Using the Cloud: 12 steps to success

The cloud may help cut costs while enhancing performance. Many government organizations are grappling with the difficulty of truly gaining benefits from the cloud. Recent RFIs support this claim, focusing on transitions and multi-cloud scenarios. Conversations with agency cloud practitioners and procurement officials suggest a need for straightforward guidance.

We created 12 golden principles to assist organizations to maximize their cloud investments. These principles may seem apparent, but the failure rate of cloud implementation shows otherwise. After many years in IT implementing devops support, we find it beneficial to set up these guidelines early on when a firm creates its cloud strategy.


  1. Create a cloud excellence center. Cloud efforts, like any large IT investment, need structural support. We advocate establishing a cross-cutting CCoE with the required charter, governance, leadership, knowledge, and clout. A PMO should be included in the CCoE to handle the financial, change, communications, technical, and operational problems of cloud installations.
  2. IT infrastructure. The same standards of governance and security apply as with any government IT initiative, but with enhanced complexity and timescales. Ensure the CCoE PMO can collaborate throughout the company.
  3. Look beyond the tech. Getting IaaS from a cloud service provider isn’t enough for a successful cloud. Professional services and governance and compliance monitoring tools should be included in the cloud ecosystem. As agencies progress beyond IaaS, the ecosystem might incorporate AI, machine learning, platform and software-as-a-service.
  4. Change management is key. Cloud implementation entails sand pile shifting, which leads to turf warfare. Make sure the PMO has a strong change management mechanism to prevent last-minute squabbles.
  5. Begin small and progress gradually. Most successful cloud adoptions start with one or two small use cases to establish organizational understanding. As knowledge grows, additional use cases may be added.

Money is the main goal. Choosing the correct mix of cloud and on-premise data centers is critical as organizations explore use cases.

  1. Beware vendor lock-in. It’s not always easy to retrieve data out of the cloud, particularly when cloud instances amass data over time. Agencies should ensure their disaster recovery plans incorporate cloud data management.

Quick reminder: for cloud assessment services, contact IT Outpost.

  1. Cloud security is more than FedRAMP. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is not a license. Federal agencies must still complete the risk management framework to get an ATO, therefore make sure their PMO has cloud security expertise who can complete the RMF. So don’t let FedRAMP stand in the way of a really important cloud-based business.
  2. Don’t put all your clouds in one basket. The cloud industry is rapidly evolving, with new features being offered regularly. Consider a cafeteria-style multiaward procurement for cloud goods and services.
  3. Don’t forget the TLS connection. Cloud-based high-volume solutions might soon overwhelm an agency’s TIC. The agency’s support contractor should have extensive expertise virtualizing TICs with OMB and DHS.
  4. Avoid the lake. Creating a data lake is like renting a storage locker; material accumulates and consumers wind up paying for unnecessary storage. A data management plan must evaluate data relevant to the use cases.

Increase the hybrid edge. For cloud-based corporate solutions to work, optimizing traffic across numerous internet points of presence is crucial. To enable scalable and elastic back-end computing, on-premise cloud systems and content delivery networks must be integrated. The CCoE must have a hybrid edge.

Many organizations are wary about moving to the cloud, but following these guidelines considerably increases success. Transformative technological development causes turmoil and takes time. These 12 golden standards for cloud deployment might help organizations get started on their cloud journey.

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