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Getting #CloudSmart: Not If, But When

We are entering a new age of technological expansion. The advancements of both hardware and software have enabled a shift in the operations and logistics surrounding businesses, as many companies have seen increased efficiencies by moving to the cloud. Given these successes, the public sector has begun to follow suit as more organizations have realized the benefits and potential behind cloud computing. These cloud solutions play a key role in empowering the rapid transition of new modes of work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term “cloud computing” includes a broad array of services, classified into three main categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

The Gradual Public Sector Shift

Until recent years, US public sector organizations were largely focused on storing their data in on-premise locations. The discussion of moving to cloud-based options was only brought up in 2011 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) through the Cloud First Initiative. While the initiative stated that the federal government should move to the cloud, it lacked specific guidance on how to accomplish the move.

Given that lack of guidance, there was little advancement towards cloud computing within the public sector for years. However, 2015 saw the public sector adopting cloud computing faster than the private sector. This was in large part due to the introduction of FedRAMP, or the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. The FedRAMP certification issued a certain level of quality and oversight related to cloud services intended for use by the federal government. The trust that organizations could put into FedRAMP-certified cloud services and the subsequent increases in organizational efficiency led to public-sector industries transitioning from on-premise services to modernized cloud computing at increasing speed.

These initiatives were also complemented in 2018 by OMB’s release of the Cloud Smart Strategy, “a long-term, high-level strategy to drive cloud adoption in Federal agencies.” The strategy consists of three inter-related areas of focus: security improvements, increased procurement efficiencies and savings, and better workforce retention.

Benefits of Cloud Implementation

By implementing cloud computing, organizations both private and public have seen increases in efficiency and decreases in cost, particularly in the storage of data. According to NortonLifeLock Inc, the cloud can be considered more secure due to its lack of centralization. Malware and phishing scams can infiltrate a hard drive and lock important data away until a ransom is paid, but storing data on the cloud allows authorized users to access this data from anywhere, rendering the typical phishing attack less effective.

Organizations can also use cloud computing to establish flexible control and easy oversight over managing costs, mitigating risk, and determining business decisions. With cloud procurement platforms, procurement processes do not need heavy initial investment or maintenance fees, allowing the procurement process to be extremely cost-effective. Cloud procurement platforms are also user friendly, allowing for efficient and easy organization among all branches of the organization.

The streamlining of HR systems through cloud computing leads to efficiencies in workforce retention. When it comes to workforce management, a cloud solution is the best option, especially when employees are spread across the world or through remote work environments. Cloud-based workforce management enables the automation of typically manual HR processes, such as updates to retention schedules, while keeping your current retention setup in place. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of cloud-based workforce management has never been more important.

Our Approach to Being #CloudSmart

Here at Acronis SCS, we have aligned our own cloud journey with the OMB framework’s three main areas of focus:

Security. Given the nature of our mission, Acronis SCS always has security top of mind, whether we are considering our own computing environment or those of our public sector customers. We are so confident in our cloud-based products, we use them to provide state-of-the-art endpoint protection and secure storage for our company’s own devices and data.

Workforce. Another key part of embracing the cloud has been ensuring our “human firewalls” do their part to keep our company #CyberFit. This means training every employee to spot cyber threats before they become a problem.

Such an approach also includes attracting diverse talent with the right skillset and mindset for delivering both security and innovation. At Acronis SCS, we firmly believe a diverse workforce is a stronger one – forty percent of our staff hail from communities traditionally underrepresented in tech, including veterans and women. In fact, we believe so strongly in this mission that we founded a nonprofit, Acronis SCSVets, designed specifically to help veterans and military spouses get the cyber training they need to help organizations stay secure while becoming Cloud Smart.

Procurement. As a company that is one hundred percent focused on the US public sector, Acronis SCS prides itself on helping government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and nonprofits stay #CyberFit as they transition to cloud or hybrid environments. That starts with providing access to cutting-edge products that don’t break the bank. We work with a network of trusted distributors and resellers, as well as fellow technology solutions providers via partnerships like The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS), to better reach and serve organizations of all shapes and sizes.

But easy access means nothing without the right product. When searching for a cloud solution that offers airtight security, easy backup and recovery options, and leading protections against the latest cyber threats, public sector organizations can count on Acronis SCS Cyber Protect, our user-friendly, comprehensive platform that ensures data, applications, and endpoints stay safe and mission ready. 

The Inevitability of Cloud Computing

As cloud computing continues to advance and as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, a more comprehensive public sector shift to the cloud is not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.” Whether your organization is just starting out on its Cloud Smart journey or has been at it for some time already, Acronis SCS is here to help you stay #CyberFit along the way.