How the Pandemic Affects Government Cloud Migration Plans: Good, Bad, Ugly

“Cloud first” has been a government requirement for many years, but the pandemic has trampled on that strategy and made “cloud first” a priority. The result was transformative.

While the cloud has enabled large-scale government telework that was once unthinkable, government agencies are also given the opportunity to test new cloud applications and experience first-hand scalability and security benefits.Public institutions have been launched, from cloud-based financial support platforms to remote learning management systems for public schools from kindergarten to high school. Innovative solution In difficult situations.

However, despite all the benefits of this “cloud now” investment, challenges remain.

Although COVID-19 has accelerated cloud adoption, there are still many situations where a private cloud is needed. That’s why hybrid IT environments are gaining in popularity. However, these can be difficult to manage on a large scale and may require specific skill sets, but finding them is not always easy.

What is hindering deployment? Federal, state, and local agencies firmly believe in a hybrid environment, but face some obstacles. For example, ensuring a high-performance infrastructure is complex. Traditional surveillance technologies may not work across these heterogeneous ecosystems. In certain situations, the speed at which some cloud applications are deployed may leave security and compliance issues unresolved.

It’s good, bad, ugly. But what can agencies do to address these concerns? Here are four recommendations for optimizing a hybrid cloud environment in the public sector.

1. Take a new approach to touring.

When planning your cloud strategy, it’s easy to think of the right tools and technologies as a panacea for the complexity of hybrid cloud management. However, not all technologies are made the same. Many are designed for on-premises data centers or the cloud, not both.

As a result, while rushing to build cloud services, IT teams may have noticed juggling between dashboards as they try to track and control what’s happening in a hybrid architecture. Hmm.

This area is ripe for optimization. No one has the time or skills to scrutinize multiple surveillance systems and expose an organization to visibility and potential security gaps. IT leaders need to prioritize plans to control the complexity of monitoring hybrid environments with an integrated picture of network, database, and overall application health, performance, and security.

2. Optimize your hybrid network.

If you need to invest more in cloud services, network connectivity and performance are key factors in ensuring that you deliver high quality, mission-critical services. This means addressing network delays and other issues before they affect end users. You may need to extend your existing approach to network performance monitoring to handle increasing cloud traffic and prevent outages.

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology will also play a role in the future of hybrids. SD-WAN helps simplify network management tasks by avoiding congestion and routing traffic intelligently. This technology also enhances security control at the WAN edge. This means that traffic destined for the cloud can bypass on-premises data centers (where these controls typically apply) and be seamlessly forwarded to the cloud without impacting performance.

In fact, the automation that SD-WAN brings greatly eases the burden on network engineers and makes performance management much easier as network perimeters extend across hybrid infrastructures.

3. Get a handle for identity and access control.

Monitor who has access to standard security practices. However, security teams find things even more complicated when employees, contractors, and citizens interact with data from different sources in the cloud and on-premises.

Access control, such as multi-factor authentication, could replace passwords as the gold standard for digital access to quickly fill security holes created by “cloud now” emergencies. You can also centrally harmonize existing access control mechanisms such as on-premises Active Directory and cloud-based Microsoft 365 to consolidate and manage access rights across your hybrid infrastructure.

Other security practices, such as the Zero Trust framework, network segmentation, and adherence to cloud provider security best practices, can help protect valuable assets anywhere in a hybrid environment.

4. Change skills and thinking.

As IT leaders are aware, the skills required to manage a hybrid cloud environment are different from the skills required for on-premises infrastructure. Data center IT teams are aware of the abstraction. Virtualization, containerization, and even some elements of security create a completely unfamiliar environment. This environment should be managed in harmony with the same high standards as onsite assets.

Technology can help, but you also need to identify and develop the right skills needed to support your hybrid cloud strategy in areas such as security and application performance monitoring. DevOps teams need to ensure that high-performance applications are integrated into their processes, from staging to production. Business leaders and users, on the other hand, also have a role to play and need to be educated on how hybrid environments can support mission goals and be used effectively and safely.

Pandemics are accelerating IT modernization and cloud adoption, but these services need to be high-performance, easily accessible, and secure in order to be truly used by government officials and citizens. .. Only when these pillars are in place will the cloud show its true value, provide a basis for further investment, and help activate new use cases in the future.

Brandon Shopp is Vice President of Product Strategy at SolarWinds. How the Pandemic Affects Government Cloud Migration Plans: Good, Bad, Ugly

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