GovLoop’s recent guide, How Cloud is Reinventing Government, explores the how cloud is helping agencies unlock innovation and improve service delivery. The report includes four government case studies, best practices and insights from industry leaders. Below is an excerpt from our guide. Read the full report here. This section was written by Mallory Thayer, GovLoop research fellow.
Government agencies face a unique set of challenges when adopting cloud. Ray McCay, ViON Vice President, Solutions Strategy, recently spoke with GovLoop about the greatest challenges, best practices and how ViON can help government deploy cloud solutions based on 15 years experience with cloud implementations.
When it comes to adopting cloud technology, the top concern for government, McCay noted, is security. Agencies worry that their cloud environment and internal data could be exposed to the outside. Especially for agencies with confidential data, the probability of a security breach has many officials wondering if cloud is worth the risk.
Another concern? Implementation. For some agencies, moving to the cloud means procuring new IT solutions and conducting a complete overhaul of existing systems. “You have a lot of legacy systems that make it difficult to even be able to implement a cloud system,” said McCay. “A lot of the procurement cycles and contract vehicles are not able to handle a more dynamic approach to IT services which the cloud offers. There is a need for procurement education to share ways to write contracts so the government benefits from new consumption models. You may have to create brand new contracting vehicles which are complex and may delay deployment.”
Despite these obstacles, agencies continue to adopt cloud solutions, often because the cloud offers lower costs and more flexibility than traditional, on-site IT enterprises. Instead of owning the entire infrastructure, cloud allows customers to pay as they use it. Furthermore, there is a wide range of cloud enterprise solutions available – an agency can choose from public, private, or hybrid cloud systems.
So how does an agency identify the most suitable cloud solution? McCay offered a set of best practices when considering cloud. First: assessing your agency’s data needs is paramount. “The first thing to do is to start by gaining an understanding of what problem you’re trying to solve, and realizing right up front that not all clouds are created equal,” said McCay.
He recommends public cloud for agencies with lower security requirements or open data that can be shared with the public. A private cloud, or a cloud model that is accessible only to a specific agency, may be what is needed in some cases by to fully protect their data. ViON’s private cloud solutions place the cloud infrastructure behind a customer’s firewall, ensuring a higher level of security.
Agencies must also identify their application requirements. For example, an application that hosts live satellite feed data over North Korea utilizes a different infrastructure than an application that shares medical images between hospitals. “Not all applications are equal. Figure out what it is you need to be successful,” McCay advised.
To leverage cloud adoption, McCay recommended partnering with a cloud vendor that offers flexible solutions and prioritizes organizational needs. ViON cloud services combine a customer-first mission with a variety of cloud solutions – including Tier One and Capacity Services – to provide agencies with the best cloud solution. ViON has been implementing cloud services for over 15 years with high customer satisfaction.
“Our legacy is to focus on the hardest problems, the biggest scale issues, the toughest performance issues, the most critical application environments, and deliver infrastructure that will thrill our customers,” McCay stated.
Adopting a new data infrastructure is not an easy task. Finding the right vendor and identifying agency data and application needs can make a daunting mission of switching to cloud possible.
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