continue to maintain a culture of learning. “You can certainly have too many people, but most agencies struggle with not having enough. They need more ‘critically’ trained people,” Turner highlighted.

Three main takeaways from the survey.

1) Find a clear path moving forward.

“Any transition creates complexity and that complexity creates challenges to security and operations,” Turner said. Therefore, he recommends that agencies seek to find a clear path to get rid of legacy systems and to complete the modernization and consolidation efforts in a time-efficient manner.

2) Understand the problems and find the right tools.

“There are different tools for different problems. Make sure you understand what the problem is that you are trying to solve so that you can have the right people, processes, and tools in place to solve the problem,” Turner stated.

3) Why the process doesn’t end when the transitions end.

Turner reminded us that the job isn’t done when the transition is completed. “You still have to go back and make sure that you didn’t carry any of those legacy security issues with you- as you moved forward.”

Proper training, tools, and communication can help lessen the security challenges you may face during your IT consolidation and modernization efforts.

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