Many organizations are looking for ways to consolidate, streamline, and standardize operations given expected cost-efficiencies and service improvements. In particular, Information Technology (IT) organizations want to better grow, maintain, and manage their technologies and platforms.
One effective approach to this challenge is by moving to shared services. With this approach, one group in an organization becomes responsible for provisioning services that had previously been distributed across multiple groups in the organization. The funding and resourcing of the service is shared across groups. The group responsible for provisioning services effectively becomes an internal service provider. Fundamental to the success of shared services is the accountability of results by the groups making use of the services, as well as assurance by the provider that the agreed results are delivered based on defined measures.
The private cloud is a great example of shared services in action. We see many public sector and commercial organizations providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) through new data centers, as well as many other offerings to their new internal client base.
One large Midwestern state embarked on this journey with us. This state was comprised of well over 50 state agencies covering a broad range of services including healthcare, law enforcement and justice, military affairs, veterans affairs, transportation, education, privacy, and so on. Historically, each agency was responsible for its own IT infrastructure. With the advancement of IT and the need to reduce overall state expenditures, the State legislated that individual agencies would consolidate as a central IT department using a private cloud model.
As the customer fleshed out requirements, several agencies raised data encryption as a concern, but not all use cases could be fully defined. Healthcare, the Department of Justice, and other agencies knew they held sensitive data and had to comply with a broad range of regulatory requirements such as HIPAA (Healthcare), CJIS (Criminal justice), PCI, FTI, GLBA, SOX, IRS/SSA (Financial), FERPA (Federal security), FISMA, PII (personal information protection). With so many regulations comings from a broad user community, the central IT group didn’t know the regulations that each state agency’s applications needed to follow.
The customer knew it required a data encryption solution, and recognized the added challenge of providing one that would keep each state agency’s data separate from other agencies (or tenants) while allowing each agency to maintain control of its own encryption keys. Added to the challenge, encrypting the entire storage network would be very costly and complex to manage. As future plans include using the public cloud, encryption would have to support this use case as well.
CloudLink was immediately identified as a data encryption solution designed specifically for virtualized, multi-tenant environments that would let each agency maintain control over its sensitive data with its own encryption keys. In addition, CloudLink wouldn’t require encryption of the entire infrastructure. With a very simple configuration, only applications that contain sensitive data would be encrypted. Given that CloudLink is an agentless solution, deployment would be simple and state agencies would not have to modify applications that required data encryption.
Today, over 95% of this state’s IT infrastructure is virtualized. This virtualization not only leverages the benefits of economies of scale, but also, decoupling applications from the underlying compute and storage provides flexibility to grow and scale with ease. We are happy we could help!