Strengthening resiliency can be a challenge, especially for federal IT teams, but proper IT hygiene can make all the difference. Proper IT hygiene keeps systems in check and operating smoothly, lessens complexity, and enables agencies to better meet the mission. It’s achieved when agencies inventory their IT infrastructure, develop a complete understanding of their systems, test for weaknesses, and ensure that their data is centralized and on a regular back-up cycle.
Once these essential hygiene tasks are taken care of, it’s possible for federal agencies to be resilient in the face of myriad challenges. Resiliency has always been important in the federal government, but it has assumed heightened importance because of the pandemic.
“I would say – especially in these last six months – the way that we work has just fundamentally changed,” explained Ashley Mahan, the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services Director for Secure Cloud Portfolio and FedRAMP, at ACT-IAC’s ReImagine Nation ELC 2020 virtual event. “The increase in that virtual work has certainly emphasized the value of secure cloud offerings as cloud has really been that enabler of our missions and continuing to fulfill our missions during this time so it’s helped us become incredibly resilient.” And, it’s evident with resiliency at the core of agency initiatives, business continuity is guaranteed.
However, the key to achieving resiliency starts by identifying disruptions. “Go through the process of gaining situational awareness,” explained David Knox, Group Vice President for Public Sector Software Sales, Oracle, in a recent eBook. “From there you can put together an improvement plan. Start simple. Take a crawl-walk-run approach. [It’s important to] develop a strategy to mitigate future situations that could impact the mission. Create an actionable roadmap that can be quickly operationalized.” But, before an improvement plan can truly be developed, federal agencies must embrace proper IT hygiene.
“Successful agencies have actively practiced good IT hygiene,” explained Knox. “They’ve been diligent about keeping systems and processes updated to the latest technologies and best practices.” According to Knox, the latest, and best technologies, are those that are cloud-based. Also essential to proper IT hygiene are cloud-based solutions that help keep databases and systems synchronized, centralized, and also, secure among other critical requirements. These solutions must also be built with simplicity and efficiency in order to positively contribute to agencies’ overall IT hygiene.
Although it’s always been important for federal agencies to be resilient, this has been amplified because of the massive disruption caused by COVID-19. Being resilient requires proper IT hygiene especially for agencies working with today’s complex systems. With IT hygiene a priority for individual agencies, and the federal government as a whole, agencies are better prepared for the unexpected. They’re also more likely to experience mission success.
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