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Secure Transformation: Overcoming Challenges in Government Cloud Adoption

Government organizations can exponentially expand the reach and impact of services they provide through the adoption and the implementation of cloud services and emerging technologies. But novel technologies with added features require new resources, risk management practices, and technical skills for implementation, operation, and maintenance.

Today 78% of government organizations have cybersecurity staffing shortages, according to ISC2’s annual cybersecurity workforce study. In addition to staffing struggles, governments working toward mature, secure cloud adoption must overcome various procurement challenges, budget constraints, and compliance requirements. 

Still, in no way do IT modernization challenges outweigh cloud adoption’s benefits to communities, organizations, and workers. Cloud technologies can make it significantly easier to research and request services through online portals and centralized information sources. Cities can improve environmental practices with cloud-based analytics for water treatment and conservation initiatives. Government workers can save time and better protect critical infrastructure with the help of AI-enhanced cybersecurity capabilities. The possibilities are truly endless as cloud services exponentially expand the variety of features and services cloud-based applications enable. 

These are a few emerging security technologies that can help government organizations of any size improve their overall security posture, reduce organizational risk, and increase productivity for security teams. These include the following:

  • Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) integrates cloud and network security capabilities to provide seamless remote user security experience and increased visibility across environments.
  • Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) ingests security logs from numerous sources to automate threat remediation when possible and triage incidents to security staff when escalated.
  • Attack Surface Management (ASM) provides an external view of the organization from a hacker's perspective, identifying vulnerabilities and auditing cloud assets to reduce risk with increased visibility.
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) automates the identification and remediation of security policy gaps and compliance risks within cloud configurations.

That’s not to say that delaying cloud adoption will reduce risk. Organizations with unpatched servers or un-maintained legacy software containing known vulnerabilities will remain prime targets for cyber criminals. With that in mind, I believe digital transformation is entirely necessary to both improve service capabilities and organizational resilience. Getting residents the services they need and protecting their sensitive personal data can enhance quality of life within communities and improve public trust in government organizations. 

Additionally, government organizations that securely enable digital transformation should expect benefits in the form of:  

  • Impact: There are numerous ways cloud solutions can boost the impact of citizen services. Cloud solutions may provide new functionality like analytics to optimize service targeting, customization for citizen journey guidance through complex processes, or automation for enrolling citizens in service programs, just to name a few.
  • Reach: Cloud solutions can be used to develop new services that reach more people whether they are in geographically remote areas, have added accessibility needs, or are confined to their homes by enabling online access through cloud services.
  • Resilience: Secure, resilient infrastructure is a key factor in maintaining operations when incidents and disasters arise. Added visibility from cloud monitoring, automated patching, and risk analysis can all reduce an organization’s chance at disruption.
  • Trust: Cloud-native solutions make it easier to securely store and integrate data. Protecting constituents’ sensitive information is a natural way to build trust. New tools can also help build trust in government operations related to infrastructure and elections, as well as ensure 24/7 service availability.
  • Efficiency: Cloud applications make it simple to utilize the benefits of AI, which is both a trendy buzzword and a disruptive force for all industries. Intelligent automation is one of the easiest ways to make employees more efficient and effective. Other benefits of intelligent automation include AI assistants, enhanced analytics, and generative capabilities for developing contracts, playbooks, and other written content.
  • Safety: Citizen safety efforts can benefit from cloud tools in a variety of ways. For example, public safety organizations can improve efficiency with computer-aided dispatch and emergency management can plan for disasters with cloud-based mapping and climate risk tools.

To provide the most impactful and innovative services to citizens, IDC believes it is necessary to ensure the implementation and adoption of cloud services and emerging technologies are done with cybersecurity considerations in mind. IoT endpoints, edge devices, and applications of AI have transformative potential to benefit citizens across the world. Government organizations must overcome fears of the unknown to safely enable innovation with confidence.

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