5 Misconceptions About Cloud Migrations in Federal Agencies

September 17, 2019 in blog

5 Misconceptions About Cloud Migrations in Federal Agencies

Without no doubt, we can all agree that cloud computing has played an indispensable role in modernizing how corporations, businesses, and enterprises work. Owing to this unprecedented success, the government has found it fit to shift from traditional ways of conducting business to reap the numerous benefits that come with the cloud. This radical shift is evident from the passing of the Government Modernizing Technology Act, the 2018 President’s Management Agenda, and the findings of the White House American Technology Council report. From these, it is crystal clear that the government considers modernizing its services a top priority. And migrating its services to the cloud is the frontrunner of all its efforts. Moreover, most government organizations are too well aware of the importance of shifting their services to the cloud. 

The problem is, integrating cloud computing with federal services is shrouded in a myriad of misconceptions which revolve around security risks, and costs among others. Consequently, the adoption of cloud technology is either slowed or hampered together. To set the record straight, here are five misapprehensions about cloud technology and the reality

1. Migrating to the cloud is always cheaper.

The truth: When migrating your services to the cloud, you must take into consideration the software’s initial and maintenance costs. For instance, it might not be worth to invest in lift and shift non-transactional applications. Even so, it doesn’t mean that you should not migrate to the cloud. If you are looking for a user-friendly and seamless operation which often includes scalability and integrating new capabilities to your application, it will come in handy to shift. However, the cost-benefit ratio depends on the workload. For some applications, you might not notice any significant drop in costs while in others, it can be potentially high. 

2. All our organizational data should be in the cloud. All our data processing should take place there, too.

The truth: Cloud technology will not always give you the necessary processing power and bandwidth to handle all of your organization’s data. As a matter of fact, trying to transfer large loads of data from the cloud to the user has the potential to cripple the network. If you are dealing with data-intensive workloads such as machine learning algorithms, employing decentralized data processing, or a hybrid architecture will come in handier. 

3. The cloud is intrinsically insecure such that it jeopardizes the safety of organizations data

The truth: This is clearly unfounded. The rise of industry-mandated security frameworks like Risk Management Framework (RMF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), plus dedicated cloud service provider (CSP) and contemporary monitoring and tooling make the cloud safe and powerful enough to handle big workloads of data. Therefore, the success or failure of an agency’s effort to migrate to the cloud is grounded on the capacity of its integrator, application owner, and CSP to clearly define techniques of securing the software’s layers, its architecture, and infrastructure. 

4. To benefit from cloud technology, organizations need to adopt a cloud-native architectural application-wide, or enterprise-wide approach. 

The truth: Though you can achieve lots of flexibility, and efficiency by decentralizing workloads into containerized micro-services which can be scaled, developed and updated independently, your migration to the cloud doesn’t have to be the “big bang” phenomenon. I mean, cheaper approaches like employing interim milestones can also bring that much needed operational efficiency. 

5. In case of disruptive events such as natural disasters, power outages, or cyber-attacks a multi CSP strategy is necessary for recovery

The truth: Building a recovery and Cross CSPS backup on singular workloads can potentially incur a low cost to risk ratio. However, the chances are slim since it requires that all of your service providers should go down simultaneously. To avoid this, it’s essential that you leverage multiple ability zones, establish the risk to cost ratio, and build a fault-tolerant architecture when planning for your DR. 

The Bottom Line

The thing is, there are several factors that federal agencies need to take into consideration before migrating to the cloud. Fortunately, the DOD, CSPs, and the federal government are lowering the bottlenecks of adopting cloud technology. This gives integrators the leverage to help these agencies implement and develop cloud techniques that strike a perfect balance between technological advances and long term needs. 

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