IT modernization is a major focus for both government and industry today. As the complexity of systems grows, so do the demands to protect and store information. The volume of information only grows, along with the demand for the developers, architects and analysts needed to evaluate and protect it. And as the use of cloud and hybrid cloud solutions permeates across government, many agencies are seeing the need to advance their disaster recovery and back up services.
ClearanceJobs recently discussed tech modernization, data security and the cloud with John Feid, senior business development executive at 1901 Group. Feid is an expert in providing cloud computing solutions to government customers. He discussed the 1901 Group’s Disaster Recovery (DR) and Back Up (BU) as a Service (DR/BUaaS) solution. The need for such services has only expanded with the growth in data recovery and cloud services.
“We’ve been dealing with this for a number of years now and most government agencies have come to the conclusion that they’re going to have workloads running on prem, off prem, private cloud, and also in the cloud itself using CSPs to do so,” said Feid, “It really kind of boils down to having solutions that support all of those environments.”
Fied noted the DR/BUaas is service provider agnostic, and works on cloud instances including Azure, AWS, Google, or other cloud providers. That flexibility means data can be backed up and secured across ecosystems. And it follows procedures the government requires, including limitations on the amount of time data is stored.
“We can easily set up policies using our Cohesity platform to set up retention policies for these types of activities and, and disposal of data,” said Feid.
The term ‘cloud computing’ was supposedly coined by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at an industry conference in 2006. But the notion of network based computing has been around since almost as long as computing itself. While the cloud is nothing new, its widespread adoption, and specifically the government’s use of secure cloud computing options, has rapidly advanced over the past five years, culminating in the recent announcement of a winner in the Department of Defense’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract. With that ramped up adoption come some misconceptions about what current cloud solutions offer – and what they don’t.
“Customers generally have this assumption that data in the cloud is backed up and haven’t fully understood their role and responsibilities with regards to the cloud, and what services are being provided,” said Feid. “In recent years, cloud service providers have added additional services that meet some of those requirements and some of them don’t.”
Companies need to understand not just what their cloud solutions are capable of, but also what the government agencies they’re working with require, whether they’re at the federal, state or local level.
New Challenges, New Talent
The growth of cloud solutions has led to an explosion in cloud-related IT positions.
“There are a number of different skill sets that are required for an implementation starting from the top, going down,” said Feid. “We really kind of focus on the architect – having certified architects and cloud certified architects because you really have to understand the requirements based on the agency in order to put together the proper architecture.”
1901 Group has professionals focused on data classification, data protection, and data encryption. That includes network security professionals and those with deep skills in specific technologies. Because these kinds of professionals are in such high demand, however, 1901 Group sees growing and training talent in critical areas as key.
“Growing talent internally is really a key focus for us,” said Feid. “We’ve had very good success doing that through our programs with different universities and just bringing people in and, and allowing them to make a determination of where they want to take their career, and then we provide the career path to educate them and certify them and give them the proper experience to further their skillsets.”
With the amount of data collected only growing, the focus on back up and recovery efforts will grow, as well. The government has experienced first-hand what happens when you leave unencrypted data vulnerable to bad actors. What it collects, it has an obligation to protect.
“Digital transformation is really causing an explosion in the collection of data. And it’s really putting more focus and more pressure on organizations to ensure that they’re protecting their data. And as these agencies transform themselves into a data driven organization, it becomes even more important from a data management perspective that they can ensure that their data is intact, protected, and inaccessible to actors who mean to do them harm.”