Future Cloud: Strategies for the Next Generation of Government Services
In this Q&A, Marcus Moffett, Cisco Chief Technology Officer and Senior Director of Engineering and Architecture for the U.S. Public Sector, discusses the strategies leaders should consider to connect, secure and automate the solutions that will power the next generation of government services.
The pandemic demonstrated that cloud technologies have both the agility and the power required for government to innovate at scale. In this Q&A, Marcus Moffett, Cisco Chief Technology Officer and Senior Director of Engineering and Architecture for the U.S. Public Sector, discusses the strategies leaders should consider to connect, secure and automate the solutions that will power the next generation of government services.
How will changes in cloud infrastructure affect public sector organizations?
As they reimagine the delivery of services, government agencies are moving into a hyper-distributed environment where IT infrastructure breaks free of traditional borders. But when agencies escape the four walls of their data centers, they can lose security, insights and visibility into what’s happening. In response, we must secure the enterprise and transform the network architecture.
How are applications being re-imagined for the cloud environment?
We now have the flexibility to deploy applications in much smaller bites with containers and run microservices in multiple places to help developers rapidly code. By 2024, 500 million new applications will be developed, most of them with this new methodology. But because applications are distributed (often in multiple containers and with microservices), agencies need to change how they secure these applications and provide an optimum experience.
How will the underlying IT infrastructure need to change in order to connect, secure and automate these applications?
Connectivity looks very different. When you send traffic directly to the application in a cloud environment using technologies like SD-WAN, there are less bandwidth requirements at the corporate head-end, and the user gets a higher quality experience. When you onboard people and devices, you must secure that traffic. Plus, there’s visibility. You need full stack observability — eyes and ears at the network and application levels.
That combination of a new way to connect and secure and the observability means that you can deliver that functionality safely, securely and efficiently for the end user with a top-quality app experience.
How does the enterprise approach to security need to change?
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is the focus of cloud-based security, but we can’t be so far out on the SASE edge that we forget there are a lot of on-premises applications that need protection. SASE provides workload protection on traffic going out to the cloud, but if that traffic is going back to the local data center or it’s destined for something in house, you must think about security from an internal perspective.
By 2022, we’ll see about 50 percent of mission-critical apps living in the cloud. That also means 50 percent will be living on premises, making firewalls and endpoint security still critically important.
How can cloud technologies empower employees in a hybrid environment?
Technology is letting us work from anywhere. Every meeting going forward will have at least one hybrid worker. That means asking yourself if each attendee is provided an equal opportunity to contribute. Conferencing becomes more than just a video call or phone call—it evolves into a platform providing workers opportunities and experiences just as beneficial as those found in traditional in-person meetings.
What else does the public sector need to think about as it positions itself for the future of cloud development?
We must consider the act of interaction across a wide range of use cases. This includes daily collaboration with colleagues (including across agencies), governing by legislatures, delivering critical healthcare services to citizens and connecting justice agencies. The future of cloud development will center on application experience. That’s why now is the time for public sector IT leaders to actively reimagine and rethink how we can deliver quality constituent experiences and increase worker efficiency. In the end, this can help drive a higher quality of life for everyone.