Hacking has never been more of a hot-button issue than it is now. With ever more sophisticated forms of hacking being reported in the news daily, users from businesses to the average Internet denizen have witnessed and been victimized by virtual attackers.
Perhaps most alarming, the U.S. government has also not only been the target of these attacks but has been successfully breached numerous times. As technology progresses and the government agencies update their systems, focusing on cloud computing, and especially cloud security will be critical to the Trump cyber security plan.
IT in the U.S.
First, let’s get a lay of the land.
The government needs to get its tech game in order, but unfortunately, it is often slow to adapt. Bureaucracy, complexity, security, outdated programs and tight budgets can all impede the nation’s progress towards updating its systems.
And upgrading is not cheap.
The Chief Information Officers Council released a report stating that $34.7 billion, or about 43 percent of the total IT budget in fiscal 2016, is spent on infrastructure. Agencies also allocated $2 billion toward cloud computing with several spending varying degrees of their budget on bringing their systems up to snuff.
Basically, a lot of money is going into modernizing the infrastructure system. The Department of Homeland Security alone spent a whopping $275 million on the cloud through the 2016.
These are much-needed changes as the government looks to enter the modern technology landscape, but the process isn’t happening fast – or efficiently – enough. Nearly half (43 percent) of federal IT projects reported on the Federal IT Dashboard are over budget or behind schedule.
What would make the most sense in the President Donald Trump’s cybersecurity plan is to expedite this process as this will help reduce the overall IT cost, modernize the systems and, most important of all, develop cloud security to help protect against hacking.
Cloud cost can help trim budgets
One of the major ways that cloud computing can help ameliorate the IT systems of the U.S. is by cutting costs.
While cloud is unlikely to make a huge dent in the cost to maintain legacy systems right away (and may even need some extra spending in order to help with the technological shift), in the long run, the cloud is the most cost-effective platform in the modern age.
Cloud computing platforms are more efficient in their use of resources when compared to local servers. Due to the decentralized nature of cloud computing, the platform allows for organizations to pay only for the resources they need. This is one of the biggest benefits of the cloud is that it functions well on large scale operations.
Alternatively, locally sources IT need to provide the horsepower to run all the systems at peak usage times. Since they are physically constructed on site, that means that you must always pay for your max computing power, even if you only ever require that amount of juice once a month, a year, 10 years, etc.
Another cost saving advantage of the cloud is the energy efficiency of its systems. Operating on the national scale that the government does, these saving costs are likely to be worth more than a few pennies.
Not to mention that the green-friendly (or at least, friendlier) nature of cloud computing can even help politicians score political points with environmentalists.
Adapting to the modern IT world means engaging with cloud
More companies are moving their data to the cloud, and the benefits are numerous. While the government is slow to follow, all signs point to the fact that the IT managers get this, and are doing what it takes to bring their systems into modernity.
Cloud systems are far more flexible than the current configuration, meaning they can be upgraded or modified at a faster rate.
While there may be some difficulty in transferring some older programs, ultimately, the future of computing is in the cloud.
Cloud security needs to be a top priority
Consider that according to a report from cybersecuirty company Thales, 34 percent of federal agencies experienced a data breach last year, and 65 percent have experienced a data breach at one point in the past.
“Federal governments around the world are racing to boost data security against odds not generally faced in the private sector today. A ‘perfect storm’ of very old systems, tight budgets and being a prime cyber-crime target,” Garrett Bekker, 451 Research Principal Analyst, wrote in the report.
And that’s why cloud security is absolutely essential. Yes, the aforementioned speed and eventual budget reductions are great, but in a world where hacking has never been more of a threat, being able to secure your data and systems are of paramount importance.
And even in the worst case scenario where information is hacked and corrupted, the cloud allows for more comprehensive recovery options
Trump’s cybersecurity plan
President Trump has had a rocky start to his tenure, to say the least, but he has made some progress on the cybersecurity front.
While initially promising action within 90 days, his executive orders were slowed in order to comply with legal restrictions in order to prevent a similar situation that his immigration ban encountered.
The executive order did finally release in May, and the plan called for a beefed up security apparatus. Switching to the cloud would help facilitate that move.
The plan calls for a number of reports and further inquiries be made into the hack protections of the U.S. government. Many are hailing the move as a good first step towards bolstering one of the most important modern bulwarks.
With the administration looking to tackle cybersecurity and the move toward the cloud taking place at a slow and steady pace, cloud security is going to be one of the foremost priorities.
Cloud computing is the future of federal IT, even if it might take a few years to get there.
Sean Westbrook is a content specialist for a disaster recovery solution provider, True North ITG. He regularly shares about cloud technology and IT security.