Guide to government cloud storage

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A government CIO bears the responsibility of modernizing the infrastructure, safeguarding sensitive data, ensuring uninterrupted service delivery, and navigating complex regulatory landscapes. With the push for government digital transformation and escalating cyber threats, the decisions you make regarding technology infrastructure are critical not only for operational efficiency but also for maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in public services.

Government cloud storage brings you an opportunity to streamline back-end workflows and improve service delivery at scale — all while ensuring security and compliance. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the government cloud?

Government cloud, or gov cloud, is a specialized cloud computing environment designed to meet the stringent security, compliance, and data sovereignty requirements of government agencies and organizations. 

Government cloud storage requirements

The federal government actively promotes the adoption of the cloud to enhance efficiency, scalability, and security in the operations of individual agencies. The Cloud Smart strategy, for example, equips agencies with actionable guidance surrounding security, procurement, and necessary workforce skills to foster cloud adoption and implementation.

At the local and state levels of government, the cloud is also a top priority. In the NASCIO survey, 83% of state CIOs indicated their governments have already completed migrating collaboration platforms to the cloud.

Discover why cloud storage is the future of government.

Benefits of secure cloud storage for government agencies

Cloud storage is a key component of your government cloud ecosystem because it provides the foundational infrastructure needed to securely store, manage, and access the vast amounts of data that agencies generate and use. 

Here’s what government CIOs should consider.

1. Centralization and accessibility of government data

Breaking down silos and enabling cross-agency collaboration is a top government trend, according to Deloitte. With government cloud storage, you consolidate data into a centralized repository, making it easier for agencies to access and share information across departments and locations. This way, you eliminate silos, redundancies, and fragmentation.

In the case of government inspections, for example, cloud document storage improves efficiency and decision-making. Inspectors gain instant access to critical resources — maintenance manuals, case files, maps, and blueprints — regardless of their location or the device they’re using. They’re also able to share updates, notes, and findings in real time, further streamlining the inspection process and facilitating better communication and coordination among stakeholders. 

2. Government workflow automation 

Cloud storage solutions often include automation and integration capabilities that streamline back-end workflows by automating routine tasks. For example, when residents upload necessary documents through your secure service portal, you can enable automatic sorting and routing of records for editing and processing. This approach not only reduces manual labor and errors but also speeds up the process. 

This type of government workflow automation enhances the applicant experience by simplifying the journey from submission to completion. Increased satisfaction with government services directly contributes to trust in government. In fact, McKinsey found that for each percentage point in customer satisfaction, trust in federal agencies increases by as much as two percentage points.

3. Scalability, reliability, and availability to meet service delivery demands

Per Gartner, by 2025, over 75% of governments will operate more than half of workloads using hyperscale cloud service providers. This prediction suggests a significant shift toward government cloud solutions as the preferred method for delivering digital services and managing government operations. 

Gartner's prediction that over 75% of governments will operate more than half of workloads using hyperscale cloud service providers

Cloud storage solutions are scalable, enabling agencies to accommodate fluctuating demand for services. And they also offer high availability and reliability to minimize downtime and ensure uninterrupted service delivery. If one data center experiences an outage or failure, redundancy and failover mechanisms automatically transfer traffic to alternate data centers, maintaining seamless access for users. These capabilities are critical to government operations that often rely on continuous access to data and applications. 

4. Enhanced data security

As governments deal with highly sensitive data, they are a prime target of cyberattacks. 

Under the Zero Trust Strategy, federal agencies have to meet certain milestones — such as multifactor authentication and enhanced encryption — by the end of the 2024 fiscal year. Due to their increased security controls, the cloud is critical to a successful zero-trust implementation.

Cloud-based storage providers implement robust security measures to protect data from unauthorized access, data breaches, and cyber threats. These measures often include encryption, access controls, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring to safeguard sensitive government data.

5. Compliance with regulations

Government cloud storage solutions have to meet compliance requirements specific to the public sector, including:

  • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp
  • State Risk and Authorization Management Program (StateRamp)
  • Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR

Programs such as FedRamp and StateRamp leverage the standards and guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide requirements and standardize security assessments for cloud products and services that process information used by agencies.

Government cloud storage solutions often offer options for data residency and sovereignty, allowing agencies to store data within specific geographic regions or jurisdictions to comply with legal and regulatory requirements regarding data localization and privacy. This ensures that sensitive government data remains under the jurisdictional control of the appropriate authorities.

Best practices for government cloud adoption

For effective government cloud adoption, follow these best practices:

  • Secure buy-in from all stakeholders, including government officials, IT teams, and end users, ensuring everyone understands the benefits and challenges 
  • Provide comprehensive employee training and education programs to equip staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage cloud technologies effectively
  • Prioritize security and compliance by choosing providers that adhere to standards and regulations
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for data governance, retention, and disposal 
  • Avoid vendor lock-in by seeking flexible solutions that integrate with your existing systems
  • Select scalable government cloud storage solutions that accommodate fluctuating workloads and growing storage needs

Store and manage government content in the cloud with Box

With a single platform to store, manage, and share your files, the Content Cloud for the government streamlines agency collaboration and service delivery. 

Your team gets secure access to critical information that fuels your jurisdiction’s processes, including applications, HR forms, official documents, and more. Faster case intake and processing enables you to speed up public services and improve the citizen experience. All without compromising security and compliance. 

Digitize and secure your government content in accordance with regulations and jurisdiction requirements, including: 

  • StateRAMP 
  • FedRAMP
  • CJIS
  • ITAR
  • EAR
  • DoD SRG L4
  • ISO 27018
  • IRS-1075 

Let’s connect and discuss government cloud storage and management solutions that meet your agency’s needs.

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While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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