In an interview with Federal News Radio, Janice Haith, the recently retired Deputy Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Navy, revealed that the next step for the department's information technology (IT) modernization is the adoption of cloud-first strategy.
According to Haith, one of the reasons why the Department of Navy (DoN) is increasingly leaning towards a cloud approach is because of the positive result of its software consolidation initiative. This initiative aimed to eliminate application redundancy and lessen the need for system customization by investing on commercial or off-the-shelf software solutions.
Haith explained in the interview that when the department started the initiative in 2011, they had little visibility as to how many of their software licenses were actually being used. Until then, these software systems remained unassessed as to whether or not their capabilities could be efficiently used for multiple functions.
Haith noted that since then, significant changes have been implemented in the way the department buys and manages its technology, resulting in better productivity for the division and more savings.
"We've changed the way we use our devices. We used to be tied to one vendor, but now we are vendor agnostic for the most part. That is a good thing," Haith said. “With our product choices, we’ve gotten more standardized so we don’t have to customize as much anymore. We use the products right out of the box, which I know the vendors like because they hate the fact that we customize so much. But now we can use more [commercial off-the-shelf] products without having to make all those major modifications, and they work well.”
As part of the department's ongoing IT developments, Haith said in the interview that the DoN looks to further increase savings by migrating more of its data and applications to the cloud.
“We will move as much as possible into the cloud environment for all of our applications,” she explained. “As more vendors get approved by [the Department of Defense], we will be using those.” Haith also mentioned that the DoN is looking to have about three or more data centers.
The adoption of an enterprise cloud computing model could actually result in cost efficiency since funds being invested in software licenses would then be funneled into creating a more resilient and agile cloud setup to enhance the department's overall operations.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace and agencies are looking for more cost-effective and reliable solutions to meet growing demands in a resource-constrained environment. Incorporating cloud computing as part of the overall IT strategy is an important step that will enable Defense agencies to take advantage of proven technologies and innovative solutions as they look to modernize and transform.
However, this also means that a strategic investment should be in place to increase security on data and applications in the cloud, as well as data ethics among personnel. As data openness increases, so does the risk of security. Robust cybersecurity systems, mutual accountability practices, and ethical review procedures are all pertinent factors in the cloud-first strategy.
“Much like the Internet 20 years ago, the cloud is a genie that simply will not go back into the bottle. However, this new environment demands a cybersecurity strategy that moves beyond prevention to continuous vigilance,” adds Dr. Julie E. Mehan, MetroStar System’s Director of Cyber Security Strategy & Alignment. “This requires a strategy that fully embraces the life cycle of cybersecurity from prevention to response and new technologies that facilitate big data analysis.”
While this signifies that there is an ever-increasing sense of government trust in cloud computing and managed IT services, it is important for government divisions like the DoN to also consider channeling their cloud migration savings into reinforcing cybersecurity and partnering with certified IT contractors, who will help ensure the success of the cloud-first strategy and the continuous modernization of the U.S. Navy.
To learn more about the benefits of adopting a cloud-first strategy, take a look at MetroStar’s cloud implementation services, which leverages big data to support cloud cybersecurity.
Learn more about creating a secure cloud environment
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