This article was originally posted on the CIO Review website. It has been reproduced with permission on this website.
James E. McGriff, President & CTO
As federal agencies transition from the “Cloud First” to the “Cloud Smart” approach, it is evident that federal IT executives are inclining more toward capitalizing on cloud adoption and its underlining benefits. Beyond just reduced IT infrastructure and operating costs, the benefits of increased flexibility, affordability and yes, even security, have placed cloud strategies and digital transformation at the center of mission-critical services. Infrastructure modernization has become crucial for governments seeking to serve citizens in the digital era. To this end, federal government agencies are readily undergoing digital transformations to take advantage of the latest technologies that enable them to boost their digital journey, power agility, and democratize innovation.
Be that as it may, in the public sector, cloud adoption and digital transformation initiatives are still viewed through the lens of caution and reservation, driven in large part by the sensitivity around constituent data at the disposal of government agencies. While there is no denying that cloud computing has evolved over time, and digital transformation strategies have matured, data integrity and cybersecurity continue to be a pressing concern for government agencies. As such, with the rise of data breaches, the need for government agencies to partner with The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)-certified vendors is now more than ever.
This is where, Peniel Solutions, LLC a company that provides a full range of cloud solutions and services, is in a class by itself. To support the Federal Cloud Smart Initiative and ensure utmost data security, Peniel Solutions (PSL) is offering robust cloud data management applications and storage services exclusively to the U.S. government, operating primarily on FedRAMP-certified Amazon GovCloud. An AWS recognized public partner and reseller, PSL is a leading solution government contractor (GovCon) provider of Digital Transformation Services, DevSecOps (Development Security, and Operations), supported by an extensive portfolio of cloud services. Equipping clients with operational support, PSL assists them to move specific services from federal data centers to the FedRAMP authorized cloud and maintain them there. PSL is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner with the technical, project management, operations and advisory capabilities to support Federal agencies’ transition to the cloud. PSL also provides the integration, operations, maintenance and support to customers on the global self-service along with network, compute, storage database, application and deployment & administration services.
Unleashing the Power of AWS
PSL leverages novel AWS tools, such as AWS Quick Starts and AWS Inspector, and incorporates them in its cloud solutions to help clients streamline and automate the processes of reporting data and scanning security vulnerabilities in applications. When it comes to digital transformations, it all starts with data thinking—the intelligent harnessing and consumption of data. To this end, PSL largely focuses on three ‘I’s (pillars of successful digital transformation)—ingestion, integration, and insights. “We believe AWS is perfectly positioned to help curate and deliver the data for this process,” says James E. McGriff, President/CTO of Peniel Solutions. To assist government agencies in facilitating digital transformation, McGriff and his team place quality data at the center of their solutions.
“We look at the best ways to consume data, following which we ensure that the data is integrated in an ideal manner. For instance, if there are five sources of data, we determine if there is an authoritarian source that we could all agree on, or if we should consider a percentage of all the five sources or even a subset of them for integration in the best possible way. To get to the most accurate decision, we run multiple algorithms and evaluate the quality source of the data,” explains McGriff. Once the data is integrated, the PSL team focuses on optimizing it and gleaning meaningful insights from it through data analytics, machine learning, or artificial intelligence.
Case in point: by working in close collaboration with The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), PSL is equipping the HUD’s 232 Loan program with AI-driven solutions to make proactive decisions, predict future expenditures, identify potential risks to minimize the participation of bad actors and lower their risk with backing poor loans. McGriff remarks, “The data that we are collecting over time will help them improve the profile in both of those areas.”
Predominantly catering to the public sector, PSL specializes at the federal level while also delivering services at the state and local level with multiple government vehicles. What distinguishes PSL from other vendors in the market is that it is not just an AWS-authorized vendor but also a reseller, which enables the company to provide its clients with comprehensive solutions without having them to partner with two different vendors. In addition, PSL is an AWS recognized public partner with authorized contract vehicles approved by AWS. McGriff further mentions that for public sector organizations, connecting and delivering information securely to citizens through different social avenues, web portal interactions, or mobile applications continues to present a significant challenge. Besides, with a reservoir of sensitive private and public data, maintaining and ensuring compliance with federal and state laws, such as PII, that govern the exchange of information can be particularly daunting for government agencies. PSL, operating on the FedRAMP certified GovCloud, helps clients address the challenge with top-tier security solutions that AWS brings to the table. “We are able to connect the commercial and government sectors in a very secure manner while delivering the confidence that the government and citizens require to operate in the cyberspace,” McGriff asserts.
