Top 3 Cloud Security Priorities in the Federal Government

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

The last year of teleworking has caused an uptick in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, due to the flexibility, scalability and cost efficiencies that these environments offer dispersed teams. As federal agencies look to their futures within these increasingly complex environments, you can bet security is top of mind. When talking with your customers about how you can help provide peace of mind, keep in mind they are likely prioritizing one (or all!) of the following:

1) Baking security into products during the development process

As more federal software development teams embrace DevOps and DevSecOps, they recognize that developing applications on cloud platforms can further shorten timelines for spinning up new solutions. With this recognition comes an increased focus on baking security into these solutions during the development process.

With this in mind, your customers’ development teams would particularly appreciate solutions for automated testing, configuration management and container security. That last one is particularly important as the FedRAMP program has just issued guidance to cloud service providers (CSPs) instructing them to ensure security for their container technologies. This official guidance demonstrates that container security is an especially crucial consideration for agencies practicing DevSecOps.

2) Bringing protection as close to the data as possible

Past cybersecurity principles emphasized the importance of securing the all-important network perimeter; however, federal officials have acknowledged that’s no longer the correct approach with these hybrid and multi-cloud environments. As I wrote in a previous blog, the TIC 3.0 guidance released by CISA is supporting more flexible approaches to security, including bringing protections closer to the data itself.

To achieve this, identity and access management solutions can play a significant role in enabling employees to access only what they need and no more. Other technologies that support this goal include encryption andeven backup/disaster recovery (part of protecting data means ensuring it isn’t lost).

3) Gaining more comprehensive visibility across their environment

As federal IT environments typically contain multiple cloud providers, as well as a combination of cloud and on-prem systems, the last thing IT directors want to do is juggle a myriad of disjointed security solutions on top of it. Agency officials have expressed concern with their current level of visibility into these complex environments, leaving a clear opening for technology vendors to help agencies close these gaps.

Of course, a cloud access security broker (CASB) is one solution to help users get ahead of activity on their networks, and the Department of the Treasury is one agency that is specifically seeking to acquire one this year. Network monitoring may also come to your mind – be sure to emphasize to your government customers how your tool will improve visibility for them and integrate with the systems they have in place.

With the federal government further embracing cloud technologies during this period of extended telework, it’s no surprise they’re concerned with how to secure these systems. As agencies move forward in this journey, there are many opportunities here for solutions providers to step in and help them navigate the path forward to secure cloud environments.

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About Jessica Parks
Jessica Parks is an analyst with the Market Intelligence team at immixGroup, providing actionable analysis to help technology suppliers shorten their sales cycles. She holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in political science from UNC Chapel Hill.

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