The government wants out of the data center business.
Ok, not entirely. But at the “Government in the Cloud Era” session at the Government Innovation Forum, government leaders made it clear they are on a journey of cloud technology adoption and are not looking back.
At the Nov. 14th forum, which was produced by FedScoop and sponsored by Juniper Networks, government officials and industry leaders were brought together to discuss the latest in enterprise innovation and security from the public and private sectors, including cloud technologies. The forum also featured topics on innovation and disruption in government, building an open, agile and interoperable enterprise to fit any mission and next generation automation and virtualization solutions to drive security and efficiency. Attendees discussed the path forward and lessons learned on their migration to the cloud.
“CIO, Maria Roat, and I basically have this strategy: if it’s not nailed down, it’s going to the cloud. If it’s nailed down, we’re going to pry it loose and then it’s going to the cloud,” Guy Cavallo, deputy CIO of the Small Business Administration (SBA), said to laughter in the audience. “We set out to get out of the data center business.”
Cavallo said the government needs to maximize the capabilities that major vendors are providing, such as improved security and on-premise WAN, to reap the promises of cloud computing.
During the spirited panel discussion, Cavallo joined panelists Neal Andrew, deputy of the Systems Development Division within the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of IT; Skip Jentsch, an IT specialist with the General Services Administration (GSA) and moderator; and Bikash Koley, EVP and CTO at Juniper Networks. Together, they discussed the path forward for federal IT teams in this period of widespread cloud migration across the government. In addition to cloud adoption, they discussed operating in a multicloud environment and mitigating security gaps.
The panel encouraged federal agencies to embrace the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a government program that standardizes security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. “Despite its flaws, it’s a great help,” explained Jentsch. The program complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002 and supports the government’s “Cloud First” initiative that enables federal agencies to use cloud service providers.
Andrew discussed how the physical and logical separation of IT assets is changing the government landscape for IT teams and how the hybrid IT environment is requiring a new set of tools and controls for migration. “There is a large contingency of system integrators running the environment for you,” Andrew said, emphasizing that it’s not all government.
While panelists touted the promise of cloud migration, some also warned of the continued need to address ongoing challenges, particularly in relation to security. When migrating to the cloud, Jentsch said, “Security is paramount.”
“The challenge is still security, and in some cases, acquisition problems,” Jentsch added.
Cavallo agreed, encouraging government security teams to get involved in every aspect of the security paradigm – from physical to virtual – and “not just at the end of the project.”
As the cloud technology dialogue continues, Juniper Networks will stay informed of government concerns and sticking points. Issues like cloud migration, security, network modernization and other topics that were the focal point of the “Government in the Cloud Era” discussion will continue to evolve and impact our customers. In time, they will no doubt be joined by new innovations that will present both challenges and opportunities. Staying on top of these issues will allow us to continue to better serve government agencies by helping them navigate the path ahead and guide them toward the adoption of modern, flexible and secure network architectures.
More interviews from Juniper’s Government Innovation Forum can be found here. We hope to see you at next year’s event.
Six and a half years after the federal government announced its “cloud first initiative,” government agencies have been steadily ramping up their cloud deployment efforts. In fact, according to Deltek, federal cloud computing spending is projected to grow to $6.4 billion in FY 2021 – an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15% since 2016.
The concept of “running a government like a business” has been around for decades, but the idea has really started to gain traction among government IT teams over the past couple of years. During that timeframe, we’ve seen agencies at the federal, state and local levels begin to adopt Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) -- just like their commercial counterparts before them. The General Services Administration (GSA) has brought a start-up mentality to the U.S. government and has helped other agencies become more agile and innovative while maintaining compliance with Federal regulations.