AWS Public Sector Blog

Cloud is the New Normal in Government. Now What?

The U.S. federal government has been migrating to the cloud for a long time. See the full timeline here. Their cloud journey began with email services and websites, and now virtually any type of workload is running in the AWS Cloud. From websites to mission-critical apps, the cloud is helping government agencies accomplish things they never thought possible.

With nearly every department and virtually every sub-agency working in the cloud, the question is – what’s next?

Watch this video to hear from Brett McMillen, Senior Manager for U.S. Federal Civilian at AWS, talk about the future of cloud computing in government.

Below are a few takeaways from his talk:

Agencies will start moving from workload-specific cloud migrations to enterprise-wide solutions

In the past, agencies have picked specific workloads to move. Agencies are now realizing that every program area can benefit from the cloud. With agency-wide governance, acquisition policies, and standard procedures, migrating applications to the cloud can be done quickly, easily, and securely.

Workforces will become more productive

Federal employees can experience greater empowerment with new technology tools that allow them to focus on strategic, innovative, mission-critical work. By equipping staff with cloud computing capabilities and the confidence to take on new responsibilities, government agencies invite fresh ideas, a place to test them, and the potential to solve complex issues affecting the environment in which they operate.

One example is CMS. CMS worked to bring five years of records online, from 50 states, totaling over 70 terabytes of data. Once they migrated to the cloud, they gave their developers, who previously had limited resources, a cloud account. The developers had immediate access to best-in-class services that unleashed their creativity. With the agility and speed of the cloud, teams were able to quickly build, experiment, and launch new services.

IT systems will become much more responsive

During a 3-5 year contract, things change, but IT systems tend to be fairly static. Code deployments often cannot keep up with the speed of change. However, by moving to an agile DevOps model, IT teams are able to iterate quickly and deploy code on a daily basis, with little risk. Government can be more responsive to what comes from Congress or the public.

More organizations will be able to solve problems that they weren’t able to solve in the past

In the past, the problems IT could solve were limited by what was in their data center. Now, the only limitation is their imagination. Technology is being used to solve new problems to better serve citizens.

Take the case of human health. A surprising solution by a startup that empowers individuals is SkinVision. SkinVision aims to save human lives by putting technology in people’s hands for skin health self-assessment in the comfort of their own homes. SkinVision offers a free-to-download app that allows people to scan their bodies in their own homes and have the pictures assessed by SkinVision’s machine learning-based algorithms in 30 seconds. After that, staff dermatologists examine the image to control accuracy, which is now at over 90 percent. SkinVision’s staff dermatologists review and tag 200 images an hour, which has resulted in a database of over three million images that the machine-learning algorithm trains on. By using AWS, SkinVision is putting their technology in the hands of the masses and solving problems in new and innovative ways.

Learn more about AWS in government here.