Cloud’s agility, flexibility and security make it a powerful engine for innovation. But because of the challenges it presents, cloud adoption is easier said than done. Buying the right cloud takes energy, time and money. Securing cloud means protecting the data it contains. Employees must adjust their routines to fit cloud or they’ll miss its advantages.
Fortunately, the federal government has a strategy to prepare agencies for cloud adoption. Finalized in 2019, Cloud Smart offers a guide for readying agencies’ procurement, security and workforces for cloud.
Some agencies are not seeing returns on their cloud investments because of suboptimal cloud purchases. Cloud Smart advises agencies to buy cloud intelligently and offers tips such as how to avoid long-term contracts that lock them in with one vendor.
“In a pre-cloud environment, one of the first things you had to do on a new project was spend millions of dollars on hardware,” said Kyle Rice, SAP NS2’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). “You already had half the money out the door before you’d done anything productive. So, cloud helps you solve an acquisition problem as well as a technology problem.”
“By leveraging modern technologies and practices, agencies will be able to harness new capabilities and expand existing abilities to enable their mission and deliver services to the public faster.” – Suzette Kent, U.S. Federal Chief Information Officer
Choosing the Right Vendor
Cybersecurity is another reason agencies hesitate to adopt cloud services. Agencies need to find trustworthy vendors that can keep their sensitive citizen data safe. Cloud Smart provides agencies with best practices to reduce their risks. For instance, it recommends that agencies continuously monitor their data.
“We have to figure out how to enable and deploy technologies rapidly in a secure environment,” said Mark Testoni, CEO of SAP NS2. “If we don’t do this right, the bad guys are going to win.”
Workforces are perhaps the biggest obstacle to using cloud. Employees who don’t understand cloud enough to use it properly will miss its full potential. To address this concern, Cloud Smart urges agencies to identify potential skills gaps in their workforce.
“We have probably about a million jobs in IT in this country right now that we can’t source,” Testoni said. “One of the ways to address that is how we train people. We’ve got to reskill our workforce for this information economy that’s been growing the last four years.”
Ultimately, Cloud Smart can help agencies embrace cloud cheaper, faster and more efficiently. Cloud can become a valuable springboard to innovation for agencies, offering an adaptive, reliable platform for their services. It can also support automation and other crucial emerging technologies.
Once adopted, cloud can enable many success stories for agencies. It can provide visibility into the cost and volume of their external resources, and quickly host information that meets all applicable security standards. Finally, cloud can become the destination for any number of an agency’s applications, systems and users.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said technological innovation represents a national security concern for the U.S. because countries that innovate by acquiring better technologies outperform those who don’t.
“If you don’t have innovation, you’re not going to have security…Cloud can mean the difference between success and failure.” – Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “Narrowing the Divide Between Federal and Commercial Tech.” Download the full industry perspective here.