Let’s just go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room. The Department of Defense has a problem with innovation and getting up to speed with technology. In fact, in many instances, the DoD has cut itself off from industry standards and best practices over the years. Having a methodical, well-thought-out process is a gap for the DoD that can be rectified without arbitrarily spending money in a strained budget environment. This is why the public sector has found itself behind the curve and scrambling for a quick solution. Thus, I wanted to take the time here to talk about the DoD’s hybrid cloud problem and my thoughts on how we can fix it.
A lot of the issues that the public sector faces on the technology side is a lack of knowledge and experience. The lack of full life-cycle implementation experience is a problem. The private sector doesn’t have it perfected, but they have done it enough times to get an implementation done correctly. So, breaking down how we can solve this issue within the DoD is critical.
Proper Hybrid-Cloud Practices
How the public sector deals with new technology isn’t the best approach. They see it as either a threat or just something that should work out of the box. That’s not how it works. So, your organization’s operational standards need to be aligned with the cloud strategy. That takes a lot of work and collaboration of thought to get correct. So, being diligent when executing a hybrid cloud strategy is critical. The typical bureaucracy within the DoD when it comes to implementing a mass-scale product will not work here.
Proper Hybrid-Cloud practices include running continuous audits, following a zero-trust strategy, and implementing the process of least privilege (this is a whole article in itself). Those items don’t happen automatically. Those practices are driven by what initiatives you have already laid out. Running continuous audits doesn’t just mean going out and maintaining standards. You have to have the standards laid out in order to maintain them. Those standards need to detail. On top of that, creating a zero-trust strategy is also a massive undertaking. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have security issues anywhere.
Lastly, implementing the process of least privilege includes understanding who and what organizations need what privileges. That requires understanding what each function of your organization actually needs. That is a challenge for any leader even in the private sector. So, it does require quite a bit of attention.
Collaboration is Key
A lot of what goes into solving and implementing a proper cloud strategy can be pointed to collaboration. Nothing happens without a conglomeration of minds working to solve the problem. A good example of this is the creation of the internet. If you are an organization within the DoD looking to implement a hybrid cloud strategy you have to collaborate. Adoption is the only way to get this working. If you stick to the knowledge that you have on your team you won’t win there isn’t enough experience on any one team to solve every problem. But if you collaborate with different organizations and have a sense of inclusion. Because those other organizations can provide insight that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. Also, it helps that collaboration is the key to innovation and is definitely the main solution to the DoDs Hybrid Cloud problem.
Have a Well Defined Process
Having a well-defined process is crucial to success at anything. All this means is that you have thoroughly thought through how you will implement the plan and how it will affect other initiatives. This is why investors/VCs request to see a business plan before they invest in a business. They want to see if the guy they are about to give money to thought through their own business before they fork over any money. The same goes for a Hybrid Multi-Cloud Environment. The more you think through how you will go about implementing this thing the smoother it will be in the long run. Not only that, but it will also be cheaper in the long run.
Having those well-defined standard operating procedures will go a long way in properly maintaining those data and software repositories. Managing those repositories within the DoD has been a massive problem. The lack of a well-defined process is why repos like PlatformOne and Black Pearl have failed to live up to the expectations.
I will say, however, you shouldn’t just spend your entire time thinking about it. There is a lot to say about having a 70% of a plan and attacking it viciously and iterating as you go. There is a delicate balance of planning for too long and actioning too much. Which is a whole other topic I won’t get into here.
The DoD’s hybrid cloud problem is a doozy. If we don’t get up to speed in the tech sector we are in huge trouble. The battle with our near-peer threats will be lopsided and not in our favor. Luckily, we don’t have to look far to get the answer to our problem. The public sector has to work very closely with the private sector to get the right processes and knowledge transfer in place. This is what I hope to do with this platform. I would like to make this a place where individuals can inform and educate both sides of the coin on technological best practices. That way we can close the knowledge gap that currently exists.