Governing in the Cloud: How Secure Government Cloud SolutionsAre Enabled By On-Premise Object Storage

Eric Seidman
Principal Product Marketing Manager, Emerging Technologies Division at EMC

Government and large public sector organizations are looking to gain cloud IT benefits of efficiency, cost reduction, agility and scalability. However, the sensitive nature of much of the data in this sector means that using public cloud providers is often not an option. Fortunately, the latest on-premise solutions based on object storage are enabling secure private cloud storage for government.

Like all large organizations today, government bodies have to deal with an unprecedented growth in data being created—and requiring more and more storage capacity. The cloud is transforming IT and data storage, but government organizations have obvious restrictions on how they can use the public cloud to store data.This data may regard individuals, demanding privacy and sensitivity—perhaps being personal,financial or medical in nature. Military and national security organizations have to manage and store classified data, but there is also the larger realm of data that is non-classified but still sensitive—as in the evolving US guidelines around Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

Government Data Benefits With On-Premise Object Storage

Making More of Data for Government

Many government organizations want to enable more intra-agency and inter-agency sharing of data, and are also keen to use the latest big data analytic technologies to gain new actionable insights from data– such as for security threat assessment and detection—but they are often held back from doing so by their existing legacy data infrastructure.

Data storage solutions for large organizations have traditionally been either based on ‘block storage’ (as used in a datacenter SAN) or ‘file storage’ (as provided by file servers or NAS devices).However, these traditional storage models are not ideally suited for today’s growth of unstructured data. They may not offer the scalability required, are not cost-effective at scale, and cannot support modern tools like data-in-place Hadoop analytics that enable new insights. They are also not optimized for secure,inter-agency sharing.

The Potential of Object Storage for Government Data

Fortunately, a new storage model has emerged that is highly scalable to manage data growth, and that works well for big data analytics—‘object storage’—Object storage is ideal and cost-effective for storing large amounts of unstructured data, as it can scale elastically—providing flexible and dynamic ‘pools’ of storage for your modern applications.

Enterprise organizations in many sectors today are looking to the public cloud as an attractive data storage option for applications and archiving. Object storage has become familiar as the technology behind public cloud storageplatforms like Amazon Web Services S3 and Microsoft Azure Storage—but, as discussed, government organizations and their contractors are unable to use the public cloud for sensitive data. They need to store data to the highest security standards, hosted within their own geographic national borders, behind their own firewalls, and with guaranteed availability.

However, with new secure on-premise object storage solutions, government organizations can enjoy all the benefits of cloud—while maintaining full governance and control over their data residing behind their own firewall. Information assets can be distributed and shared regionally, nationally or worldwide, with the highest levels of in-built security.

Secure On-Premise Object Storage Benefits for Government

With a next-generation solution like EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), object storage is now a powerful on-premise option for your government organization’s datacenter, creating a secure private cloud.

Not only do you gain the cloud benefits of simplicity, scalability and elasticity—by storing your data on-premise you also retain control and security. Plus, object storage with ECS can delivera range of additional advantages.

Perhaps surprisingly, on-premise object storage can actually be more economical than public cloud as your storage requirements increase—with EMC ECS delivering up to 65% lower TCO.EMC ECS achieves this partly by using low-cost commodity hardware—seamlessly integrated into a secure and scalable software-defined storage platform.

On-premise object storage is usually hosted nearer to your apps and users, so performance is betterthan with many public cloud services—which are usually hosted in geographically distant datacenters. This can mean a better experience for users of your modern web and mobile applications—both government employees and citizens accessing public online services—but with the reassurance of your own security at all times.

With fast and automatic geo-distribution, the right data isalways stored in theright places for optimum access via any authorized device. Comprehensive security certifications (including RSA) mean that Classified and Controlled Unclassified Information can now be securely stored in the private cloud. Secure intra/inter-agency sharing and multi-tenancy are easily enabled, for synergy of information and more cost-efficient data infrastructure.

Discover Object Storage for Your Secure Government Cloud

An on-premise object storage solution like EMC ECS can give you real cloud advantages. Government organizations that want the reassurance and confidence of a turnkey solution can turn to a partner like EMC for end-to-end software, hardware and support.

Get your organization in position to gain the benefits and efficiencies enabled by secure cloud with on-premise object storage—start small and scale up easily as your requirements grow.

Download and try Elastic Cloud Storage, Free & Frictionless Software.

Learn more about what EMC can provide for a secure government cloud data storage with Elastic Cloud Storage.