Smoothing the cloud migration path

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Connecting state and local government leaders

A new report on the January 2016 MITRE-ATARC Cloud Collaboration Symposium identifies cross-cutting issues and best practices in cloud computing.

What:  The Federal Cloud Computing Summit Report, a summary of the sessions at the January 2016 MITRE-ATARC Cloud Collaboration Symposium.

Why: By identifying and sharing cross-cutting issues and best practices in cloud computing, the report aims to smooth agencies’ migration path to the cloud.

Findings: Discussions among industry, academic, government and MITRE representatives addressed the cloud challenges facing government, including:

  1. Planning for cloud migration: The cultural, financial and technical challenges of migrating applications to cloud environments.
  2. Cloud operation and maintenance: The best practices for operations and management of different clouds and service providers and adapting current practices to cloud environments.
  3. Architecting future clouds: How the government can best predict and adopt new technologies, as well as identify ways to direct research to develop the next era of cloud computing.
  4. Adapting cloud to technology: The challenges that keep agencies from realizing cost savings, efficiency gains and an “on-demand” IT infrastructure.
  5. Security and privacy management: Cloud security and privacy protection, relevant standards and best practices and challenges unique to government community clouds.

Recommendations: Government agencies should start with migrating less complex applications like small websites, conducting software-as-a-service pilots to understand the technology and standing up cloud test environments. More research into projects that use different data types and classification levels will ensure data is placed in the appropriate environment

According to the report, open source technologies and tools can help agencies reduce the management and budget challenges of cloud implementation because these tools already work with cloud services and facilitate data and service portability.

And because consumer-based technology is evolving faster than current government policies, agencies should align their processes with industry trends and assess their portfolio before migrating data.

To streamline standards, government needs stakeholders from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and industry to collaborate on actionable standards for security and privacy management across all cloud services. These standards should also apply to mobile, the Internet of Things and specialized device access to the cloud. 

Verbatim: “Cultural aversions, adopting agile processes, securing cloud access points and acquisition models remain difficulties to overcome. Leveraging emerging technologies, leveraging success stories and best practices and identifying “quick wins” for piloting or testing in a fail-early model can help mitigate the identified challenges.”

Find the full report here.

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