Ever since scalability, flexibility, and cost became priority considerations in data accumulation and analysis, organizations across America have been focused on addressing these issues in the digital arena. It’s no small thing – Government cloud adoption today is central to Public Sector efficiency. Ultimately, it will dictate the shape of a government cloud strategy that should last for years to come.
Cloud computing as an overriding topic is not dissimilar to the concept of delivering traditional utilities (like water and electricity) from outside locations to companies and households. Services aligned to cloud computing arrive at their destination generally through an online remote network. In a way, it is a throwback to the days before the personal desktop when users shared a central mainframe computer’s power distributed via video and other devices.
The big difference going into the 2020s is that cloud computing, substantially is more powerful, connects to sophisticated computer devices, and contains incredible flexibility features that converge on customized applications.
In summary, cloud computing as a model is focused on accessing a shareable network that is reachable from anywhere, with a seamless process built around the integration of configurable computing resources.
How does it impact government cloud adoption at a State and Federal level?
As far back as 2009, the federal government responded by moving to cloud-based services for its data storage needs. For any CIO in a government department, taking heed of this emphasis shift is crucial as it reverberates through government cloud strategy everywhere in the US.
The most challenging limitations rest in:
- Hiring the skills to manage a cloud-based environment
- The age-old bugbear – convincing management to free up the budget to make all this happen.
The six core characteristics emerging from the cloud service models are; enhanced efficiency, accessibility, collaboration, reliability, innovation speed, and security.
Cloud service models available to Govt CIOs
Three cloud service models provide the essential features suitable to government organizations to a greater or lesser extent:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – This is where customers use provider-supplied applications with remote on-demand access (versus on-premises workstation or server installation). Everything about SaaS aims to create user simplicity, available through such widely accessible formats as Google Apps and Dropbox.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Facebook is an excellent example of a platform in this arena. It provides users with the essential tools (i.e., programming languages) that allow accumulating applications on the provider’s infrastructure (i.e., in this example, Facebook). The capability and versatility are broad, including hosting, building, testing, and launching various applications.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – A much broader facility where the providers establish a set of computer resources. They then pretty much leave it to the customer to decide how far and wide to test the latter in creating and launching applications that generate innovative benefits. Typical IaaS platforms are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Benefits to CIOs in government using cloud service models
All the above are “open sesame” to government CIOs. They must decide which to use when, always keeping the SSB (i.e., Skills, Services & Budget) practical for each application. Whatever the selections are, the thing to note is that it’s a deviation from an on-premise infrastructure (like a desktop computer with Windows or Linux installed on it as a platform for customizing applications). All three cloud service models function remotely, thus liberating the user from worrying about local infrastructure malfunctions and support issues. Next comes the decision about cloud deployment models.
Effective cloud deployment models for the government sector
Deployment Models7 NIST lists four cloud deployment models that cater to user needs when accessing data and applications. There are pros and cons attached to each, which the CIO of government entities should consider as the projects arise in their workplace. The ultimate direction depends mainly on where the hardware is and deciding who can and can’t use the system resources.
a. Public cloud (sometimes called external cloud) computing
Our rating for the government CIO resource pool (2/10).
In this situation, a single provider delivers one or numerous cloud-computing services to a substantial group of customers. The unique part is that the group members access the services independently of anyone else in the group and are unlikely aware of who the other group members are. Users access the service online via the internet through web browsers or other software applications. Providers monetize this by what they call “metered selling” – much like utility services where you pay-as-you-need. The most popular public cloud models incorporate things like:
- Internet backup
- File synchronization
- Web-based media services.
As a government company CIO, it’s critical to evaluate these options in light of security – it’s the most significant shortcoming. While the public cloud has distinct pricing advantages and attractive flexibility features, it appeals mostly to situations where confidentiality and data leakage are not a prominent concern or priority. On this aspect alone, government departments use it very circumspectly.
b. Private Cloud (sometimes called an internal cloud)
Our rating for the government CIO resource pool (5/10).
There are similarities to the public cloud deployment models described above, except, in this case, it’s no longer a group but a single organization controlling and using a private network. It’s there exclusively for the company – not its customers. With a substantially narrower user focus but still offering all the flexibility and features of a public format, you don’t lose the latter’s advantages while harnessing considerably lower risk.
There are a few potholes in the road: For example – the cost of acquiring both the hardware and software to give the Private Cloud momentum can sometimes be eye-popping. However, the benefits may well be worth the extra expense, especially when it comes to protected internal services and classified data. The latter items connect to fortified data storage and ensure only designated users can access it.
c. Community Cloud
Our rating for the government CIO resource pool (7/10).
This functions like it sound – allowing a defined group of organizations that overlap in orientation, markets, and data requirements – to share infrastructure. The two massive benefits are this:
- It plugs into the advantages of the public cloud format, keeping the costs much lower than Private Cloud, yet holds the security risk steady at an acceptable level.
- Aside from lower risk, need customization also generally has more latitude. That’s because industry-centric platforms zone in on commonly shared issues. (A note of caution: expenses will still register higher than any public cloud platform because the group size is much smaller).
There’s no doubt it appeals to a more security-conscious audience who appreciate that it offers a middle-road option that is:
- Somewhat comparable to a private platform (with lower costs)
- Significantly more effective than a public cloud platform at a relatively higher price.
d. Hybrid Cloud
Our rating for the government CIO resource pool (9/10).
It takes ingenuity to generate a Hybrid Cloud platform. The latter combines private, community, and public providers. Each aspect is pertinent to different needs within the government department and embraces identified users for various applications. For example, it’s easy to see that a private cloud format is essential to hold proprietary applications. In contrast, the public cloud helps archive data that’s less applicable to current circumstances.
- There’s a demanding skill factor required to develop, maintain, and upgrade a Hybrid Cloud platform.
- It’s a variable convenience that requires regular monitoring by a technologist and strategist privy to the entire platform picture.
- The balance derived from a Hybrid applies equally to government organizations and the private sector.
The three cloud service models and four cloud deployment models above require advice and consultation. In essence, it demands a vigilant, multi-technology experience with a government-centric approach. Finding the right skills and arriving at a realistic budget with all security concerns taken care of calls for expertise.
At CherryRoad, we have a team in place with the skills you are looking for. To know more about our cloud services, mail us at email@example.com.
About the Author :
Akhilesh Kumar is a PeopleSoft specialist and a seasoned ERP consultant at CherryRoad for Oracle Fusion cloud applications.
If you’re looking to develop your IT strategy and collaborate with IT consultants, contact Cherry Road today. We provide digital asset management and strategic staffing solutions to businesses across industries. We’re here to support your organization and facilitate success through innovate SaaS solutions and business continuity planning.