Measuring Government’s Cloud Progress
Cloud has become a key element of digital transformation for many organizations. There is plenty of talk around benefits of and need for cloud, but what is the reality of cloud usage in government agencies? Government Business Council (GBC) polled a random sample of government employees to gauge developments in cloud. This survey includes feedback captured in February and March of 2020 and again in August and September of 2020. There was not a significant change in responses between the two instances of the survey showing that cloud migration progress was not greatly impacted by the response to pandemic working conditions.
What the survey did find was that 24% of respondents reported their agency is currently not in the cloud with 14% having plans, but no action. For those that report cloud usage, the majority, 34%, say some applications have been moved to cloud.
The biggest barrier to moving to the cloud is migrating legacy infrastructure (around 1/3 of respondents report). Many government systems were built before the cloud was even a twinkle in the eye of IT innovators. Even those solutions built within the last 10 years are done so on software and hardware that is no longer supported and likely include customizations that cannot be translated to modern platforms. With this reality of necessary integration of legacy technology, a cloud strategy needs a way to decouple the application from the aging hardware and software. Containerization is one solution that enables these applications to work via private or even public clouds.
When asked, “What is your organization hoping to achieve through its Cloud Smart Strategy?” the top three responses were:
- Enhance communication capabilities
- Strengthen security
- Improve data sharing
The prominence of communication and data sharing may be influenced by the remote work caused by the pandemic. As we saw, the response to a remote workforce did not involve a huge increase in cloud adoption. Remote access was mostly provided through other secure access strategies including VPN expansion and VDI. Moving forward however, these solutions may not prove to be scalable. 60% of employees surveyed in September said they will telework for at least another six months. Likely, telework will become a real alternative for people (even if it is part time) once we return to regular in-office work. Now is the time to look at how cloud can make this remote access more sustainable and begin to put in place systems that can serve the needs today and easily scale up to a cloud solution in the future.
Cloud’s Security Story
Traditionally, the biggest barrier to cloud has been the fear that data will not be as secure once it leaves on-premises systems. As we found, security no longer makes the top three “greatest barriers” list. In fact, “strengthen security” is now seen as a benefit to moving to cloud. Security vendors have continued to evolve Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) offerings to provide granular monitoring of cloud resources and enforcement of violations. Additionally, vendors are introducing innovative ways to identify cloud-based threats and integrate with Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) vendors to reduce the time to recover. This cloud-based threat visibility and automated enforcement has lessened the risk of moving workloads to the cloud. This is further strengthened by the adoption of Zero Trust technologies that limit the exposure from unauthorized users and devices. With Zero Trust implemented, the potential attack surface for malicious actors is reduced to a level that allows many organizations to move forward with their migration to the cloud with more confidence.
Moving the Needle
Iron Bow is proud to work with agencies to power their cloud migration. We’re prepared with solutions that integrate legacy applications into modern systems and we design secure pathways to and from cloud providers. Most importantly, we allow agencies to move at their own pace, implementing solutions that work on-premises today and can facilitate a move to cloud when the time is right. Click here for more details.
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