The journey for an agency to modernize its data management strategy with the cloud begins with having a plan and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have both plans and projects in motion to modernize their data.

During FedInsider’s Modernize Your Data Strategy With the Cloud virtual event on June 17, Acting CIO for the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA Samuel Vazquez and Assistant CIO for the Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area at USDA Darren Ash provided insight into a few of the programs that each agency is currently working on to modernize data strategies.

CISA, Vazquez said, is working to put to use the funding it received from the American Rescue Plan Act. The agency saw $650 million in funding from the legislation, which CISA will partly use to develop an EINSTEIN cloud-based architecture to collect and analyze cloud security data sources.

“That funding will be absolutely crucial in our efforts and in partnerships with the Office of Management and Budget to develop better endpoint detection and response tools to help us detect malicious activity, as well as respond quickly and collaborate across agencies,” said Vazquez. “It will be essential in our work to modernize governmentwide cybersecurity programs and services, including our very own National Cybersecurity Protection System, and EINSTEIN capabilities, and to support the ever increasing adoption of cloud services, and other emerging technologies.”

For USDA’s part, Ash said that USDA has a number of projects currently underway, among those include programs to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

“This year USDA is establishing new programs and efforts to bring that type of assistance to farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by COVID market disruptions, but we’re also improving and retargeting the existing programs so what that means for us is both the modern modification of existing systems that were created, but also potentially the creation of new systems to be able to support these new programs,” said Ash.

Additionally, USDA has programs to modernize field-based approaches and emphasize client-facing capabilities and science-based capabilities; adopting a cloud-based services approach and moving existing portfolios from on-prem; and modernizing data analytics to migrate a “vast” amount of data.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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