In recent years, government agencies have increasingly turned to cloud computing to manage vast amounts of data and streamline operations. While cloud technology has many benefits, it also poses security risks, especially when it comes to protecting sensitive information. To address these challenges, agencies are turning to a secure cloud fabric that can ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data in the cloud. In addition to being a solution that can be leveraged today, it is designed to grow with an agency’s cloud consumption and mission focus.
Current Challenges with Cloud Data
The U.S. government generates and collects a massive amount of data each year—everything from census information to intelligence gathering. It is unclear exactly how much data is collected each year, but in a recent interview with Government Technology Insider, Scott Andersen, Federal Solutions Architect, Verizon Business Group, said the federal government can easily collect a petabyte of data within three days. While this data can be incredibly valuable for making informed decisions and protecting national security, it also presents significant challenges in terms of management and protection against cyberattacks.
One major challenge is ensuring that the data is transmitted securely between different government agencies and stakeholders. With so many parties involved in managing and analyzing government data, it’s essential to have a secure, private connection that can ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the data as it’s shared. However, establishing and maintaining such connections can be a complex and costly process, especially as the volume of data being transmitted continues to grow. Similarly, connecting to data lakes presents both privacy and security concerns. To prepare the data stored in these lakes for analysis and use, data scientists and analysts need protected access.
Secure, Private Multi-Cloud Connectivity Environment
A secure cloud fabric provides secure, private multi-cloud connectivity through software-defined circuits. Andersen explained agencies aren’t getting their own private cloud, but rather access to existing commercial cloud providers, with the ability to create a storage infrastructure–or even create their own private cloud – that can be used going forward like a private cloud for each agency. The circuit itself can be created in less than eight hours, which allows for substantial changes to the system essentially by the end of a business day. Once established, the secure cloud fabric becomes the support infrastructure for cloud migration and cloud portability. “Agencies can have the ability to move workloads between clouds easily, as well as having the ability to manage their Docker or Kubernetes environment in a simple structured environment. This all allows for true cloud portability,” Andersen said.
With a secure cloud fabric, government agencies can create a non-bifurcated infrastructure that allows for a secure, private connection between their different cloud environments, regardless of whether they are hosted on public or private clouds. This means that data can be transferred between different cloud environments without having to go through the public internet, which is vulnerable to bad actors. A secure cloud fabric allows for agencies to connect to other federal agencies, as well as connect to various commercial partners easily and effectively within the system.
Support for Data Lake Connectivity
In addition to creating a secure, private multi-cloud connectivity environment, agencies also benefit from the ability to connect easily and securely to data lakes. Data lakes store raw data that can be used for various purposes, mostly focused on analytics, machine learning, and data visualization. Using a secure cloud fabric to connect to a data lake offers agencies the advantage of maintaining control over their data while leveraging cloud-based storage’s scalability and cost-effectiveness. This is especially important for government agencies, which often have strict security and privacy requirements that need to be met when handling sensitive information.
A secure cloud fabric can also help government agencies to optimize their data management practices by enabling them to easily move data between different cloud environments, regardless of whether they are hosted on public or private clouds. This can help agencies to take advantage of the unique capabilities of different cloud providers, while still maintaining a unified view of their data. With these capabilities, they are able to create massive data lakes and ingest data sources from many different sources.
Support for Future AI Development
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken recently stated, “A global technology revolution is now underway. The world’s leading powers are racing to develop and deploy new technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing that could shape everything about our lives – from where we get energy, to how we do our jobs, to how wars are fought. We want America to maintain our scientific and technological edge, because it’s critical to us thriving in the 21st century economy.” It’s imperative that the U.S. government keep pace, if not lead the charge on the investment in and advancement of AI to maintain its global influence. Government agencies are implementing AI to enhance customer experiences, optimize workloads, and fulfill their missions. Along with all its other uses, a secure cloud fabric infrastructure can be built out to support AI.
“If you think about artificial intelligence, it’s applying structural intelligence to data collected by the federal government,” Andersen said. It’s already been established that the government collects an incredible amount of data. With a secure cloud fabric, agencies can build a framework to deploy and augment their future AI infrastructure.
A secure cloud fabric is a powerful tool that can help the federal government meet its evolving data management and processing needs. It provides a secure and private multi-cloud connection that supports both data lakes and AI infrastructure. By leveraging this technology, government agencies can unlock the full potential of cloud-based resources, while still maintaining the security, privacy, and compliance requirements that are essential to their mission. Because of this, secure cloud fabric is likely to play an increasingly important role in the federal government’s digital transformation efforts in the years to come.