New cloud services and solutions are rapidly entering the market, increasing collaboration and productivity like never before. However, some Federal employees are questioning if commercial cloud services can be used with government devices. After all, when it comes to IT infrastructure security, the end user is usually the most vulnerable aspect. Will using a smartphone to access a commercial cloud permit a larger data leak or cyberattack?
Many federal personnel are given a government-issued phone, tablet, or computer to help them carry out their duties and further their organization’s purpose. Employees sign an agreement in these cases that spells out exactly what they can and can’t do with the gadget. If you’re unsure whether or not to use commercial cloud services, consult this page.
A government-issued device is not given to every Federal employee. Some departments have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, which allows employees to work remotely from anywhere at any time. While the gadget is an employee’s personal property (rather than an official government equipment), it is frequently used for government work, necessitating the signing of a separate agreement, albeit with fewer overall constraints.
In principle, a device can be used to access commercial cloud services in both cases. There is, however, nuance here. The security restrictions established on private and public clouds might be very inconsistent (that is, cloud environments used for a single tenant vs. multiple tenants, respectively). In a nutshell, some apps are riskier than others.
Many IT directors are putting remote protocols on devices to protect against security concerns, with rules and data security parameters configured for each individual employee. These increased security features prevent data loss, data transmission, and unauthorised user access, and they can even be used to remotely wipe clean a lost or stolen device.
Because government IT infrastructure architects are embracing the cloud, commercial cloud services should be accessible from government devices. If you have any doubts about whether a cloud service maintains your data private, follows compliance rules, or is safe and approved to use from your government device, always ask before using it.
Equipment owned by the government that is connected to the cloud
According to a recent Gartner report, nearly half of federal agencies are currently adopting commercial cloud services. Furthermore, commercial cloud services enable them to effectively cut CAPEX and OPEX, which is one of the primary reasons why government institutions are enthusiastically embracing commercial cloud services. Gartner predicts that by 2021, at least twice as many government organizations will be utilizing the power of Public Cloud, with cost expenditures increasing by at least 17.1 percent yearly.
Infrastructure architects, whether they work for the municipal or federal government, have no reservations about implementing commercial cloud services in their enterprises. Furthermore, there are numerous examples of how commercial cloud services have helped government organizations better their current systems. Embracing Cloud Infrastructure Services, on the other hand, should be done with great care and attention to detail at every step. Security threats, network connectivity, system architecture, and other crucial areas must all be scalable, reliable, and robust. Furthermore, they should all adhere to industry standards for commercial cloud services, have a backup plan, and be capable. This is critical in any business, but especially so in government agencies. Government agencies are the first line of defense against overseas threats, and a susceptible system in a government agency will have a significant financial and reputational impact on the country.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technologies can be linked with cloud infrastructures. This is a useful breakthrough for government employees who want to work from home at any time. Unintentionally, this can potentially provide as a route for malicious rogue attackers. The end user is the most vulnerable aspect in an IT system, according to IT security experts. This has been made worse with the addition of cloud access to their company-owned devices. Commercial cloud services, on the other hand, offer a choice of security solutions that address all known security risks in a cloud environment, so all hope is not lost. For example, Amazon Web Services Cloud (AWS) promises a data center and network architecture that is designed to meet all of the criteria of the most security-conscious enterprises, making it an ideal match for government agencies.
As enterprises adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), numerous vendors are pushing the concept of mobile virtualization, which is an add-on to Commercial cloud services, as part of mobile device management.
If IT firms can remotely install a business phone “personality” on an employee’s personal phone, they can set up distinct security policies and protection for the information stored in that profile. These policies prevent end users from moving business data to unauthorized devices or sharing it with other unauthorized individuals. The business data can also be remotely wiped if the device is lost or stolen.
Again, the cloud can be used to handle such configurations, with rules and data security levels specified for each individual employee. The automation that may be utilized to do this can save businesses a lot of money by reducing management time and giving them peace of mind regarding the security of their corporate data.
Other effective security methods that Cloud solution providers have in place are listed below:
1. Maintaining data security
Commercial cloud services is a new technology that tries to consolidate infrastructure and make it easier to access. Data is safeguarded to achieve this purpose, ensuring that only people with the appropriate duties have access to the company’s information.
