How State CIOs Can Address their Top Technology Priorities

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Connecting state and local government leaders

COMMENTARY | Cloud and artificial intelligence concepts allow governments to evolve their data storage strategies as needed while as-a-service solutions can move workloads to the cloud and procure connected networks more efficiently.

With changing regulations, tightening budgets and the urgent need for flexible technology, state governments are entering a period of significant technology transformation. That’s why it’s no surprise that in the annual National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ (NASCIO) State CIO Top 10 Policy and Technology Priorities for 2021 cybersecurity, cloud services and fiscal management appeared as top priorities. Each has become essential since the onset of the pandemic. As a result, state CIOs must continue to develop their policies and technology to deliver for citizens now, when they need it most, and for years to come.

Reducing Cyber Threat Risks 

Cybersecurity and risk management remain at the forefront of citizen needs. State governments have a plethora of data—making them a prime target for ransomware attacks. Ransomware attacks restrict access to critical systems and data and can also expose citizens' personal information. The most significant issues surrounding cybersecurity include data protection, the remediation process and restoring capabilities quickly following an attack.

When it comes to budget and resource requirements, security frameworks and data protection, states must be investing in their infrastructure while maintaining systems that can be utilized efficiently by stakeholders. State CIOs must consider a platform with security built-in and backup and security in place in case of a ransomware attack. Hackers are getting smarter, and state governments must protect their data by keeping their operating systems updated and ready for the worst. 

Data backup is useful only if it is accessible when it’s needed the most. The speed of recovery is critical for the continuation of government services—citizens can’t afford extended downtime. Rapid restoration is an essential means for governments to protect themselves against the effects of attacks. Recovery point and recovery time objectives ensure that they can avoid major organizational and financial impact, protect data and stay focused on delivering government services.

Connecting Citizens with Advanced Cloud Technologies 

Cloud services are becoming the next big necessity for state governments. Innovation in cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) concepts allows governments to look at their data storage strategies and continue evolving as needs change, implementing solutions like hybrid cloud into their everyday practices. A seamless transition to a hybrid cloud infrastructure allows governments to gradually shift data to a more secure platform.

Many state governments are on different paths in their digital transformation journey. Most successful ones are looking at their solutions to ensure that they advance their missions while creating a fast, future-proof path to modernization. As-a-service solutions allow governments the ability to move workloads to the cloud and procure connected networks more efficiently. Through connectivity with cloud providers, many as-a-service solutions deliver the most intelligent and integrated cloud and AI models to state governments. 

Partnerships with cloud providers that allow customers to seamlessly manage, but also leverage as-a-service solutions or operate expense budgets, are creative ways to integrate unique funding sources into digital transformation strategies.

Managing Costs While Meeting Growing Demands

Many governments are facing budget constraints due to Covid-19. With a combination of record-high unemployment, decreased tax revenues and public health costs, state governments have cut back on spending on infrastructure and other technology programs. In response, many governments have struggled to balance their budgets while also delivering citizens' services.

Many state governments are upgrading technology solutions by taking advantage of the CARES Act funds and will undoubtedly leverage the American Rescue Plan funds once they arrive for software investments that can be utilized to serve citizens with technology. By implementing the flexible infrastructure of as-a-service solutions, states can upgrade and expand storage as needed to power transformational models.

As-a-service solutions offer flexibility and agility while maintaining costs, helping states scale up or down without massive disruption to install. These models allow states to leverage only the digital infrastructure they need at a given time, minimizing the financial burden of unused infrastructure. With limited budgets, states benefit from infrastructure that works with the financial resources they have while remaining innovative and nimble for the future. 

Moving forward, state governments must double down on technology solutions to continue delivering services for citizens. They must continue to invest in solutions that will propel modernization and advance mission for citizens, seeking out IT solutions with flexibility during the pandemic and beyond.

Mike Wiseman is the vice president of the state, local and education division at Pure Storage. 

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