This article was originally published in Government Computer News.
It’s hard enough for the public sector to keep up with current digital transformation imperatives, such as the modernization required by the Data Center Optimization Initiative, without having to worry about what twists and turns the next wave of emerging IT technologies and regulations might have waiting around the corner.[i]
Luckily, we believe we can look to a number of the digital trends re-shaping business for important clues about how to approach today’s government digital transformation initiatives to help ensure success tomorrow. These include:
- Innovations in high-speed networks, such as 5G, are poised to dramatically accelerate critical agency data collection and analysis efforts. For example, drones that act as first responders now have the potential to be combined with Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to detect national threats and speed life-saving information and insights prior to any boots hitting the ground.
- Distributed data management and cybersecurity challenges weigh very heavy on today’s government IT organizations. To expedite the analysis of the vital intelligence necessary to protect everything from our ports of entry to government employees under continuous phishing attacks, AI and machine learning (ML), and quantum computing platforms will increasingly be distributed.
- Blockchain is proving to be a valuable societal tool, whether the focus is on fighting voting fraud or combatting diseases. As you read this, multiple, interconnected blockchain networks are being born to solve some of the public sector’s most sensitive transaction validation issues.
- Changing data privacy and protection laws and heightened public privacy concerns are inspiring more progressive and distributed security processes, especially within agencies that require a data chain of custody, such as the Department of Defense.[ii] Creating a trusted border security platform can help ensure data can only be accessed on a “need to have” basis.
- As the federal cloud-first mandate has transitioned into the current administration’s “Cloud Smart” strategy, more guidance is available on how to approach cloud security and procurement, and build the workforce skills to drive cloud adoption and implementation.[iii] At the same time, cloud complexity is escalating as agencies increasingly leverage hybrid/multicloud infrastructures to optimize and scale application performance. In response, cloud-based hardware security module (HSM) services are on the rise as agencies move to simplify hybrid/multicloud data encryption key management.
Private interconnection: Laying the foundation for successful government digital transformation
For government agencies to capitalize on these powerful digital trends while solving the transformation challenges they introduce, they need a fast, reliable, scalable and secure interconnection platform. According to the second annual Global Interconnection Index (the GXI), a market study published by Equinix that tracks, measures and forecasts the global Interconnection Bandwidth growth between businesses and organizations, public sector digital transformation is rapidly accelerating private interconnection. Interconnection Bandwidth reflects the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic, with a diverse set of counterparties and providers, at distributed IT exchange points inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers. The GXI estimates a 66% compound annual growth rate (2017-2021) in installed Interconnection Bandwidth capacity in the government and education sector.
You can build a high-caliber, private interconnection foundation for your government IT organization that can accommodate the requirements for this escalating private interconnection growth by following these three best practices:
- Re-architect the information exchange
Remember those drones sending critical data over 5G networks? Direct, private interconnection distributed out to the edge, where most IoT devices reside, shortens the distance between the devices sending this kind of data and the digital resources analyzing it. The resulting low latency enables the kind of lightning-fast insights that save lives. Get started by re-architecting your centralized network as a distributed, interconnected fabric of private exchange control points that bring you new collaboration and data sharing capabilities. This puts your data proximate to dense clusters of networks, clouds and information exchanges required for real-time information collection, exchange and analysis.
Create a strong, border security platform that segments and controls your data traffic—bypassing public internet risks—to address those scenarios that require the highest level of cybersecurity. This might include protecting blockchain networks; securing data repositories for data privacy, protection and compliance; and stopping data breaches initiated by unwitting employees and malicious bad actors.
- Integrate capabilities with hybrid/multicloud
For cloud-smart strategies, deploy hybrid/multicloud infrastructures into localized control points to simplify application, data and multicloud integration and streamline inter-agency operations. Move applications into clouds, choosing API-based services for elasticity. Integrate compliant partners and develop flexible, consumption-based contracts that can be leveraged for more cost-effective hybrid/multicloud access by a greater number of agencies. For example, some state and federal government IT organizations have set themselves up as brokers of cloud services for other agencies to consume, removing much of the complexity and cost from cloud adoption.
- Enable a digital government
Create efficient, integrated, seamless inter-agency collaboration with SaaS-based office suites and information exchanges to transform your organization into an interconnected digital government. Build a smart nation with sensor-based trend analysis, creating actionable insights regionally and nationally, and ensure agency mission-critical application resilience with integrated, policy-based disaster recovery tools.
Government modernization is shifting agencies from traditional IT architectures to more distributed, interconnected IT platforms that can directly and securely connect all the locations, people, clouds, data and things needed for success. Regardless of where your government agency is in its digital journey, creating a robust private interconnection foundation now will prepare you to ride the next wave of digital innovation and transformation with greater agility.
Learn more about enabling an interconnected government.