The state of Indiana has been working toward consolidating IT infrastructure as a cost-saving measure since 2005, when it launched the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) to revamp its IT strategies and streamline the flow of information among 30,000 end-users and 100 partner agencies. The CIO of the IOT opted for a cloud-based system for scalability and control, according to Jason Reid, deputy assistant IT director.
Since protecting sensitive government data was the number-one priority, the IOT team selected Syncplicity for secure enterprise file sync and share (EFSS). They determined that this system provided the best combination of collaboration, control and secured data, thanks to access controls, secure encryption and the possibility of remote wipe. In addition, the system can be accessed via a mobile application that works with both Android and iOS devices. Another plus is that the application is designed to be intuitive and easily accessible.
Before this system was in place, Reid explains, there was a danger of employees using unsecured cloud services for sharing and collaboration. “I got a lot of requests for Dropbox and things like that,” he says, adding that he didn’t want to deploy unsecured services that could put taxpayers’ sensitive data at risk, so he blocked them in the interest of security.
Setting Up a Hybrid Cloud Solution
Syncplicity plays a part in creating a viable hybrid cloud solution with both public and private components for the state’s data security needs. All the data is stored securely behind their firewalls, Reid reports.
Within a government agency, some of the files contain personal health and financial information that must be protected at all costs. Accordingly, that data is stored in the IOT’s own data center in order to have control over what data gets in and who has access to it. That’s “the private part of the hybrid equation,” Reid says.
For the public part of the hybrid equation, Syncplicity’s solution eliminates the need for other forms of data transfer that previously were used by the state office. Data transfers used to take place through FTP servers, shared drives and USB drives, each of which carries the risk of data loss or breach, and also posed an impediment to efficient collaboration.
There was a particular problem with respect to the USB drives that had been used for imaging and transferring data to field employees. As the drives would only get there via snail mail, the data transfer took days and opened up the risk of the data falling into the wrong hands.
The new system allows the office to securely share files and exchange data across their different locations—even at satellite offices. That’s a particular boon to field agencies that have to access information without a trip to the central office.
They now can send very large files across the Internet efficiently and securely. The system also gives these offices the ability to securely share files with outside vendors when the need arises.
The state has already made use of the scalability provided by the system. Reid reports that they started out with 500 licenses about 2-1/2 years ago and have tripled it to 1,500 licenses. And there’s no sign of slowing down.