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What Are the Benefits of Cloud Data Storage for Government?

With the increase of natural disasters and cyberattacks threatening networks and infrastructure, it’s becoming more important for government to prepare for the worst when it comes to data management strategy.

Data pertains to government operations and decisions on all fronts. Losing a chunk of data for any reason could have a direct, negative impact on citizens' lives.

So how do you ensure the data is protected and accessible? Cloud data management is one option.

GovLoop’s recent online training “Do You Have a Plan B for Your Data?” explored the topic with experts Michael Fischetti, Executive Director at the National Contract Management Association; Rolland Miller, Federal Chief Technology Officer at Rubrik; and Keith Younger, Director of Public Sector Systems Engineering, Pure Storage.

Somewhat by design, government adheres to a more reactive than proactive approach to new technology. The same could be applied to its adoption of cloud data storage, which continues to feel foreign to some.

“I would have to say that one of the fundamental issues within government contracting is the whole topic of data being in a cloud and not residing in physical boundaries necessarily,” Fischetti said. “It makes everybody uncomfortable.”

But the paradigm is shifting, the panelists agreed, as agencies have sought out cloud alternatives more seriously in recent years. According to a report published last October by the research firm Gartner, the spending forecast for public cloud services is expected to grow an average of about 17 percent per year through 2021.

“Now we’re moving into the cloud model,” Miller said. “And it’s not just something we’ve been talking about for the last six or seven years, it’s now something people are actually doing in a big way.”

Cloud solutions can help government address storage and management challenges by providing a more reliable option.

For example, Miller told a story of a client some years ago whose home state’s database went down unexpectedly, resulting in the loss of three weeks’ worth of data. That event disrupted food stamp distribution and led to protests outside a government building, he said. What cloud offers agencies is a certain degree of reliability that data is properly stored and accessible.

On the topic of agency budgets, Younger discussed some of the various cloud migration strategies available for government. Pure Storage offers all-inclusive software-based encryption, snaps, replication and cloning to ensure data integrity. That cloud database is then managed by Rubrik.

Additionally, Pure Storage offers technology for data already residing in a different cloud, so it doesn’t have to be pulled altogether.

“Getting into the cloud is easy,” Younger said. “Getting out of the cloud is expensive.”

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