Hybrid workforce

Meet the Challenges of Today’s Cloud Environment

By Kevin McCaney

The cloud often exceeds an agency’s grasp.

Cloud operations can easily evolve too quickly for agencies to control spending and effectively manage services and, most importantly, security. As a result, an agency can soon find itself handling a hybrid environment involving multiple clouds, a growing number of users and countless Internet of Things devices attached to the network. The impact materializes in several ways.

Complexity. The layers and scale of fast-growing hybrid, multiple-cloud environments make it difficult to gain visibility into identities, users, services and other elements. The cloud has many pieces. Not all of them work together, but there are too many of them to take on separately, whether the goal is improving the efficiency of operations or security. “When we look at the security framework, we cannot look at security in just one of the cloud service providers,” said Keith Nakasone, Chief Federal Strategist at VMware and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Acquisition Management at the General Services Administration. “We now have to look at the security framework across the multi-hybrid environment.”

Skills Shortage. As technology changes, the skills needed to manage it change, too. This requires training current employees, although that likely won’t be enough. Smaller agencies may not have much of an IT workforce to begin with, and even large agencies can’t handle every aspect of the cloud, including both on-premises and off-premises environments. Today, subject-matter experts must understand not just their areas of expertise, but also critical issues such as how everything fits into their organization’s overall security framework.

Speed. DevSecOps and the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline constantly feeds the cloud’s capabilities, but also increases its complexity, spending and potential risks.

Compliance. Cloud’s complexity and the skills shortage can make it difficult to perform audits and meet compliance requirements, potentially putting authority to operate agreements at risk.

Solution: Multicloud, Not Just Multiple Clouds

Agencies need to gain visibility into their cloud environments and implement a holistic multicloud strategy to improve efficiency, control costs and secure their increasingly complex environment.

A multicloud approach should be comprehensive, providing a single set of management tools that enables teams to secure consistent configurations and policies across the environment, regardless of the variety of applications and clouds in use. It delivers three key benefits:

Choice. A multicloud management platform provides a consistent operating model across any hyperscale provider, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud. It gives agencies the flexibility to select the right cloud for a particular service — based, for example, on its FedRAMP authorization level or Department of Defense (DoD) Impact Level certifications — while minimizing the impact on operations and applications.

Control. A platform that provides a single set of tools across the infrastructure gives teams the visibility they need to monitor cloud environments. With consistent crosscloud governance and compliance, they can better track spending, manage services, mitigate risk, and quickly identify and remediate any security issues. This approach has been shown to reduce overall cloud infrastructure costs by up to 60% by allowing agencies to optimize among private, hybrid and public clouds. A multicloud architecture also provides resiliency when one cloud suffers a breach or outage.

Speed. A multicloud platform can reduce the time it takes for cloud migrations from years to months. Some organizations have seen an 82% increase in getting software into production and a 32% increase in developer productivity. With ready access to security-compliant infrastructure and app catalogs, developers can build and deploy applications faster — and without compromising security.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s report, “Bring Choice, Control and Speed to Your Cloud Environment.” Download the full report here.

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