When the cloud houses many single applications that aren’t designed to work with other servers, it can indicate communication problems within government agencies.

The Small Business Administration uses the same application on two different cloud networks.

“Two offices that never talk to each other, they’re doing the same thing,” said Maria Roat, chief information officer at the SBA, who spoke at Cloud Connect on Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C. “The problem right now is the cloud is really siloed.”

The architects of the cloud networks that the Federal government is acquiring need to be able to understand the technology, the data, and the users to prevent problems, according to Roat. They need to understand the way the data moves within and outside the agency, what applications the workers are using and where, and the future needs of the agency. The security professionals also need to understand the architecture of the cloud systems.

“It can be overwhelming but it’s doable,” Roat said.

Agencies also need to look forward to the capabilities they’ll need in the future. Roat said that if an agency installs new routers, they need to consider what those routers will be able to support in the coming years and whether they’ll be able to accommodate new technology such as software defined networking.

“What’s a legacy system anymore?” Roat said. “What’s legacy today could be new technology two years ago.”

When Roat was the chief technology officer of the Department of Transportation, she began talking about hybrid cloud solutions in 2013.

The DoT created a hybrid cloud solution as an enterprise solution in 18 months.

“Not every solution is the same,” Roat said.

Agencies need to figure out what they own, get rid of old applications, and find the multicloud solution that fits their needs, according to Roat.

“Some of this is not new but people are not taking advantage of it,” she said.



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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.