Designing for the Future of Government with Cloud


May 20, 2021

The journey to modernize government through technology in order to provide better, customer focused services to the public is accelerating at a rapid pace due to solutions such as cloud. We’re proud to be a partner in our customers’ digital transformations in the cloud space and beyond.

By leveraging cloud, government agencies benefit from a full-service IT operating environment that is agile, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective.  Our cloud experts have helped our State and Federal customers migrate successfully to the cloud securely, so they can focus on mission delivery and service excellence.

Our VP of Cloud Engineering, Ben Grafton, explains how Cognosante engages cloud technology as a catalyst for innovation in government.

Ben, how is Cognosante helping Federal agencies leverage best-in-breed technology solutions and what impacts are you seeing as a result?

Federal and state agencies have seen real benefits from the adoption of cloud technology. By transitioning from on-premises data centers to cloud-based solutions,  government organizations have saved billions of dollars, improved their overall security posture, and served their constituents more efficiently.

Cognosante’s cloud practice currently supports agencies across the cloud continuum. We migrate workloads from on-premises data centers to the cloud, develop brand new solutions using cloud capabilities, and refactor and enhance legacy workloads. Our cloud framework–Cognosante Cloud Foundations–reflects every phase of cloud adoption, allowing us to develop effective, cost-effective solutions, no matter where a customer is on their cloud journey.

Our practice is cloud-agnostic, meaning that we don’t favor one product or platform over another. Rather, we have experience with a range of Cloud Service Providers and technologies, so we can select the platform or technology that best meets our customers’ needs. Our partnerships include major Cloud Service Providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as smaller, innovative technologies that allow us to maximize the benefits of our solutions.

How is Cognosante leading the paradigm shift from an on-premises mindset to a “cloud native” one?

We strive to fulfill all our customers’ existing needs while simultaneously building the architecture that will serve them well into the future.  From our point of view, inputs to a successful cloud strategy includes the organizational purpose (the mission), security, workforce, cultural, and technology implications of working within a distributed computing environment. Cognosante is leading the transformation to cloud technology for both small scale state cloud initiatives with limited budgets and large government agencies that involve massive cloud operations and migration support. We have significantly reduced the need for contracted data centers, generating billions of dollars in cost savings. While large-scale migrations have a significant impact on total cost of ownership, it’s easy to let cloud costs run up unchecked. Migrating to the cloud is just the first step. Regular reviews through infrastructure rightsizing, a targeted reservation strategy, and refactoring to optimize smart usage of cloud platform services is essential to create a culture of optimizing cloud spend that leads with data security.

It’s important to note that cloud technology is about much more than running a data center. At Cognosante, we have applied cloud paradigms to develop our eSante platform, which is a modular technology solution and methodology based in serverless technology. In this case, cloud technology is allowing us to build elegant, quick, and effective solutions to a variety of healthcare and human services challenges in a short period of time, with low maintenance costs.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to that paradigm shift? 

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has  created a new paradigm for how and where we work. Companies and government agencies had to shift their workforces to remote status quickly, without disrupting operations. Cloud technology was a major contributor in facilitating a swift, smooth, and secure transition. Because cloud solutions offer a pay-as-you-go model, organizations were able to expand capacity immediately, and without having to pay for it before it was necessary. As our workforce reaches a new equilibrium between onsite and remote work, cloud infrastructure can easily be “right-sized” to meet those needs due its scalable nature.

How do you envision cloud technology helping government organizations collaborate more, and share information more in the next few years?

Although every organization is in a different place along their cloud journey, we do expect adoption to increase more and more. Right now, we’re really seeing a convergence of the technology itself, the possibilities offered by that technology, and how quickly it allowed us to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. All these factors will push organizations to look more toward cloud technology as an enabler for distributed computing and distributed collaboration, so they can execute on their missions more effectively.

Even as government agencies embrace the benefits of cloud technology, individual security breaches can shake customer confidence. How are cloud service providers able to adapt to emerging security threats?

Security is always the first consideration for any cloud project. Across our cloud environments, we’re adopting Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark policies to ensure that all our environments are meeting minimum security thresholds for authentication, data access, and encryption, while also addressing security risks specific to each customer. Unfortunately, there will always be security breaches, which are most often caused by human error, not technology failures. But, the more we can automate processes and institute security standards proactively, the better we can eliminate human error and increase the safety of our cloud environments.

Learn more about how we’re helping government organizations secure sensitive data and systems in the cloud.

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