Today we’re pleased to feature a guest perspective by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Market Intelligence Consultant from immixGroup, a key Palo Alto Networks partner in the government market.
immixGroup helps technology companies do business with the government. immixGroup’s unique platform of services enables software and hardware manufacturers and their channel partners to grow their public sector business and accelerate the sales cycle. Government agencies trust immixGroup to provide leading IT products through their preferred contracts and business partners.
A mantra I’m hearing repeatedly from government executives is the need for cost avoidance, in addition to cost savings. As civilian and defense agencies cope with constrained budgets, now more than ever federal CIOs need to pursue cloud services and virtualization in order to meet savings objectives. Increased adoption of cloud services and virtualization will enable agencies to meet those objectives while carrying out their mission.
In addition, with the impending U.S. Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative and agency-specific deadlines coming up, civilian and defense agencies can look to leveraging virtualization and the cloud to reduce their IT footprint. As FY 2015 approaches, here are a few important things to consider to ensure cloud and virtualization solutions are effective and targeted:
- Communicate to industry that one size does not fit all. Stress the importance of understanding your mission space and how flexibility is key to ensuring cloud solutions fit appropriately. Government speaking circuits are chock full of C-level executives speaking on top level strategic goals and policies but there needs to be more granularity. Educate vendors on the intricacies of your business and your specific pain points.
- Commercial cloud adoption is impeded in large part in the U.S. by the small number of vendors endorsed by FedRAMP. Encourage more vendor participation in the certification process and find ways to lower the barriers to entry without foregoing security considerations. Expect the number of certified vendors to pick up over the next year – use them.
- Government agencies need a better understanding of their own inventory. Many agencies readily admit to underestimating the number of servers, server utilization rates, applications and data centers.
- Figuring out innovative ways to store and retrieve information is ineffective if the data itself is not secure. As Heartbleed and numerous other examples show, protecting this data is critically important so agencies should also be thinking about ramping up investments in intrusion protection, continuous monitoring, and other security technologies. Data analytics is also necessary due to the daunting amounts of structured and unstructured information that agencies face every day.
In summary, looking ahead to the next fiscal year, government agencies have their hands full. They are constantly grappling with handling increasing data loads, while at the same time being required to collapse their infrastructure. Therefore, it is imperative that cloud and virtualization be a major priority for FY 2015.