Federal agencies reaped the benefits of cloud computing investments in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic or scrambled to move to the cloud as the pandemic disrupted the way they did business.
Agencies understand the value of moving to the cloud, but Joseph Flynn, public sector chief technology officer at Boomi, said organizations often struggle when they lack a comprehensive cloud migration strategy.
“They try to bite off the entire problem, rather than breaking it down into smaller parts that are digestible and easier to deal with,” Flynn said during the Federal News Network Cloud Exchange 2022. “They need to define a strong vision for why they’re doing this — whether it be elasticity in their infrastructure, whether it be to have redundancy and resiliency in what they’re doing — versus maybe they don’t want to manage a facility or a data center anymore, and they want to be able to just consume that as a service from the cloud.”
The value of starting small when moving to the cloud
In addition to the technical challenge of migrating systems to the cloud, Flynn said agencies also need to provide robust training for their employees.
“A lot of times organizations will act if you have applications and build systems on-prem, you can develop for the cloud the same way, and the reality is that’s not the case,” Flynn said.
Organizations, he said, sometimes push to migrate their largest, most complex systems first, rather than focus on smaller, simpler services and applications that they can migrate much more easily.
Those early successes are critical to the agency having the experience needed to manage more complicated cloud migrations, Flynn said.
Ensuring cohesion across services during cloud migrations
“One of the critical questions I believe people should be asking is how are we going to make these legacy systems that exist and these new, modern systems in the cloud — and then maybe an edge device and then the customer interaction — all connect together and actually interact?” he said.
To set an organization up for success, Flynn urged agencies to invest time in planning, both technically and organizationally, and taking a thorough inventory of all systems and applications.
“It’s really important that you look at what those risks are operationally, the ability to deliver mission, relative to what you’re trying to accomplish,” Flynn said. “Then, you have to really look at how you are going to connect all these systems and platforms in a secure way.”
5 security questions to answer as you plan any cloud migration
Having an overarching approach to security is critical when moving to the cloud and easier to tackle if an agency starts small and then scales, recommended Boomi’s Joseph Flynn.
The public sector chief technology officer for Boomi shared five questions an organization should consider when detailing its cloud migration plans:
Do you have a way to do multifactor authentication?
Do you have a way to do zero trust?
Do you have a way to manage encryption?
Do you have a way to manage data at rest?
Do you have a way to limit how much data you’re exposing to outside systems or threats, without putting the ability to execute at risk?