As federal agencies continue to migrate applications to the cloud, leaders are focusing on data and change management to ensure successful adoption.
The Department of Veterans Affairs began its cloud journey with a hybrid multi-cloud environment, which helped the agency integrate its massive on-prem infrastructure into the cloud. Ian Anderson, lead DevSecOps Engineer, Secure Cloud Architecture & Automation at the U.S. Navy explained during ATARC’s 2022 Cloud Migration Virtual Summit Tuesday that hybrid cloud solutions enable his organization to better manage and customize its own security stack.
VA recently launched its Application Hosting, Cloud and Edge Solutions unit, which consolidated the agency’s existing Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office, Platform One Organization, regional and national data centers, the data center consolidation initiative, as well as its platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) offerings.
“We're consolidating all the like functions under one area to get better synergy and improve our modernization efforts and work together provide a unified customer experience,” said Dave Catanoso, acting director of VA’s new unit.
Data is a key component as agencies continue to migrate to the cloud. Anderson noted that his organization is keeping a close eye on large data migration projects to ensure data integrity and security.
Raghav Vajjhala, the Federal Trade Commission’s CIO and CDO, explained that his agency has transitioned its IT environment to run on PaaS and SaaS to better manage large data transfers. The agency is currently improving adoption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and is expecting to see new operational efficiencies in the next six months to a year.
“The biggest thing for us going forward is how do you operate when there really is no data center, and everything is in a cloud provider somewhere? How do you secure that? How do you staff that? How do you maintain that? Basic things like relearning how to upgrade systems when you don't actually own the system,” Vajjhala explained.
As agencies continue to migrate to cloud environments, change management and workforce adoption is often a larger challenge than technology implementation. Senior leadership buy-in is also critical for driving these organizational shifts.
"We have a pretty good experience with cloud at VA. We've been very successful with migrating apps,” Catanoso explained. "Like any large organization change it’s difficult. Getting staff up to speed in the training and making training available has probably been one of our harder challenges. Technology almost seems, in some cases, like it's the easy part.”
To support the transition, FTC has focused on first on to attracting and retaining top talent.
"We always start with what are the skill sets out there in the market that we want to bring in? What do we want to have internally that's going to attract them? We've what we've always landed with: let's further invest in the cloud, because that seems to be the right way to create an environment that's going to bring in golden people,” Vajjhala said.