Bits and Bytes Blog
ODGA Azure Migration
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
About the Office of Data Governance and Analytics (ODGA)
The ODGA partners with Commonwealth agencies and public institutions to maximize the value of Commonwealth data through strategic governance, secure and appropriate data sharing, and enterprise analytics services informing actionable intelligence. The office is led by the Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia and is made up of a team full of talented professionals.
How was data stored prior to the migration?
Prior to the migration, ODGA data was hosted in an on-premises data center. The on-premises consisted of over 15 servers including SQL servers, App servers, Power BI instances, etc.
What prompted the migration to the cloud?
ODGA was presented with a case where an agency had over 25 terabytes of data that would need to be ingested into the on-premises environment, a task that would have been time consuming and would create a competition for resources. With an existing Microsoft stack, ODGA made the decision to migrate to the Azure cloud, an efficient and highly scalable solution.
What are some benefits to hosting data on the cloud?
Agency data is also siloed within the cloud, as opposed to being stored on the same server on-premises. This segregation of data makes pricing more transparent, where with the on-prem solution, it would be impossible to determine exactly which agency was utilizing the most resources. Additionally, hosting data on the cloud makes integration with other organizations much more efficient. With ODGA’s migration to the cloud, ODGA can now serve as a resource to other agencies who are looking to make a similar transition.
How does this migration affect the security of ODGA’s environment?
Additionally, moving from on premise database servers to the Azure cloud meant a change in the way ODGA manages the security of the data hosted at ODGA. Microsoft Defender constantly monitors our Azure environment to ensure compliance with key regulations and standards such as SOC-2, HIPAA, FedRAMP, and NIST 800-53 R5 and identify security vulnerabilities. While ODGA has not been audited for these security certifications, Microsoft Azure is SOC-2 certified.
When issues are identified, the Governance team is responsible for remediating the findings or providing compensating controls to address the regulatory need. Once the data was migrated to Azure, ODGA’s governance team ensured all databases were encrypted at rest and in transit and required any data columns that contained confidential information like social security numbers, to be masked to ensure it cannot be viewed by unauthorized personnel.