Accelerating government transformation with modern automation

This blog is the fourth in a four-part series on infrastructure automation for government agencies that are modernizing digital systems while grappling with budget and staffing constraints and the challenges of COVID-19. Read the third post here.

For government agencies, continuous modernization is quickly becoming the norm. And, in light of COVID-19, modernizing in cloud environments is now a mission-critical imperative.

This type of change isn’t a surprise for agency IT administrators, despite the significant acceleration of the timelines. However, the challenge set seems to grow daily. It’s more complicated than ever to ensure new (and legacy) systems remain stable and meet the necessary government security standards. Because of the typical government patchworked systems with years of convoluted interdependencies built in, new system rollouts often come with very real concerns around what will break downstream. Manual management (and associated human tax) become very real obstacles to fast-track modernization efforts. Band-aid fixes and custom solutions aren’t sustainable strategies in this kind of environment. An intelligent modern automation fabric is required.

How modernization helps government agencies

When successfully implemented, modernization has a significant positive impact on how government agencies operate and deliver on their missions. It improves efficiency and reduces costs, providing better services to stakeholders. Change is difficult, of course, and modernization is no different. Most agency IT environments are highly complex. Systems span cloud, virtual machines, bare metal, and containers. This diversity presents significant challenges to management and upgrading. Additionally, the systems themselves are becoming faster and more complex and need to be serviced properly. They require a high level of flexibility and agility. Infrastructure that doesn’t support continuous change creates bottlenecks and reduced performance. Rising bad actor threats are driving security standards to increase almost daily, requiring constant monitoring and patching. Patching by itself comes with risk. New code changes run the possibility of damaging mission-critical systems and negatively impacting agency performance. Configuring, deploying, and maintaining these systems is tedious and resource intensive. It’s not reasonable to ask an IT department to take on this kind of burden without significant help.

What your automation fabric needs

A modern automation fabric must operate across all systems and environments and be scalable. It will operate in real-time and increase security standards. It will, most of all, be a burst to agency IT departments, who will experience a significant reduction of manual burdens. More specifically, next-gen automation fabric:

  • Includes event-driven automation that can respond and act in real-time
  • Works equally well in cloud and hybrid environments
  • Automates workflows with orchestration across all systems
  • Automates security monitoring and vulnerability management
  • Enables self-service automation

How an automation fabric will help your agency

The impacts of an effective automation fabric are wide-ranging. The system will remove boundaries and identify issues before they happen. The fabric enables IT administrators to move applications and self-serve easily. An effective automation fabric will:

  • Eliminate manual administrative tasks, removing mission bottlenecks
  • Enable applications to move to cloud environments easily
  • Eliminate silos and accelerate deployments
  • Encourage knowledge-sharing and shared automation expertise
  • Automate rollouts and desired state management, reducing costs
  • Enforce security standards and compliance and proactively identify and fix potential issues
  • Prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities
  • Create checks for failed automation actions

The modern automation fabric

Automation platforms have come a long way from their early days. The modern automation fabric plays a vital role in accelerating digital programs. This includes a comprehensive suite of functionality for event-driven automation, vulnerability management, native cloud orchestration, role-based access control, and much more. Federal agencies adopting this next generation of automation platforms can experience a much faster rollout of their modernization programs, while containing program costs and minimizing downtime risks. Puppet Enterprise provides full stack automation and scales across thousands of servers seamlessly. It combines event- and task-based automation for maximum flexibility and tests code before integration to ensure successful deployments. Dozens of federal agencies use it, and a community of thousands supports it with insights and custom-built modules. Puppet Enterprise works with the vast majority of core technology and is the ideal platform to support government automation fabrics.

Alexa Sevilla is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at Puppet.

Learn more

  • Watch how a U.S. government agency uses Puppet to meet strict IT security standards.
  • Learn more about navigating the "new normal" with self-healing infrastructure automation for government agencies.
  • Read the solutions brief on Assured Security Compliance for Federal Agencies.
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