In a recent interview with Government Technology Insider, Lyme Technology Solutions’ Justin Gedney, Senior Systems Engineer, and Mike Nagy, Chief Technology Officer, discussed the future of cloud adoption and the federal cloud journey. Continue reading to learn more about the evolution of cloud adoption, the challenges IT leaders are facing, and smart strategies to overcome them.
Government Technology Insider (GTI): As we’ve seen over the last two years, the cloud is critical to mission success. What should be the top priorities or concerns for federal IT leaders as they navigate their cloud journey?
Mike Nagy (MN): One of the largest undertakings when moving federal IT infrastructure to a cloud environment is the initial migration as well as initial cost. This can be especially challenging when it comes to Big Data in terms of the pipeline for transferring the data to the cloud. Understanding how a cloud solutions provider calculates ingress and egress charges is essential for executing on the migration and continuity of services.
GTI: How has cloud adoption and integration evolved over the last few years in the federal space?
Justin Gedney (JG): When cloud technology hit the market, it was adopted heavily by the commercial market. It was the new shiny technology that held great allure. The big providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon were all using it, as well as successfully providing cloud services. As time progressed, the cloud proved reliable, scalable, and cost-effective and providers have worked hard to streamline the scalability and manageability of cloud infrastructure. Then, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it increased agencies’ needs to enable remote workforces, and the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requires a heightened security posture. To deliver the agility and security required today is difficult and costly in an on-premise environment, making cloud adoption the right choice for the future.
GTI: What are the most pressing challenges around cloud adoption facing federal IT leaders today?
MN: The biggest challenge is learning new technologies and being able to adopt new processes to align with a cloud environment. Traditionally, systems are built using templates and operated using SOP clusters, networks defined through switches and firewalls. These are designed to ensure redundancy, and engineers have perfected configuring these systems. These same engineers now need to be trained on how to configure and maintain cloud environments. While many of the technical concepts in the cloud are consistent with on-premise architectures, a lot of new functionally also exists and if it’s not configured correctly could introduce unwanted risk or costs.
GTI: Tell us about some of the more common misconceptions around cloud in the federal space. How are they debunked?
JG: Three of the common misconceptions about the cloud are that data can’t be secured, that it’s expensive, and that functionality is limited. It’s often assumed that there are a lot of risks associated with data in the cloud. In reality, the cloud has proven to be more secure. Data breaches and security events more often occur in physical space than they do in the cloud because of human error. Cloud service providers have state-of-the-art data center facilities with security postures in place that usually exceed those of most government entities. Aside from security, the cost of the cloud is always a concern. The initial cloud migration can be costly, but then costs reduce over time. Think, for example, of the costs associated with replacing physical hardware, such as computing, network, and storage devices, that reaches its end of life every three to five years. And, finally, the functionality of cloud Infrastructure as a Service is infinite. It can be scaled with a click of a button.
GTI: Anything else you would like to add?
MN: Once IT leaders commit to migrating to cloud infrastructure and services, agency IT leaders will quickly realize several benefits. There will be an increase in on-demand accessibility that will allow team members to access data and collaborate from almost anywhere. Some major cloud providers will have minimal downtime with 99.99 percent uptime. Additionally, scalability can improve, and environments can be spun up and configured at will without the need for purchasing additional hardware. There will also be greater security since most cloud providers are constantly upgrading their services to adhere to the latest industry standards and to meet regulatory requirements.
To learn more about the future of cloud adoption, click here.