The $ 350 billion in aid to state and local governments in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was a desperately needed measure to bolster public finances that had been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed. On the heels of two previous multi-billion dollar rounds of federal aid, government agencies are looking to use this new funding to invest in long-term projects that will improve their ability to meet the needs of their constituents and deal with the needs of their constituents. future crises.
In light of a general lack of understanding of what state and local governments can – or should – use funding for, IT decision-makers in these organizations need to think creatively about what they can do with that money at all. by adhering to Federal orientation on how it can be spent.
Perhaps no area offers a better potential return on investment than upgrading the foundations of computer systems. Cloud-based technologies, in particular, offer many benefits to government organizations, ranging from lower costs to higher scalability and simpler deployment that can help strengthen critical public infrastructure and offset some of the negative economic impacts. crisis, but they remain underutilized in the public sector.
To take full advantage of these benefits and ensure that employees can use them safely and reliably, national and local government organizations should consider investments with the following three principles in mind.
One of the main challenges organizations face as they transition to the cloud is understanding where all of their assets are located. As data, workloads, and services migrate to the cloud and the shift to remote working accelerates, it’s critical to understand what’s going on in the network environment. Network administrators can’t secure what they can’t see, which is why the priority of any cybersecurity strategy should be investing in solutions that give teams visibility into the network.
In the traditional network environment, where devices and workers connected to a centralized data server, visibility was (relatively) simple, as network connections were all established and managed centrally. But in today’s cloud environment, people, data, and devices are mostly localized outside the four walls of the office or a hybrid of the interior and exterior. This has increased the complexity of managing and securing today’s network, paving the way for vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit.
Fortunately, there are solutions that leverage the network infrastructure that organizations are already using:DDI (DNS, DHCP, and IP address management) —to give administrators a complete picture of the devices connected to the network and with whom they are communicating. These services can be a powerful tool in providing a fundamental layer of visibility and security for government networks.
Another challenge that government agencies may face as they transition to the cloud is the difficulty of securing a large attack surface. More devices connecting from outside the network and more data located in the cloud means there are more locations to secure, more potential vectors for bad actors to exploit, and more surface area to work with. attack to defend.
Traditional security solutions and their unique approach simply can’t keep up with the diversity of connection types, locations and devices in the cloud-centric world. State and local governments looking to take advantage of cloud opportunities can overcome these challenges by leveraging security solutions that deliver fundamental security across the entire network, wherever their users or their data are located.
DNS is one such solution, providing a fundamental and powerful layer of security for networks and securing users and data, whether they are on-premises or in the cloud. Protocol, which is one of the first things a device uses when connecting to a network, can be used to monitor network traffic and proactively identify threats based on where that traffic is going. Its power lies in its simplicity and ubiquity (around 90% of malware uses DNS to enter or exit a network), making it one of the most cost-effective methods of securing a network.
A final challenge that agencies may face as they transition to the cloud are the challenges of securing and managing different cloud-based systems, each of which may be in a different environment. An application running in a public cloud can use data on an on-premises server, which a user accesses from their home network.
With workloads on the move, network management and security becomes immeasurably more complex. Automation and orchestration solutions can help ease some of the burden on security teams, freeing them up for more important tasks.
For example, the information provided by DDI gives administrators a complete view of their network, both in terms of devices connected to it and from where traffic is sent. Automation and orchestration solutions can then leverage this information to identify and isolate security threats, whether it is an unauthorized device seeking to connect to the network or a device seeking access to the network. known malicious sites.
DDI can also help integrate all of these different systems for easier tracking and management. The information it provides can help network managers monitor all of their cloud and on-premises assets from a single location, no matter where they are, and ensure continuous, secure and reliable access to users, wherever. that they are.
As the saying goes, in a crisis there are opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been one of the biggest crises states and local communities across the country have ever faced. But support from the federal government gives those same organizations the chance to build a strong and stable technological base for the future, based on the simplicity and flexibility of cloud-based technologies.
As they consider the investments they will make with this new funding, public sector organizations around the world should consider solutions that can provide visibility, security, and integrations to make the transition to the cloud smoother and more secure.
As chairman of Federal Infoblox, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infoblox inc., Ralph Havens oversees the organization’s sales, operations and growth initiatives in the federal marketplace. He is responsible for establishing the company as a leader in DDI, DNS security and network automation solutions for the US government. Havens has over 25 years of leadership experience in the federal tech space and has a deep understanding of the challenges federal agencies face when implementing IT solutions.