Why Federal Agencies Should Embrace Cloud-Managed Networks

Presented by Cisco Meraki Cisco Meraki's logo

As federal agencies look to provide enhanced services for constituents, several significant obstacles stand in the way. Government networks continue to grow in complexity, while cyberthreats escalate and data volumes increase exponentially. In the annual SolarWinds Public Sector Cybersecurity Survey, 66% of government IT operations and security decision makers reported that their IT environment is extremely or very complex to manage, exposing them to potential cyber risks and threats.
At the same time, there is a growing need to adopt a digital-first approach, bringing together different applications, data access, and hybrid workers in one secure place. This move makes networking and connectivity more important than ever to foster collaboration and boost productivity in the hybrid workplace. But for many agencies, the inability of legacy IT systems to support new technologies and business models and defend against security threats is holding them back.
Increasingly, agency IT leaders are looking to transform their IT frameworks by migrating to cloud-based solutions, including cloud-based networking solutions. Executive Order 14028, issued in May of 2021, recommends that to modernize federal government cybersecurity, agencies should prioritize resources for the adoption and use of cloud technologies.
Cloud-managed networking has emerged as a critical solution for IT leaders who need a network that offers scale, security, and intelligence while upleveling work experiences for employees, both on and off- site. Cloud-managed networking simplifies and streamlines operations and offers improved efficiency and scalability beyond just the ability to access and control the network from anywhere. While there are many reasons for agencies to migrate to cloud-managed networking, FedRAMP- compliant cloud-managed network solutions represent the best way forward.
1. Supporting a hybrid workforce.
Hybrid work is here to stay, that much is clear. What’s less clear is how agencies relying on outdated IT infrastructure can evolve their operations to support the growing ranks of employees working outside traditional office settings. Among government IT leaders, 65% say it’s extremely or very challenging to enable employees to work the way they want, when they want, while also ensuring security and compliance, while 57% say it’s highly challenging to provide consistent, seamless, location-agnostic support for employees.
An intuitive cloud networking platform equips governments to adapt, scale, and meet the evolving needs of hybrid workforces. It enables them to ensure connectivity and performance for users wherever they’re located and provides them with secure access to the specialized cloud applications they require to do their jobs.
Securing hybrid workers is another major concern. The FBI found that cybersecurity attacks rose by 3-4x due to the transition to remote work in 2020. By deploying a zero-trust security model, agencies can mitigate risk with secure access across all environments, no matter where their workers are located.
2. Improving operational efficiency.
One of the biggest benefits agencies realize as they make the transition to cloud-managed networking is a dramatic improvement in operational efficiency, which reduces IT effort and provides seamless, secure connectivity across touchpoints.
While full-stack, on-premises solutions are often costly and time-consuming to operate and maintain, the leading cloud platforms can be centrally managed from a single dashboard. New equipment can be added to the network and brought online instantaneously, and remote users can be added and authorized to use specific cloud applications with minimal effort. When security updates are required, they can quickly and easily be pushed out to the entire network.

Accelerating modernization efforts

Working with a FedRAMP-compliant cloud solution provider can also help agencies accelerate their IT modernization efforts. Every large-scale change brings with it significant challenges, especially in organizations that have been doing things the same way for a long time. By partnering with a trusted cloud solution provider, agencies can benefit in multiple ways. 

The right partner possesses a wealth of technical experience and expertise and can also act as a sounding board at each step of the process. This could take many forms, such as helping agencies better understand the value proposition of the cloud for their organization, navigating any short-term discomfort they may experience during the transition to a cloud-operating model, and offering advice for meeting today’s needs, while also preparing to adapt to future technology and business requirements.
Discover how Cisco Meraki for Government can help your agency with your network and IT transformation journey.

This content is made possible by our sponsor Cisco Meraki; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of GovExec's editorial staff.

NEXT STORY: GovSlack: A Secure Platform for Mission Critical Work