Five Ways Cloud Has Transformed the Federal Landscape

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Joe Augustine

Introduction

For years, federal agencies struggled to address challenges such as organizational silos, cultural resistance to change, insufficient funding/budgets, and a lack of personnel with technical depth.

These challenges gave rise to the creation of shadow IT (disconnected IT group not sanctioned by an organization’s centralized IT entity). The rise of shadow IT left agencies vulnerable and at an increased risk for cyber-attacks, adding to existing legacy challenges. Federal IT decision-makers were forced to take critical action to address these issues.

As federal agencies began to introduce cloud technologies, it became apparent they would be essential to resolving longstanding IT challenges and reducing the growth of shadow IT.

And over the past decade, this has been proven true time and time again.

Here’s a look at the top five ways in which cloud capabilities have, and continue to, positively transform the federal IT landscape.

1. Significant Cost Savings & Optimized Spending

Running on-premises infrastructure is expensive. Cloud solutions reduce these expenses in two ways. First, instead of the traditional model used for paying for on-premise infrastructure, cloud solutions use an on-demand model, so you only pay for the capacity you need, when you need it. Second, using cloud-based solutions allows agencies to consolidate, or get rid of, physical data centers and eliminate costs associated with maintaining legacy infrastructures. In addition to saving millions of dollars annually, this gives the agencies greater flexibility to use their IT budgets to drive innovation and improvement.

2. Strengthened Security Capabilities

Traditionally, security concerns were a main obstacle for organizations considering cloud adoption. With the introduction of cloud, agencies have dialed up security. To realize the benefits of cloud, senior government leadership enacted a Cloud Smart strategy that required the implementation or more rigorous federal security standards and requirements (e.g., FedRAMP) for both internal security capabilities and for cloud solution vendors. As a result, the security offered by cloud solutions and providers is rapidly outperforming that of on-premises solutions.

3. Increased Agility & Scalability

Procuring, delivering and spinning up a new on-premise server/system can take weeks, months, or years depending on its size, scale, and complexity. In addition, scaling storage and computing capacity up or down with an on-premise infrastructure is slow and expensive. However, using the cloud, agencies can spin up a virtual machine within minutes/seconds and test, scale, and go-live with a system in under four hours. And cloud capabilities provide automatic workload scaling, up or down, in real time. As a result, cloud capabilities give federal agencies – 1) the flexibility to quickly respond to dynamic shifts in their computing capacity needs and 2) more rapid access to innovation, so they can facilitate continuous improvement of the digital services they offer to citizens.

4. Increased Collaboration, Efficiency, & Productivity

Cloud tools empower employees to access information and work on projects from anywhere, on any device. This includes people in the field, and away from their desks, such as warfighters and federal agents across the country and the world. As a result, not only do cloud capabilities help remove information/ organizational silos internally and between federal agencies, but they also make collaboration and sharing easier, reduce redundant processes, documentation, and work, and provides vital services to federal and military personnel whenever and wherever they need it, improving productivity and their ability to successfully support their missions.

5. Improved Reliability & Disaster Recovery

Redundancy is essential to protecting data and maintaining business continuity in the event of a cyber-attack. As most cloud providers build redundancy into their networks, implementing data backup and disaster recovery (DR) using cloud capabilities becomes much easier than for on-premises networks.

Ready to Reap The Benefits of Cloud?

If you’re interested in learning how GovCIO can help your agency use cloud capabilities to address your current challenges or improve existing capabilities, be sure to reach out to our team.

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