The Asia Pacific region has always been a primary focus for the Department of Defense (DoD). But as the spheres of influence of its major actors expand their centrality to the U.S., national interest is assuming even more importance. To this end, attention is no longer focused on just the Asia-Pacific region, but more broadly on the broader Indo-Pacific region. In fact, this will be the last year of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific Conference and Expo, as the name changes in 2019 to TechNet Indo-Pacific, reflecting DoD priorities.
This last TechNet Asia-Pacific welcomed attendees from around the world and drew attendees from across DoD, with strong representation from Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), as well as some civilian agencies, according to Tim Smith, Sr. Director of DoD, Civilian Government and Federal Systems Integrators for SolarWinds. Smith and his colleagues who attended noted that cyber, cloud, and mobility were spotlighted throughout the conference.
The cyber message was front and center, especially as it relates to “cohesiveness,” Smith explained. “If I look at the DISA presentation, with DISANet and what they’re trying to do for the various services, consolidation with security is a key foundational point. It combines the cyber portion with compliance, making sure that what they’re rolling out as-a-service has security built in.”
Omar Rafik, SolarWinds senior federal sales engineering manager, added that the number-one cyber-related function he spoke with attendees about was compliance. However, Rafik noted attendees weren’t just interested in “whether products were compliant, but if they could also provide compliance reporting.” Smith echoed that point, saying that cyber and compliance along with the idea of consolidation go hand-in-hand. “Agency IT leads are saying they can’t adopt the cloud in a vacuum without considering the cybersecurity part.”
The cloud, of course, is front and center for nearly all federal agencies, with more applications and data moving to either public or private clouds daily. Smith said he’s seeing the government, especially among civilian homeland security agencies, like ICE, taking a “crawl, walk, run approach, with varying adoption of the cloud. In some organizations like ICE, any new application is going to the cloud. In other agencies, they’re ‘dipping their toe in the water.’ They need to be able to manage and monitor a hybrid environment,” Smith explained. “It’s rare for someone to spin up a brand-new infrastructure. More often, we’re replacing a legacy product.” Hybrid cloud approaches support that path.
As much as the agencies drive the need, it’s clear they are also looking to industry for answers. The SolarWinds federal team said that attendees were looking for ways to run their agencies more efficiently, to create cost and time savings. In addition, reporting on the DISA Enterprise Voice Services session, they noted that the agency seeks more of a dialogue with their internal customers regarding technology, as there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions.
Smith and Rafik said that for both civilian and military agencies, innovation from vendors is valued, but they especially want to know how these solutions are tailored to meet the mission. Vendors need to understand the government’s requirements and show agencies how that need is met. “It needs to be a back and forth,” Rafik said. “As the government’s requirements change, so do ours. So the dialogue with DoD is becoming more frequent and more important.”
Learn more about embedding security into IT with Michael Kilcoyne, Command Information Assurance Manager, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). Click here.