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What You Missed at AWS Public Sector Summit 2018

Last week, we attended the annual worldwide AWS Public Sector Summit for government, education, and nonprofit technology leaders. This was our second year sponsoring this summit, and it was incredible to hear customer stories from well-known organizations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Genome Institute of Singapore, and more. The event lasted two days and was packed with more than 110 technical sessions, 14,500 attendees, and multiple announcements. Here are our key takeaways:

Security is Job Zero

AWS can’t have a Public Sector Summit without a focus on security. With public sector organizations handling sensitive information such as criminal justice information, Controlled Unclassified Information, and individually identifiable health information, security is always top of mind. During the keynote, Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector at AWS, stated “security is job zero.” To put it simply, security is not the number one barrier to public cloud adoption, in fact AWS sees more organizations moving to the cloud for enhanced security. AWS continues to make security a top priority, which is why last year, more than 400 AWS services and features had security as an output.

There were many announcements about AWS GovCloud, an isolated region designed for government agencies and customers with mission-critical workloads—including GovCloud now has 80+ services including Amazon Aurora and Inspector, VMware Cloud on AWS will be available in GovCloud, and SaaS & API products are now available in the AWS Marketplace in AWS GovCloud. Additionally, AWS reminded us that they also have a secret region and top secret region to meet the highest levels of security and compliance required by government agencies.

One of the featured speakers in the keynote was Sean P. Roche, Associate Deputy Director of the CIA for Digital Innovation. Roche claimed, “using the AWS Cloud has been nothing short of transformational. You do not move to the cloud or buy new hardware so you can host legacy services.” He described how the CIA is leveraging the cloud to provide critical information to agents in the field. The most notable remark from his presentation was, “the cloud, on its weakest day, is more secure than a standard client/server application.”

AWS GovCloud

Workforce Enablement is Essential

As public sector organizations transform their business, they must acknowledge that their success will be dependent on having a cloud enabled workforce. With new innovations and advancements in the cloud being released regularly, it is essential for current and future employees to learn and develop their cloud knowledge and skills.

Last year, AWS revealed their plans to inspire the next generation of diverse, bright minds through the We Power Tech Initiative and AWS Educate Program. Their plans were expanded upon this year with multiple announcements for enabling students and employees. First, Amazon announced their commitment to hiring 25,000 military veterans and spouses by 2021. Followed by AWS Educate having new learning pathways for Alexa and Machine Learning, the launch of a summer camp to support diversity and youth education, and perhaps the biggest announcement of all was that AWS has created a Cloud Associates Degree in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). With the high demand of cloud computing in the IT profession, this degree will give students the opportunity to learn and develop cloud skills that they can then use in the workplace. It is clear that empowering the next generation of technology builders is a strong message that resonates well with AWS customers and partners.

AWS NOVA Cloud Associates Degree

Ride the Emerging Technology Waves

At the summit, Tom Soderstrom, IT Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), had a mainstage spotlight about “Innovation on the Edge.” He explained the current technology waves enabled by the cloud: new habits, applied artificial intelligence, ubiquitous computing, cyber security challenges, accelerated computing, and software defined everything. He revealed that artificial intelligence will be the next technology tsunami. This may not be surprising to you as we are already beginning to see the impact of built in intelligence and deep learning in everyday life, with an example being self-driving cars. Soderstrom announced that NASA JPL plans to send an upgraded Rover with a drone to investigate Mars in 2020. NASA JPL is also preparing the next generation of explorers with hands on experience developing the next Rover by taking an open sourced approach. Perhaps someday soon, the world will know if life is really possible on Mars.

NASA JPL is not the only organization that is riding the technology waves, ZOTT is using machine learning and virtual reality to create distraction therapy for hospital patients. Taylor Carol, Chief Evangelist at ZOTT, shared that their mission is to help fight boredom, anxiety, and pain for patients, families, and caregivers. From serverless, to machine learning, to artificial intelligence, and more, technology is revolutionizing the workplace and life as we know it.

AWS Public Sector Summit Technology

Many public sector organizations, such as this year’s City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge Winners, are making significant strides to benefit their citizens. We look forward to attending the AWS Public Sector Summit next year to hear how security, workforce enablement, and the latest technology waves have evolved!

Join us for a webinar Thursday, July 26th at 1pm ET / 10am PT with Matthew Zeller, Assistant Director of Business Operations at Harvard University IT. Learn how Harvard University IT gained insight into their AWS environment and reduced their monthly cloud costs by 30%.

Register to attend today!

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