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Three Ways Agencies are Looking to Innovate in 2020

Jim Smid, CTO, Iron Bow Technologies

January 15, 2020  |  IT Modernization  •  Managed Services  •  Software-defined Networking

Two decades ago few could have imagined how advanced technology would become. In the intervening years, we’ve seen our devices get smaller and more powerful, storage move from cumbersome data centers to flexible cloud models and networks speed up faster than anyone could have believed possible.

As we move into a new decade, agencies now have the opportunity to take advantage of the recent technology advancements industry has developed to deliver on the promise of flexible cloud services, more reliable networks and the ability to hand off tedious systems management tasks to experts outside of government.

With that in mind, here are three trends to look for as we enter the third decade of the new millennium.

  1. Managed Services Become the Norm

Agencies want to get out of the business of managing infrastructure. In fact, in the past year, some agencies have found that outsourcing the management of their systems to experts who are available 24/7 has relieved a huge burden on understaffed federal IT teams and shrinking budgets.

In 2020, we expect to see managed services adopted by even more agencies, providing a tipping point for those on the fence about the service.

Benefits of the managed services model abound. The best providers are staffed by specialists that offer experience in solving specific types of problems agencies may have, not just in the technical sense, but also specific to their unique needs.

Beyond that, using managed services providers (MSP) frees up agency IT teams to work on mission-critical projects rather than simply doing everyday system maintenance.

  1. SD-WAN Proliferates Across Government

While software-defined wide area networks are still relatively new technology, some agencies have already begun to see their benefits, especially for data-heavy departments with widely distributed employees. We’re seeing adoption from enterprise level agencies and the Department of Defense has signaled that it will make the move to SD-WAN as well.

Only about 1-in-6 of the 1.87 million civilian full-time federal workers live in the D.C. metro area. Because of that, the networks that connect these geographically disparate offices are vital to how the federal government works.

Making the WAN more efficient and secure through a software-defined system makes it easier to share critical data, enable cross-agency teamwork and deliver citizen services.

  1. The Cloud Journey Continues

While the federal government’s push for agencies to move from on-prem storage to the cloud has been going on for several years now with varied success, the recent move from a “cloud first” to a “cloud smart” philosophy has opened up new and better pathways to modernization.

Because of that, in 2020 agencies will likely move toward more flexible solutions like multi-cloud, which leverages private, hybrid and commercial cloud deployments. This is a significant update that reflects more sophisticated thinking than the initial “cloud first” strategy. Cloud smart encourages agencies to think holistically about cloud approaches and how they fit their needs, recommending they evaluate the capabilities of specific services, rather than simply seeing cloud as a destination.

This kind of customization has become essential, especially for agencies holding sensitive data. While the public cloud is a fantastic option for much of the government’s storage and transfer needs, classified data might need its own home on a private, internal agency cloud, or it may make sense for an agency to work with multiple cloud vendors.

The federal government’s modernization journey will never truly end, but with innovations like hybrid cloud, managed services and SD-WAN, they’ll have a much easier road ahead.

For more information about any of the technology mentioned, please visit the Iron Bow website.

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