2018 Government Innovation Awards
'Cloud smart' on a massive scale
Moving a mission-critical system to the cloud might not require the same precision and attention to detail as launching a satellite into Earth’s orbit, but it’s probably close.
The Department of Homeland Security recently migrated its mission-critical networks to Amazon Web Services’ GovCloud, and it had to ensure that it didn’t drop any of those networks’ 100,000 users in the process. Even a small failure could have had a huge impact on national security and commerce.
As part of that effort, the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) became one of the first high-integrity, high-confidentiality, high-availability systems in the federal government to move to a commercial cloud. By doing so, DHS avoided the complexities of a hybrid model and positioned itself to take advantage of new features and scale faster to meet ever-shifting agency needs.
The carefully planned migration to HSIN was completed in 2017, but DHS continues to expand the operation. It has added backup operational capabilities and implemented a continuous integration and delivery pipeline for users that facilitates shorter maintenance and upgrade periods.
Most of that work is invisible to the end user, but the benefits are being felt across the department.
Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.