The federal government is also realizing the importance of the cloud. Last year, the Office of Management and Budget announced a Cloud Smart Strategy proposal in order to help agencies migrate to the cloud safely and securely. At the end of June, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s final version of the plan was published.
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“To keep up with the country’s current pace of innovation, President Trump has placed a significant emphasis on modernizing the federal government,” stated Suzette Kent, OMB federal chief information officer. “By updating an outdated policy, Cloud Smart embraces best practices from both the federal government and the private sector, ensuring agencies have the capability to leverage leading solutions to better serve agency mission, drive improved citizen services and increase cyber security.”
The strategy focuses on three main areas of cloud adoption: security, procurement and workforce. While the strategy was developed for the federal government, there are a number of things enterprises can gain from the strategy in their own migration and adoption initiatives, according to Sash Sunkara, CEO and co-founder of RackWare, a hybrid cloud management platform provider.
“It is really giving people the push to say let’s move forward on this. This is a technology we have to adopt as a better organization and it gives us guidelines to help us be more secure, modernize and mature,” said Sunkara.
Whether an enterprise or federal agency is moving to the cloud, security is always a top concern. The Cloud Smart Strategy details a risk-based approach as well as a multi-layer defense strategy for securing data in the cloud. It also suggests continuously monitoring for malicious activity. Other security recommendations that the strategy details are trusted Internet connections and practicing continuous data protection and awareness, by regularly engaging in information sharing, using tools with analytical capabilities and having continuous visibility into solutions..
The workforce section of the strategy goes over the need to reevaluate and reskill existing employees for a cloud-based future. It also goes over how to identify skill gaps, and recruit new team members to fill in those gaps. This is something that can be applied to all enterprises because the cloud forces development teams to focus more on usability and availability rather than maintaining datacenters, according to Sunkara.
Lastly, the procurement section aims to help agencies improve their ability to purchase cloud solutions with advice and common practices to follow such as category management, service level agreements, and security requirements for contracts. Category management is designed to help agencies buy smarter. It aims to “deliver savings, value and efficiency;” “eliminate unnecessary contract redundancies”, and meet the business goals, the Cloud Smart strategy stated.
“To be Cloud Smart, agencies must consider how to use their current resources to maximize value: reskilling and retraining staff, enhancing security postures, and using best practices and shared knowledge in acquisitions. Cloud Smart is about equipping agencies with the tools and knowledge they need to make these decisions for themselves, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach,” the Cloud Smart Strategy stated.