The Need for Network Modernization in the Federal Government

Federal IT departments have long been the gatekeepers of technology. They’ve decided which applications employees could download and what devices could connect to the network. But for many agencies, that changed in recent years. Tech-savvy employees are increasingly mobile and can easily download cloud-based apps to do their jobs more effectively. They began charting their own paths to acquire IT resources, using their own devices and connecting to government networks from outside their offices.

Although this move seemingly empowered individuals, the shift also put a greater strain on the security of agencies’ networks. It also created a hodgepodge of old and new applications that were too complex to properly manage. This scenario has played out at scale across multiple remote offices, in various locations and throughout different agencies.

To overhaul this collection of homegrown systems, agencies are seeking to modernize and consolidate legacy IT networks. Secure network modernization is central to the current administration’s move away from costly and less secure technologies to more modern solutions governmentwide that ensure users are continuously validated to gain access to data and applications. These modern solutions include investments in cloud computing and new offerings provided by the government’s procurement arm, the General Services Administration, or GSA.

Secure network modernization is also expected to play a key role in agencies’ transition from GSA’s legacy contracts to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, or EIS. EIS transition leaders are under pressure to modernize their networks to support departmental objectives. The goal of EIS is to make it easier for agencies to acquire enterprise telecommunications and IT infrastructure services from a single source.

For federal agencies, network modernization isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. It’s top of mind for agencies today because strong networks underpin nearly everything that employees do in today’s digital world. Whether it’s accessing a mission-critical application or communicating with constituents and colleagues, employees need robust and secure networks to do their jobs. This is especially true for today’s increasingly mobile and remote workforces.

This article is part of GovLoop’s recent course, “How Your Agency Can Modernize With Next-Generation Networking and Security,” created in partnership with Fortinet. Access the full course here.

Photo credit: GovLoop Academy

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