How multi-cloud innovations can unlock the potential of government agency data
By Chris Osborn, Australian Federal Director and WA & SA Regional Director, Dell Technologies, Australia and New Zealand
Friday, 03 June, 2022
The multi-cloud, or an organisation’s use of more than one cloud service provider, is a convenient way to store and share data.
Many government agencies have embraced the opportunity to easily share data with remote workforces, choosing multiple cloud services to suit the needs of their various missions.
However, without a clear and cohesive strategy, data stored across clouds can become unwieldy and time-consuming to manage while opening vulnerabilities, increasing the risk of a cyber attack. Advancements in multi-cloud technology, like those recently unveiled at Dell Technologies World, can help connect cloud services and simplify their management.
Embracing innovative multi-cloud software and solutions will improve how government agencies manage their data and applications, which are increasingly spread across multiple, disparate locations. Bridging the gap between cloud services — from data centres, colocation facilities and public cloud to the edge — will allow organisations to manage their data across all sites with ease and agility.
By adopting a multi-cloud ecosystem, government agencies will unlock a unified, secure cloud experience that will improve their cyber security and resilience, and streamline processes while maintaining flexibility and freedom of choice. Ultimately, the advancements will unlock the full potential of government data and prepare agencies for the multi-cloud future.
A multi-cloud ecosystem
Work-from-home and hybrid workforces have continued past pandemic lockdowns, becoming permanent fixtures. Sharing and storing data on the cloud has become increasingly commonplace, and often several cloud solutions or platforms are used to take advantage of the benefits of each.
A study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Dell Technologies supports this, revealing that 83% of organisations in the Asia Pacific and Japan have adopted a multi-cloud approach or plan to within the next 12 months. Government agencies are among the organisations making the move to cloud services — for example, the NSW Government reports that by 2023, all NSW Government agencies will have a minimum of 25% of their ICT services on a public cloud.
The push towards a multi-cloud environment gives agencies the chance to rethink their data storage in terms of their workloads and specific mission needs. Each cloud platform offers unique benefits that can be leveraged for specific purposes, meaning agencies can get the most value from their data.
However, with a growing number of users and countless Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices connected to the network, handling the data can get complicated, and the risk of a cyber attack grows. Stringent cybersecurity measures are a must for government agencies, which often need to manage sensitive data, making them particularly vulnerable targets. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has encouraged organisations to urgently adopt an enhanced cybersecurity posture following numerous high-profile attacks. One of their top three recommendations is to back up data regularly to the cloud and ensure it’s secure to avoid loss of data in the event of a breach.
Unfortunately, backing up data to the cloud isn’t enough. Ransomware and malware attacks can infect backup files by spreading to connected hard drives, IoT devices and cloud storage. The ACSC suggests having files backed up offline on multiple storage devices in different buildings or locations and swapping hard drives regularly for maximum security. Though this may be effective, it’s inefficient and can be a time-consuming drain on agency resources.
Agencies can benefit from the new vision for the multi-cloud: bringing together the best aspects of public and private cloud to create a unified, secure cloud experience that’s more connected and consistent across all environments.
To achieve this vision, cloud service providers like Dell Technologies are championing an open multi-cloud ecosystem, partnering with leading hyperscalers and cloud stack vendors to create a diverse partner community that works together on behalf of the customer. These advancements in multi-cloud storage can protect data in new ways, enhancing an organisation’s ability to recover from an attack while giving them the opportunity to effectively use their data — without having to spend countless hours managing the data across services or creating backups.
Innovations can unlock potential
Protecting data while getting the most out of it is key for digital transformation, and Dell Technologies’ cloud storage software innovations embrace this fact. The multi-cloud management solutions and partnerships announced at Dell Technologies World will provide a consistent operating model across providers to deliver a streamlined cloud experience.
By extending the multi-cloud ecosystem, agencies will have freedom of choice rather than being limited to one service or multiple disconnected platforms, and the management of various services will be an easier task. Agencies can expect to power new levels of automation and security with multi-cloud flexibility.
One of the major partnerships announced — between Dell Technologies and Snowflake, the Data Cloud company — will give agencies the ability to use on-premises data stored on Dell object storage with the Snowflake Data Cloud while keeping their data local or seamlessly copying it to public clouds. The companies will work together to connect data from Dell’s industry-leading enterprise storage portfolio with the Snowflake Data Cloud. A first of its kind, this collaboration will help government agencies have greater flexibility operating in multi-cloud environments, meet data sovereignty requirements and easily turn data into insights.
On top of this, Dell announced the new APEX Cyber Recovery Services, plus more than 500 software advancements across Dell PowerStore, PowerMax and PowerFlex, which will deliver faster data insights, better multi-cloud data control, and increased cyber resiliency. These advancements highlight Dell’s storage software innovation following the introduction of Project Alpine, which will bring the enterprise capacity, performance and protection of Dell storage software to public clouds.
Implementing a holistic multi-cloud strategy and automating storage operations will give agencies greater data visibility, giving them the ability to fix issues quickly as they arise and maintain compliance across all clouds at the same time. This will significantly reduce manual labour time spent on maintaining, sharing and securing data on the cloud.
Other benefits include improved security and resilience, better application performance, greater storage capacity and less disruption to business operations. Essentially, these innovations will assist government agencies as they navigate the new age of multi-cloud storage and will turn their data into an asset rather than a liability.
The multi-cloud future
The future of data storage resides in the cloud — across multiple, connected platforms. Effective multi-cloud storage can be used to unlock the full potential of agency data while reducing complexity and manual labour and protecting it from cyber threats. With the new partnerships forming between cloud service providers, and innovative software and solutions, government organisations can be free to choose whichever, and as many, cloud platforms and solutions suit their varying needs, equipping them to excel in the multi-cloud future.
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