The journey to the cloud is on the mind of many government IT pros, but as agencies begin their path, it’s important to know that organizations can take advantage of many cloud benefits while keeping some systems running on-premises. A hybrid cloud approach empowers agencies to modernize on their schedule while meeting important government mandates, said David Knox, Group Vice President, Public Sector Sales Consulting, Oracle. We spoke with Knox to learn about the benefits of hybrid cloud and discussed a few use cases of how agencies are using the hybrid cloud approach to enhance mission delivery.
“What’s interesting about IT modernization is that it’s not a once every 10 years you decide to modernize action like you might think about if ‘modernizing’ some part of your house,” he explained. “It needs to be something that is phased but continuous. It’s hard to upgrade your entire house just like it’s hard to modernize your entire IT all at once. It probably costs too much and may be too risky; so you just pick something small, important, but manageable. Agencies are doing the same thing and the hybrid approach is a practical way to tackle modernization in a resource-friendly way.”
Knox said that moving to the cloud offers agencies an array of benefits. From threat isolation to cost savings, modernization is made less complex with the cloud. “What’s appealing about this is that there are instant upgrades derived by simply being in the cloud. Customers are finding that moving to the cloud provides better availability and provides automatic redundancy for critical but often very costly on-premises technologies such as storage systems,” he said. Users are also seeing enhanced security and scalability. “The ability to vertically scale may take moments as opposed to months and horizontal scaling by adding more servers doing the same workload is possible in seconds,” Knox said.
Always encrypt is a good mantra, but who controls the decryption keys? “You hold the keys to your data,” he noted. With robust encryption, multiple layers of security, and automatic patching, systems have a better security posture. “Most attacks that happen are on systems that have known, unpatched vulnerabilities,” Knox said. “Systems aren’t on the latest patch sets because the risk of taking down a system or workload is too complex and/or too risky. With cloud, agencies can leverage patch automation and proven procedures and find themselves with an always consistent, up-to-date and secure cloud environment.”
With these security and cost savings in mind, agencies are leveraging the cloud to deploy DevSecOps projects, blockchain technology, and make their IT teams more productive. “Agility in the cloud is achieved because in the cloud, it is so easy for agencies to provision new services, spin them up, link them together, and shut them down at low cost and with low time investment,” Knox said.
Knox noted these complex technologies typically require a massive capital investment and are becoming easier and less costly to integrate with the cloud. “Governments are able to innovate very quickly at low cost,” he said. Large initiatives like these are starting to move to the cloud for the availability, the performance, the proven security.
By moving the most critical systems to the cloud and keeping others on-premises, agencies can ensure their data, tools, and applications are safe in the event of an attack with automated backups. With a hybrid cloud approach, agencies can access newer technologies and make their workloads more efficient. “Right now, we are really starting to see how all of these things drive government forward. We are seeing the blend of new and continuous innovations, rapid adoption of cloud technologies and the existing established processes with which the government is most familiar,” Knox said.
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