Learn the Ins and Outs of Cloud Implementations for Public-Sector Agencies in Our Latest Podcasts
Posted on March 15, 2022 by Glenn Bischoff
The “cloud” still seems to be a thing of mystery to many in the public sector. To help unravel the mystery, MCP created three podcasts, which can be found on our website, SoundCloud, and Spotify.
The first podcast features subject-matter experts from MCP, Eric Caddy and Gary Pulford, and from Amazon Web Services, John Persano and Gigi Boehringer. They provide a high-level overview of why cloud implementations make sense for public sector agencies and under what circumstances. In the next two podcasts, Caddy and Pulford are joined by MCP’s Jamie Sullivan, and they discuss specific benefits that can be gained from cloud implementations, factors to consider before moving to the cloud, the obstacles that stand in the way of such implementations, and how those obstacles can be overcome or, better still, avoided.
Each podcast is wide-ranging and full of useful insights — all can be found on MCP’s website. The following are some the key takeaways from each:
Cloud Services for Public Sector Organizations:
A cloud simply is a collection of servers on which software and databases are stored and which can be accessed on demand 24/7. There are many clouds, which generally take one of three forms: native/public, which is hosted by a cloud services provider that serves many entities; private, which is dedicated to and hosted by the agency onsite, or by a third-party contracted by the agency; and hybrid, which combines elements of the two. Amazon Web Services is an example of a large cloud environment, but there are others, notably Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
Cloud implementations offer advantages in terms of scalability, information technology (IT)/cybersecurity, and the pace of innovation. As agencies require more computing power, data storage capacity, and greater access, cloud implementations enable them to scale up as needed very quickly.
Many public sector agencies have outstanding IT/cybersecurity capabilities, but even they often struggle to keep pace with technology innovation and cybersecurity threat evolution. This is even truer of smaller agencies whose capabilities are lacking due to resource constraints. In contrast, cloud service providers, especially the large ones, have capabilities that far exceed that of public sector agencies. Regarding the pace of innovation, cloud implementations enable agencies to take advantage of new technologies faster and easier than if they were implemented on premises — an agency even can try out a technology upgrade before committing to it.
However, there are key factors that must be considered before moving to the cloud. One concerns connectivity. Agencies need to ensure that they have the connectivity needed to access the cloud 24/7 and perform all of the actions that they need to perform.
Click here to view the podcast.
Benefits of Cloud Implementations for Public Sector Agencies:
Numerous specific benefits exist to cloud implementations, but a couple stand out. One concerns infrastructure and database backups. Often, agencies have backup facilities, but they are located in fairly close proximity to their primary facility, which doesn’t do much good when a tornado, hurricane, wildfire, or flood strikes. But when backups are stored in a physically secure cloud environment that is located hundreds of miles away, operations can be restored much faster. This applies as well to cybersecurity breaches, especially those involving ransomware.
Implementing infrastructure, applications, and databases in the cloud also makes it much easier and faster to transfer operations to another facility if a “bug out” situation occurs. For example, the ability of personnel to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has paid tremendous dividends, and cloud-hosted capabilities played a huge role in making that possible
Also, the cloud environment enables an agency to shift the burden of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure and applications to the cloud service provider. This enables the agency to place all of its focus — and resources — on its mission.
Click here to view the podcast.
Cloud Migration Factors to Consider For Public Sector Organizations:
While it might seem at this point that moving to the cloud is an easy decision, there actually numerous important considerations that should be addressed before committing to such a migration. Again, one of them concerns connectivity. Another concerns the comfort level the agency has with relinquishing control of its mission-critical infrastructure and applications to another entity, even one that is well-qualified to assume that burden.
In addition, integration of cloud-hosted infrastructure with infrastructure that will remain in the agency’s equipment room can be complex. Data storage, retention, and access also must be considered, and policies adjusted. An important question to ask of cloud service providers is, what level of transparency do they provide concerning what is occurring in the cloud environment, e.g., will they provide easy-to-interpret dashboards? Finally, is the cloud environment FedRAMP and StateRAMP certified? (Each provides a framework that ensures that the environment has in place the security requirements and best practices necessary to support federal and state agencies, respectively.)
Given all of this — and much more, as discussed in this podcast — it is imperative that agencies develop a comprehensive strategic plan before embarking on a cloud implementation.
Click here to view the podcast.
What you have read in this blog merely scratches the surface of what was discussed during these three podcasts. I urge you to view to them — I am certain that you will find them to be time well spent. Meanwhile, MCP subject-matter experts are eager to answer all of your questions regarding cloud implementations, to help you develop your strategic plan, and to help guide your procurement — so please reach out.
Glenn Bischoff is MCP’s content specialist. Prior to joining the firm eight years ago, he was editor-in-chief of Urgent Communications and Fire Chief magazines. Email him at GlennBischoff@MissionCriticalPartners.com.
Topics: Next Generation 911 Networks, Industry News, Public Safety Technology, Public Safety, Workforce Optimization, 911 and Emergency Communications Centers, Fire and EMS