The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is progressing with its cloud strategy, and the agency’s components are leading the way in cloud migration, DHS Cloud Action Officer Kshemendra Paul said at FCW’s Smart Cloud, Smart Government workshop today.

Paul reported that as of April 2019, 281 of 661 total DHS FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) systems are on or in the process of adopting cloud-based systems, further detailing that 32 of those components are in planning, 51 are in development, 131 are migrating, and 67 are operational.

“About 10 percent of our business systems were already in the cloud – for us, 10 percent of our IT portfolio – and another 30 to 35 percent is in motion, actively migrating, planning, [and] in various stages of getting into the cloud,” Paul said. “It’s a big movement across the department.”

Paul emphasized that each agency within DHS has worked to carve their own paths in moving to the cloud – that “there’s many missions that have their own rhythm.” U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, for instance, has invested in DevOps cloud for a number of years and are now investing in cloud-based microservices.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Paul added, has “taken the approach of focusing on multi-cloud infrastructure, ICE Cloud, and moving applications,” while the Transportation Security Administration has committed to Platform as a Service.

“[Customs and Border Protection] has been doing a lot of work around virtualization of very large infrastructure, very large applications, and back end databases — and is moving to the cloud too,” Paul said, further highlighting the work of individual DHS agencies.

Throughout these transitions, Paul said DHS’s agencies have worked “totally in alignment” with the Federal Cloud Smart Strategy, and that he believes moving the department to the cloud will continue driving mission efficiency and transformation.

“We do think that automation that’s enabled by moving to the cloud is critical for increasing agility and speed,” Paul said. “We do think there’s an opportunity to improve cybersecurity. … And we think there’s opportunities to better leverage our data.”

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Melissa Harris