2. Follows compliance guidelines
Commercial cloud services, particularly those aimed at governments, are subjected to frequent compliance audits to ensure that the cloud service in question has been thoroughly tested against all potential threats.
3. Cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) technologies that are secure
Administrators in charge of cloud-connected mobile devices are well aware of the dangers. For government institutions, this risk is generally multifaceted. This is one of the main reasons why administrators have personal access to remote settings of end user devices to guarantee that data is safely kept and that the cloud system has no weak points that hackers can exploit.
4, The evolution of cloud-based mobile technologies
A wide range of new IT solutions pave the way for offering managed IT services to the government that suit their organizational needs and exceed their high standards. Cloud mobile technologies, for example, enable mobile devices to better cater to the demands of employees, allowing them to improve and be more effective in their area of work. In addition, a cloud mobile strategy can be proposed, which ensures that all technology changes are in line with the most recent cloud infrastructure developments.
Commercial cloud services can be used with government equipment in theory, although there is some ambiguity here, as is typically the case. To begin with, you must define exactly what you mean by government equipment, and then you must define exactly what you mean by employing commercial cloud services.
If you’ve been given a government device to use at work,
If you’ve been given a government equipment to use at work, you’ll have signed a contract outlining what you can and can’t do with it. You should consult this agreement before choosing whether or not commercial cloud services are compatible with your specific government device(s), and if in question, inquire.
If your government agency has a Bring Your Own Device policy,
If your government agency is working on a bring your own device policy, there will be an agreement about how it will be used, but it will most likely be turned on its head. In other words, it will outline what your employer is permitted and prohibited from doing with your device. You’ll probably be fine using commercial cloud services with your “government” equipment in this circumstance, but it’s still a good idea to double-check.
If you’re debating whether or not to use commercial cloud services for government purposes, here’s what you should know.
The first step in deciding whether or not to employ commercial cloud services for government purposes is to define what you mean by commercial cloud services. There are two types of cloud services: private and public. Private clouds are cloud platforms that are only used by a single customer, referred to as a tenant. Public clouds are cloud platforms that are shared by a number of tenants who are unrelated to one another.
Both types of cloud platforms are available as commercial cloud services, and they can be used interchangeably in hybrid cloud and hybrid multi-cloud architectures, for example. The choice of which one, if either, to utilise in which situation comes down to a question of control vs. flexibility. Let’s look at this in greater depth.
On-premises IT infrastructure has been around for a long time.
Traditional on-premises infrastructure provides enterprises with the most control and security in theory. In practise, however, this isn’t always the case, whether in the commercial or public sector. It may be true for corporations and larger, security-focused parts of government, but it is rarely true for small businesses and government organizations.
Traditional on-premises IT infrastructure entails a lot of capital spending in equipment that may become practically obsolete before they are properly depreciated, which is undeniable. It’s also true that traditional on-premises IT infrastructure takes up a lot of physical space in what could be ideal working real estate, and that any hardware repairs or swap outs must be done on-site, which necessitates having an in-house staff or bringing in outside help as needed. For all of these reasons and more, it is increasingly being phased out by both the private and public sectors, and replaced by private and public clouds.
Clouds that are private
Private clouds, which can be deployed on-premises or off-premises (or a hybrid of the two), provide the highest level of security in a cloud environment.
As previously stated, determining how the security of commercial private cloud services compares to the security of on-premises infrastructure is a complex task. However, it’s fair to say that even commercial private cloud services provide far greater cost and usage flexibility while maintaining a high level of security and control.
Clouds in the public domain
Because they are owned and operated by a commercial cloud service provider, public clouds are always deployed off-site. On the one hand, because they’re shared environments, they’re inherently less secure than both traditional on-premises infrastructure and private clouds. However, what this truly means in practise is still a bit of a mystery.
Even public clouds can be more secure than on-premises infrastructure in the private sector, especially for SMBs with limited knowledge and resources. Even in the government sector, where some government departments are in a similar position to SMBs, adopting a public cloud can be beneficial for preserving security.
Commercial public cloud services do really provide a very cost-effective, flexible, and scalable method of managing IT resources, and many government services now value this fact as much as their private-sector counterparts.