When it comes to cutting the clutter and navigating through the complexities involved in government transactions, PSL’s chief objective is to take the tediousness out of manual processes via secure automation and allow clients to concentrate on more important issues. Elaborating on the aspect of security tied to automation, McGriff goes on to mention the inherent challenges of delivering high-quality software codes, which comprise static and dynamic code. He stresses that one of the major issues that slows down the process is the scanning of security loopholes before introducing a static code into a dynamic environment. The process further entails fixing the vulnerabilities and then reading the scan to ensure the issues have been mitigated. To address this concern, PSL fosters a community of high skill developers who address the same vulnerabilities. Thereafter, the company selects the top 10 percent of the solutions provided by the team, which becomes the preferable way to address a particular vulnerability. As such, with the help of its high-performance team of software developers, PSL has helped develop in an ingenious solution— VioFixer—that automatically runs, identifies, as well as fixes security code violations in the static code without diverting developers away from their core tasks.
The benefits of automating the process are obvious: first off, it takes the guesswork out of dealing with a vulnerability issue and secondly, saves considerable man-hours while preparing an application to move from static to dynamic profile. “We usually cut down about 50 percent of the processing time and increase our accuracy up to 70 percent of quality fixes that we were putting into the active environment. That brings a huge monetary and time-saving advantage to our software development operations,” notes McGriff.
PSL has also joined forces with Salesforce to help support The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 232-Healthcare Portal, a .NET application designed exclusively for lenders to submit applications for hospitals and nursing homes that need repair. PSL proactively integrated the 232-Healthcare Portal to Salesforce running on AWS. With this integration, HUD could enhance processes around case management, execute more transactions from the platform while also being able to apply more analytics to the data and significantly increase reporting on the data.
A High Performing Team with the Customer at the Core
Having served the market for close to two decades, PSL has truly emerged as a recognized leader in providing complete, end-to-end technology-enabled business solutions to the public sector. “The fact that we have been thriving, and not just surviving all this time is a testimony to the service that we deliver,” McGriff proudly mentions. By housing a team of veterans, who have worked closely with the public sector, PSL understands the nuances of the public sector services much better than other players in the arena. “We do not look at the government as an entity or an organization. Rather, we consider the public sector as a group of people that are performing services on behalf of the government. As such, we aim to connect with people in the process,” comments McGriff. PSL stands on the belief that by being transparent with customers, organizations can truly partner with them and deliver remarkable results that demonstrate the value they can bring. With a sharp focus on clients’ unique needs and goals and by fostering an environment of continuous education, PSL is committed to improving the performance of the clients’ critical business systems and processes.
When it comes to talent acquisition, PSL is constantly on the lookout for people that can add value and contribute to the company’s mission. The company follows a continuous cycle of hiring top talent while nurturing their potential and developing it until the time they leave. “We run internal programs and headhunt for talent in even non-traditional places, bringing in even students and professors to join our workforce. It takes constant vigilance to search for the right talent, be it by keeping an eye on the marketplace or social channels that can enrich our company culture with their ideas and drive our customers to success,” explains McGriff.
Apart from being a powerhouse of top talent, PSL’s uniqueness stems from its appetite for being accredited. PSL’s certifications include GSA 8(a) STARS II, GSA IT 70, GSA Schedule 36 SIN 51 600—Electronic Records Management Solutions and more, enabling it to provide clients with high-quality solutions on the market. Besides, the company is proudly CMMI Level 3 appraised and certified by IS0 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 20001 (IT Service Standards), ISO 27001 (ITSecurity), ISO 27017 (Cloud Security), and ISO 15489 (Records Management). Based on ISO and CMMI Development-Certified processes, PSL delivers mobile and traditional software solutions of the highest quality based on scrum, agile and DevOps methodologies.
With a strong value proposition in place, PSL envisions serving its clients better and has plans to reinforce the use of artificial intelligence to measure the accuracy of the data it holds and enhance predictability, especially for clients in the in the federal government space. “Technology has allowed us to deliver superior services at a faster pace and a lower cost. We will continue to educate ourselves and stay abreast of the latest developments in the market to sharpen our competitive edge,” concludes McGriff.
Headquartered in Duluth, GA, Peniel Solutions, LLC provides a full range of cloud solutions and services to support the Federal Cloud Smart Initiative and ensure utmost data security. Peniel Solutions (PSL) brings in robust cloud data management applications and storage services exclusively to the U.S. government, operating primarily on FedRAMP-certified Amazon GovCloud. An AWS recognized public partner and reseller, PSL is a leading solution government contractor (GovCon) provider of Digital Transformation Services, DevSecOps (Development Security, and Operations), supported by an extensive portfolio of cloud services. PSL is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner with the technical, project management, operations and advisory capabilities to support Federal agencies’ transition to the cloud.
This article was originally posted on the CIO Review website. It has been reproduced with permission on this website.