Many government agencies, just like their commercial counterparts, have been struggling to adopt effective cloud computing strategies. Concerns for security, access and data governance is weighed against the promise of instance access to computing resources and virtually unlimited scale. Many agencies are also hampered by outdated acquisition vehicles, overly proscriptive security validation procedures and the understandable desire to avoid the risk of any kind of data breach. The fact is many agencies can find better overall information security and complex administrative controls by adopting a purpose-built Government Community Cloud like the one offered by Microsoft Corporation. Components like Office 365-G, Dynamics 365-G and the various Azure services (Azure AD, Azure Compute ad SQL Azure, etc.) can combine in a tightly integrated, secure and scalable cloud infrastructure that can be rapidly deployed to handle a wide variety of common workloads. Robust administrative controls allow for complex Data Loss Prevention and e-Discovery settings to be implemented and managed.
What is the first step?
Begin by working with an experienced Microsoft partner who can provide honest feedback and advice on an agencies readiness to adopt cloud computing best practices and provide realistic assessments of the pros and cons of the cloud and which applications and workloads fit best in that environment. Despite what many vendors say, moving to the cloud is not a panacea. It will not fix poorly designed applications or database designs. It won’t magically allow antiquated hardware and network infrastructure to be made new again. That said, it can be a powerful tool to retire aging legacy applications and hardware and improve the OCIO’s ability to better serve their agencies and constituents with limited resources.
By Chris Kahl, Senior Solution Architect at Arctic Information Technology.