Feb 22 2021

4 Considerations for Government IT Pros Managing AWS Cloud

Amazon Web Services provides managed services and more to ease government deployment of cloud resources.

Deploying cost-effective, reliable infrastructure is a must in the public sector. Multiple cities and states leverage Amazon Web Services. Cloud resources are essential for serving web pages and juggling terabytes of user data. What should IT departments consider before hopping aboard?

1. AWS Has a Strong Security Compliance Record

Government agencies can’t choose cloud service providers without proper vetting. State and local governments abide by stringent operational guidelines, which assess a platform’s viability based on security and compliance. 

AWS GovCloud and AWS US East-West are certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program to handle sensitive data and accounts. Over 6,500 government agencies rely on them. Additionally, Amazon’s Authority to Operate on AWS program drives three times more authorizations than Azure or Google Cloud. IT teams have the green light with AWS. 

2. Accurately Measure Your Budget for Cloud Services

AWS resources operate continuously. It’s necessary to assess pricing for solutions like the company’s GovCloud, Elastic Compute Cloud and others before committing. AWS provides cost tables, which are tabulated per second, per minute or per month. 

Storage, compute and database resources traditionally can be expensive. However, governments can sidestep heavy input costs with AWS. Teams can calculate their running costs with the AWS Pricing Calculator. They may also tailor service plans to meet agency spending goals. AWS offers pay-as-you-go options, reserved capacities and volume discounts.

Monitoring is key to decoding fluid expenditures. Continual analysis — via spending reports and forecasts — is crucial for budget optimization. How are services utilized? Are savings possible?

3. Ensure Robust Cloud Monitoring and Security

Visibility into one’s AWS infrastructure is essential. Amazon and partners offer tools that compile real-time analytics, such as Amazon CloudWatch and CDW Amplified™ Services. Governments in particular oversee highly sensitive data from numerous sources. AWS realizes this, and it provides GovCloud deployments for all security classification levels.

AWS solutions are scalable without compromising security. After establishing monitoring based on determined goals, teams may see how active government services are. Is uptime universally steady? Is activity normal, or does it indicate something nefarious, like a distributed denial of service attack or a hack?

It’s also important to monitor active ports, root access and password integrity, and to establish role-based access control to bolster AWS security.

4. Establish Thresholds for Alerts on Cloud Services

AWS performance will fluctuate as services operate. CPU percentages, memory consumption and utilization can change in minutes. Consider how those eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are hammering state web portals in response to COVID-19. It’s crucial to know public systems can effectively pass similar stress tests.

All IT teams should establish threshold-based alerting. When instances and resources become taxed, rapid reallocation may be necessary. Governments can’t allow crashes or poor performance to impact users. AWS allows teams to extinguish fires.

READ MORE: How can Integration Platform as a Service aid stat and local governments?

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