Keep Moving Forward with Cloud
The November 2015 FedTalks in Washington, DC was an incredible event and I’m still processing all of the information I collected from this annual gathering of the top leaders from the tech and government IT communities.
Among the many impressive speakers I had the pleasure of hearing, Tony Scott, United States Chief Information Officer, Executive Office of the President, really stood out from the crowd. Speaking on Modernizing Federal Cybersecurity, Mr. Scott encouraged his peers to keep moving forward with Cloud. It’s a simple but powerful suggestion. There’s still a lot of education to be done about Cloud, how it works, how to buy it and how it benefits government. Sometimes these obstacles can frustrate Cloud adoption, but I think by heeding Mr. Scott’s simple message we can help government realize the benefits of Cloud.
When it comes to Cloud, It’s easy to get bogged down in acquisition regulations, procurement complexities and security concerns. In spite of federal mandates, including the Cloud-First policy, many agencies are lagging behind when it comes to Cloud. However, some are making their way through the challenges previously impeding progress and now capturing the cost savings, security advantages and operational efficiencies that Cloud computing can provide.
Both the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are using Cloud to manage costs, simplify IT and pay for only what they use. By using an on-demand Cloud model, where IT is a commodity and operating expense rather than a traditional acquisition, the agencies are able to drastically cut costs and minimize their financial risks while capitalizing on the benefits of Cloud. They’ve freed themselves from carrying depreciation on their books, are no longer responsible for year-over-year maintenance or tech refreshes, and don’t have to maintain massive data centers themselves.
Remember that Cloud is a process, or ongoing journey, rather than a destination. The first step is determining if your Cloud should be On-Premises (On-Prem) or Off-Premises (Off-Prem or Hosted) and selecting the type of Cloud infrastructure best for your agency, be it private, hybrid or public Cloud infrastructure. On-Prem Private Clouds are usually best suited to meet the stringent security demands of government agencies. Once you determine the type of Cloud, you can then work with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) or industry expert to determine which systems, applications and data can move to Cloud, depending on your mission-critical objectives.
Certainly there are challenges associated with transitioning to Cloud, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are those who have done it before you. They’ve laid the groundwork – follow their lead and learn from them. There are also a wide variety of Cloud solutions to meet the varying needs of agencies available today. For example, ViON offers several tailored options within its ViON Agile Cloud Solution portfolio, including ViON Agile Cloud Platform, ViON FlexCloud Services and ViON Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), so decision-makers can choose and even combine features and options to create the very best value for their organization. Any reliable CSP should do the same.
There are also an array of purchasing vehicles and federal contracts, like NITAAC Chief Information Officer Commodity Solution (CIO-CS), in place to help you simplify procurement and achieve success via the Cloud much faster and easier than ever before.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your peers or industry experts. And, most importantly, don’t lose momentum. The advantages of Cloud outweigh the challenges you’ll encounter – and undoubtedly overcome – to achieve them.