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Change can be daunting for government agencies. The status quo is often the road most taken, even if it means lost efficiencies or foregoing the latest innovations. Especially when faced with migrating data to the cloud, agencies resist not because of the perceived value (most recognize that the transition is both inevitable and beneficial), but because of the perceived complexity. Federal agencies are confronted with constraints, like ATOs, that commercial enterprises don’t have. To help agencies take the first step, we’ve put together key insights into three of the most common hurdles – and how to avoid them – when migrating to the cloud.

Hurdle No. 1: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Despite the federal government's cloud-first mandate, most agencies don’t know where or how to begin a cloud migration. Lack of clarity or the failure to plan a clear migration path can stifle a project from the beginning. Government agencies must be prepared to address these crucial phases of the project:

  • Understanding the breadth of the existing system
  • Identifying and updating key stakeholders, both inside and outside the agency
  • Determining whether any service disruption or loss of data availability will occur and establishing a mitigation plan, including a strategy for backup and recovery
  • Planning the rollout – whether all at once (the “rip-off-the-bandage” method) or in planned stages
  • Contracting an experienced service provider capable of high-performance SLAs (one who, like GovDataHosting, can guide you through every phase of the project)
  • Selecting a replication software and porting your data to the new environment
  • Measuring program metrics after migrating to the cloud and briefing senior agency leadership

Hurdle No. 2: Information Security and Compliance

Data in motion represents a risk. Before an agency moves to the cloud, especially for high-impact systems in defense, law enforcement, emergency services, finance, or healthcare, it needs to fully understand the compliance standards and requirements for an Authority to Operate (ATO). A well-engineered cloud migration plan will put security at the forefront and: encrypt data in transit; authenticate access to cloud-based applications; provide around-the-clock monitoring; and support intrusion detection. Your cloud service provider can overcome these hurdles if they are equipped to provide fully-managed FISMA, FedRAMP, and DoD-certified service bundles that balance security with rapid delivery. Threats are continuously evolving. Proactive security measures should, too.

Hurdle No. 3: Staying on Top of Data Stewardship and Governance

As more and more agencies shift programs and systems to the cloud, they are likely to oversee a portfolio of public, private, and hybrid clouds, with data stored across environments. This represents a challenge to traditional data stewardship and governance, given the complexities of migration and upkeep. At the heart of it all is data quality. Implementing more progressive data stewardship or a more formal data governance program ensures that core agency systems remain intact, while fully maximizing cloud economics. Turning over these responsibilities to cloud vendors is a way to stay on top of the cloud infrastructure safely and cost effectively.

It’s About Risk – and How to Minimize It

Underpinning each of these hurdles is an agency’s tolerance for risk, which can vary greatly based on mission or application. An experienced, single-source, integrated services provider can address these issues and mitigate potential risks before they become a problem. That’s what GovDataHosting does best. We leverage decades of expertise and nationwide service to deliver advanced government cloud hosting solutions, cyber security, and information management technologies.

To streamline cloud adoption, we provide white glove support and the industry’s only 100% infrastructure availability SLA. We’ve seen these hurdles before and help agencies navigate around them every day – to get up and running on the cloud faster and with greater cost savings. Isn’t it time your agency took the lead on cloud adoption? Simply give GovDataHosting a call and we’ll build a strategy for success together.

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