By Mike Younkers, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Federal, Cisco Systems, Inc.
While there is significant innovation happening in the U.S. government, there is still a strong desire to further unlock innovation by unleashing the power of the private, academic, and nonprofit sectors. The Office of Management and Budget has identified the adoption of cloud technologies as a key enabler of agencies’ IT modernization initiatives. By embracing the adoption of cloud technologies, government agencies can:
- Address technical debt
- Gain access to ongoing commercial innovation
- Enable agility in the cyberspace domain
- Analyze growing volumes of data to support data-driven policies
- Enable the operationalization of data
- Unlock new IT value by focusing personnel efforts on driving mission impact
- Deliver capabilities that will accelerate innovation in government
As agencies look to accelerate their adoption of cloud over the coming few years, they must identify the right mix of cloud services (i.e. Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service) and cloud deployment models (i.e. private, community, public, hybrid) to meet their mission needs. Agencies must also assess the readiness of their current IT infrastructure to support a multicloud architecture and address any gaps.
To reduce both cost and complexity, agencies should use common policies and operating model across multicloud environments. Software-defined networking and an application-centric approach enables simplified operations, automated network connectivity, consistent policy management, and visibility for both on-premises data centers and multicloud environments. These capabilities create efficiencies that will free personnel’s time by automating repetitive tasks while reducing human error and increasing agencies’ security posture. This approach also offers agencies the flexibility to move applications seamlessly to any environment while maintaining consistent security policies and visibility across expanded IT boundaries. It will also reduce the burden on IT teams, with respect to people, processes, and skill sets, and help accelerate the application deployment lifecycles, resulting in faster innovation.
Government’s ability to unlock new value through innovation heavily relies on its ability to:
- Connect data from the edge, across datacenters, and through multicloud environments
- Enable data analytics, machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) applications for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at all decision-echelons
To achieve this, agencies must maintain visibility across multicloud deployments and enable the freedom to securely access and capitalize on data across multicloud environments. They must do so while also maintaining data confidentiality, integrity, and availability via edge-to-edge threat management and oversight. By leveraging an integrated cyber platform with the scope, scale, and capabilities to keep up with the complexity and volume of threats, government agencies continuously face, agencies can deliver mission assurance while enabling the government’s digital transformation.
Through a Cloud Ready Network and a holistic Cloud Smart approach to multicloud adoption, agencies can deliver purpose-fit solutions by leveraging COTS and CSfC solutions that can meet the needs of developers, end-users, and the mission. By harnessing the full power of the capabilities enabled through multicloud adoption, government agencies can deliver innovative solutions that unlock new value and solve the government’s toughest challenges.