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How the cloud and Salesforce empower government data protection

Cloud computing is revolutionizing businesses across all industries by offering hosted services through the internet. Switching to cloud solutions not only saves companies money, but creates an exponential opportunity for growth. However, security concerns have traditionally cast doubt on the safety of storing sensitive data on external cloud-based systems. 

The United States government has put forth many security and compliance regulations across all industries in an effort to protect information. While these regulations are sufficient for companies, the government itself has been hesitant to migrate to the cloud, as storing mission-critical data online requires a higher degree of protection. As a result, the government has put in place a number of initiatives to help its agencies and contractors make the transition. 

Government and the cloud — a brief history

In October 2018, The Department of the Interior released an update to its original cloud-first initiative known as the Cloud Smart Strategy. This strategy provides direct guidance specific to security and the necessary workforce skills required for cloud adoption and implementation. This goes hand in hand with the FedRAMP initiative, which was put in place to approve cloud service providers to work with government agencies. We recently covered FedRAMP in-depth, and invite you to learn more about its effect on cloud data protection in our two-part blog series.

Before FedRAMP, cloud service providers would have to meet requirements for each individual government customer. This resulted in high costs and significantly hindered the government’s ability to fully take advantage of cloud solutions. FedRAMP created a set of requirements that cloud service providers must meet in order to be approved for use by government agencies. This approval is universal, meaning that once a cloud service provider is approved they can be used by all government agencies. This significantly reduces the implementation cost for both the government and the cloud service provider. FedRAMP is proof that the government is invested in adopting cloud-based solutions faster.

Benefits of cloud-based solutions for government agencies

Flexibility

One of the benefits of switching to cloud-based solutions is that it offers more flexibility than traditional IT infrastructure. With a traditional approach, there are inherent complexities related to maintaining hardware, servers, updating software, and protecting data at rest. Cloud-based solutions offer a hassle free experience as they are easy to scale, update, and even switch to other service providers as there is nothing physical to maintain. Additionally, cloud-based solutions increase productivity by giving employees the flexibility of accessing their data and services from anywhere in the world. This means that employees can stay productive even when they are away from the office, and was extremely important for business continuity throughout the 2020 pandemic.

Cost savings

Adopting cloud-based solutions is a win-win proposition for the government. Not only do they become more flexible and efficient, but they also save money. Traditional IT infrastructure takes up physical space, requires constant maintenance, and is expensive. Government agencies and contractors significantly increase operational efficiencies by reducing their IT costs with cloud solutions. By moving to the cloud, they consolidate their server footprints and data centers. This reduces hardware, maintenance, and energy costs, and provides resources to improve operations.

Collaboration

Adopting cloud-based solutions allows for increased collaboration between government agencies. Cloud-based systems allow government agencies to share documents and access services remotely. Furthermore, FedRAMP certifies that cloud service providers meet security compliance regulations. This delivers pre-approved cloud solutions to help ensure government data is kept secure and protected.

How Druva’s Salesforce solution empowers government cloud data protection

The government, along with other leading businesses today, is turning to SaaS applications like Salesforce to help facilitate its cloud transition. Salesforce simplifies customer-relationship management, enabling the government to quickly and easily leverage large amounts of customer or vendor data to increase the efficiency of its processes. However, government organizations, and other customers, are encountering difficulties populating Salesforce sandboxes with quality test data. 

High-quality test data in sandboxes along with the ability to produce the data automatically can drastically improve efficiencies for IT development teams. In addition, government organizations have two major factors to consider — security and efficiency. Druva provides a proven, fully cloud-based solution for sandbox seeding which fulfills both requirements. While Salesforce offers sandboxes out-of-the-box without data, Druva will automatically populate data into these sandboxes allowing development teams to easily utilize them for various different environments. 

Traditionally development teams use a single full sandbox for development and QA testing. Druva allows development teams to create multiple environments (proof of concept, development, QA testing, integration testing, and more) to facilitate an effective release management cycle. Additionally, the application will discover and maintain related record relationships to provide more comprehensive test data.

The tool is 100% native to Salesforce, which means the entire data copy is done on the platform, and data never leaves at any point. Additionally, the tool has a data masking feature that can mask any field by scrambling the value while maintaining the original format (i.e. ###-##-#### for SSN). This prevents the propagation of sensitive data to development environments, further protecting your data. 

Next steps

With the government pushing itself to move from traditional IT infrastructure to cloud-based solutions, the need for strong, cloud-native data protection is increasing. Druva offers a proven and cost-effective solution that benefits government entities using or developing with Salesforce. Read the Druva for Salesforce solution brief to learn more about our leading data protection solution and its capabilities.