By:  Nick Michaelides, SVP of U.S. Public Sector, Cisco

Co-Author: Grimt Habtemariam, Federal Cloud Strategist, Cisco


We all understand the benefits of moving government to cloud. Especially the added value of better security for data and new capabilities that can support the large variety of missions and business needs across government. Since mandates and executive orders already provide us the “why” behind that move, we should seek clarity on the next move forward to achieve government’s IT modernization. As I take on new responsibilities as the leader of Cisco’s U.S. Public Sector business and focus on the needs of our Federal, State, Local and Education customers, I believe we would all benefit by figuring out the next step, the “how,” together.

Cloud ready strategy: Getting started

Let’s start with some existing Federal agency efforts to accelerate adoption of cloud in Fiscal Year 2020. This includes the new Federal Cloud Computing Strategy and an update to the Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative. Each can provide keen insight into lessons learned from private and public sector enterprises while providing some practical guidance for implementation.

The Application Rationalization Playbook, which is the third interconnected strategy document, is another valuable resource. It can provide a methodology for agencies to evaluate their enterprise IT portfolios and make more informed business decisions on where to host their applications and data. It’s also important that as agencies seek the right IT options to meet their mission needs, they make sure their on-premise, cloud and edge environments will be securely integrated and connected.

IT enables mission outcomes

How to drive IT modernization

Did you know that your network can be used to unleash  IT modernization and drive a successful cloud strategy? A cloud ready network means you’re on your way to true modernization. Remember, your network is the medium to connect everything and the central nervous system of your IT environment. Make sure it’s cloud ready so your team can balance the complex mix of cost, performance, security, visibility, compliance, citizen experience and simplicity.

At Cisco we’re helping agencies unleash the power of government networks by delivering more ways to enable, connect and optimize so they can better enable mission outcomes.

Data and cloud ready networks

Today’s world is one of data. And so is tomorrow’s. Data, big and small, is everywhere. This is forcing organizations to rewrite their business strategies in real-time. The need to enable the speed and pace of innovation required for technology to deliver on mission objectives means government agencies will need a cloud ready network built for data. One that:


Benefits of intent-based networking

Every day we’re being overwhelmed by the exploding number of applications, software, end-devices and cloud options being introduced. It can be difficult deciding what can help versus what may confuse, be too complex or cost too much. Add the need for government to deliver the next generation of digital experiences and agencies will need to have an infrastructure that can efficiently scale, adapt and help them solve business problems without missing future opportunities.

The network powers digital government

Bringing everything together on an IP network allows innovation and efficiency today and in the future. That’s why Cisco’s intent-based network integrates all networking domains. This delivers an agile, multi-domain infrastructure for modern digital government.

Our intent-based network also leverages machine learning and analytics to automate policy from the Software Defined (SD) Campus, to the SD-Access, to the SD-WAN, to the data center, to the public cloud—all the way to the edge. Plus, the Cisco intent-based network recognizes that security is not something that is layered-on, but rather built-into every layer. This integration between security and the network helps to reduce time to detect, prevent and mitigate threats.

Cisco’s integrated multi-domain architecture allows different IT domains to work together to fulfill their collective intent. It lets you define a policy once, apply it everywhere and monitor it systematically to ensure it’s realizing business intent.

Improving government efficiency

When accelerating IT modernization, Federal CIOs also face accumulated technical debt. To eliminate expensive operation and support tail on business velocity and pace of innovation, agencies should invest in foundational technologies that impact future value. This includes intent-based networking, containerization and standardized capabilities delivered as-a-service (aaS).

With intent-based networking capabilities (like programmability), government can enable a network to function as a software platform that can be quickly deployed and updated, and  automate tasks. Plus, by leveraging AI/ML to implement and maintain desired network conditions based on real-time data, Cisco’s cloud ready network is able to quickly respond to changing mission needs, increasing your agency’s operational agility.

Cloud ready means mission ready

A cloud ready network empowers agencies to solve complex problems faster and deliver incremental and additive impact on mission. Best of all, it does so while empowering your workforce to focus on improving the services they offer and to better serve citizens.

As the move to cloud and the push for IT modernization in government grows, developers will push the limits of what applications can do, resulting in a citizenry that will continuously expect better, more enhanced digital experiences. That’s why our team of industry leading experts in networking, cloud and cybersecurity are building a self-optimizing and self-healing cloud ready network. One that will help government agencies enable better mission outcomes today and into the future.

Additional Resources:

Infographic Cloud Ready Network

Cloud Ready Networks: What successful Cloud adoption means for DOD

Plus the Government Matters video – Cloud Ready Networks with Cisco’s Mike Younkers



Nick Michaelides

Senior Vice President

US Public Sector