Scaling out cloud connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for some Federal agencies, but continuing to do so will accelerate the government’s pace of IT modernization and its ability to better serve citizens, Federal officials said at a Feb. 2 event organized by ATARC.

Sanjay Gupta, chief technology officer at the Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Small Business Administration, said turning to cloud-based solutions during the pandemic allowed his agency to boost security, and improve staff performance and customer experience.

“Because we were in a telework situation we needed to ensure that we were maintaining a strong and a healthy cybersecurity posture,” Gupta said. “We leveraged cloud-based solutions, and that allowed us to meet the mission needs while being able to balance all of these competing priorities in a quick manner.”

Adam Grandt, managing director of the General Services Administration’s Cloud Adoption and Infrastructure Optimization Center of Excellent (CoE), said his organization works with “agencies in very, very different places in their current modernization cycle to try to meet the needs of workforce mobility.”

Grandt said that in order to help agencies get ahead in their modernization efforts, “most of the work has been around scaling up networking capabilities to facilitate cloud connectivity.”

Using cloud solutions to increase modernization is key for agencies, Gupta added. In a pre-cloud world, Gupta said, stitching together data sets for a comprehensive viewpoint would not even be “feasible.”

Now, in the cloud world, Gupta said it’s possible to send data to as many cloud-based sources as you like and share data sets across Federal agencies, which both increases collaboration and speeds the pace of modernization.

“The collaboration between agencies, within one agency, across sub-agencies, that is critical to keeping the government moving forward and modernizing,” Juliana Vida, chief technical advisor at cloud data company Splunk, said. “We’re better together and there’s enough technology out there, it’s a matter of joining forces as human beings to bring our creative minds to just accelerate the government into a modern future.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.