private sector has shown that migrating
significant amounts of capabilities to
the cloud allows organizations to shift
their standard, day-to-day enterprise
information technology work force to a
mission work force, Garciga points out.
Instead of concentrating on everyday
network support, this work force can
focus on deploying new and emerging technologies as well as building an
innovation-oriented staff. “That is a
pretty tough organizational change to
go through,” he says. “It means shifting
skill sets and working the human capital
piece to ensure that existing and new
personnel are ready for the shift.” This
might entail an 18- to 24-month process
for retraining and retooling the work
force, he adds.
JIDO has been going through that
process over the past three years to
provide a big data cloud platform
in its own building, Garciga notes.
The organization spent 18 months
changing its culture and shifting skill
sets to handle the task. With mov-
ing to the cloud, “When you look at
why folks are hesitant—there is a lot of
hesitancy there—it affects your human
capital,” he states.
JIDO considers new technologies
carefully. Garciga relates that he has
traveled to Silicon Valley with JIDO’s
director to examine technologies and
capabilities. While allowing that “there
is a lot of great stuff that would be awesome to implement in the Defense
Department,” Garciga says that much
of it would not make as much sense for
his organization to implement. Out-sourcing financial activities to a cloud
provider is very different from out-sourcing defense or intelligence functions, he adds.
The transition to the cloud tends
to be less taxing for civil government
because it does not face the same strin-
gent requirements as the defense or
intelligence communities. Garciga
offers that the differences boil down to
two main areas: security and recovery.
Maintaining data integrity is essen-
tial for defense and intelligence opera-
tions. Also, both the defense and intel-
ligence communities must be able to
restore their information technology
capabilities quickly if they are shut
down by internal problems or external
actions. “If you have a critical incident
against an infrastructure that you are
not currently hosting as a command—
one that has critical national security
implications—and you are not able to
bring it back up and are dependent
on a vendor, that is a significant chal-
lenge,” he declares.
The cloud does offer civil government some security advantages, especially with its standardization aspects.
But that same standardization may
limit agility, Garciga offers. Also, a single vulnerability point could provide
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