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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

DHS' CIO wants multi-cloud strategy

The Homeland Security Department is developing a cloud strategy and Chief Information Officer John Zangardi made it clear that it will be a hybrid cloud with room for multiple cloud service providers.

“Different (DHS) components have different needs,” he said Friday at our Washington Technology DHS Industry Day.

The quickly noticed the difference between the DHS approach and how the Defense Department is going about its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud procurement that is slated to have a single winner.

But Zangardi couldn’t be lured into commenting or criticizing DOD’s strategy during the Q&A portion of his presentation. Considering that he spent most of his career at DOD and the Navy and just left last year, he is well versed in the priorities and culture at DOD.

The closest he came to addressing anything going on DOD was when he spoke about how DHS as a younger and smaller organization has more flexibility than DOD.

Zangardi left the DOD and joined DHS in December. At the Defense Department he was deputy CIO and acting CIO.

Before that, he was a deputy assistant Navy secretary focused on command and control, space and information operations. He served as acting Navy CIO for two years. He also is a retired Naval Flight Officer.

So while his former employer is moving full steam ahead toward a single cloud provider, Zangardi emphasized that DHS’s approach will have multiple providers and will be a hybrid cloud strategy.

“We don’t want a hundred but this will be a hybrid strategy that will allow for multiple players,” he said.

Zangardi has created a cloud steering group that will be developing what he called “stretch goals.” The group will include representatives from all of the DHS components -- Transportation Security Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others. The group will begin meeting in June.

They’ll be looking at ways to streamline the process of moving to the cloud such as looking at whether the DHS authority to operate is too bureaucratic. “We need to start unclogging things,” Zangardi said.

Right now there are 29 applications hosted in the cloud and another 70 have been identified that should move, he said.

Some of his other initiatives include the establishment of two security operations centers -- SOCs -- that will pull in more security operations from the different component agencies of DHS.

“One will be the hot-back up and the other will be the primary SOC,” Zangardi said.

Where the new SOCs will be located has not been determined yet.

An important question to answer is what functions need to remain with the components. “We need to conserve the ability of the components to complete their missions,” he said.

“The SOC and the cloud will fundamentally change how we define IT,” Zangardi said.

He’s also looking at embedded IT such as the software that is used on the screening and security equipment at airports.

And there is also the continuing evolution of DHS’s OneNet, the department’s transport backbone.

“Nothing is going to happen overnight,” he said. “This will take time.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 25, 2018 at 11:43 AM

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