The Government Cloud is Coming

If you’re like me, you’ve been hearing the phrase, “the cloud is coming” for years before you ever learned that winter was too. I never read any of the books, which first came out in 1996, so it wasn’t until the Game of Thrones TV series started in 2011 that I first heard the phrase “winter is coming.” So, when did I start hearing of the cloud’s inevitability? For me, the “cloud” started when people began insisting that it didn’t really exist, like Oracle’s Larry Ellison did back in 2008. And I distinctly remember thinking that ‘ol Larry had a point.

Larry’s point back then was that the tech industry was just putting a fancy name on stuff that already existed. Ellison began,

The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about.

Larry’s statement reminded me of an even earlier time, around 2005, when I kept hearing the IT joke that SOA stood for “Same Old Architecture” instead of “Service-Oriented Architecture.” What SOA and the cloud have in common is the concept of services. Modern computing is always moving toward services.

Why Services?

The same reason why most people don’t bake their own bread or make their own shoes. You outsource that function to others, at a cost that is cheaper then you doing it yourself. This is the same reason why cloud computing is so attractive to IT organizations. It has the potential for an extremely positive ROI. It’s all about money folks, and remember our tax dollars fund all the government IT budgets, so we all want increased ROI. Therefore, “The Cloud is coming.” To every government network, whether in the form of public, private or hybrid networks, The Cloud is coming.

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Obviously the services within these private and public clouds need to be secure, and in today’s networks that means securing your user’s identity. We’ve been saying “Identity is the new perimeter” at Centrify for a while now, and that’s because most hacks nowadays occur because of compromised credentials, and this is true within government IT as well. Proper security mandates that authentication of individuals should require smart cards or other two factor methods, and that you should layer on top of this additional multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods when appropriate. MFA could also occur whenever a user requests authorization to raise their privilege level and whenever they need to perform certain tasks. We’re still concerned with money and positive ROI here, so even our security needs to be efficient, and this is why today’s clouds are designed with centralized Identity & Access Management (IAM) services. Centrify has two such services, for identity and privilege, available within both public and private clouds. The Centrify Identity Service (CIS) and the Centrify Privilege Service (CPS) are part of Centrify’s Identity Platform, which provides comprehensive security access for all users, applications, resources and devices.

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For a few years now, whenever I learned of government organizations moving to Office 365 or Google Mail, the taxpayer within me smiled a little. Nowadays, I’m constantly learning of government IT teams moving applications and infrastructure to some type of service based cloud network, and this taxpayer is smiling a lot because he knows a well designed cloud with centralized and secure IAM services is an efficient cloud with a positive ROI. And, he understands the rumors are true: to every government network, The Cloud is coming.

Learn more about the Centrify Identity Platform here