In this case study

Law enforcement agencies and public sector organizations are looking for innovative and secure ways to utilize existing data from a range of disparate sources. By leveraging advanced analytics, agencies can better meet fluctuating demands, better protect civilians and make more informed decisions faster.

Cloud computing stands as a key enabler of this type of transformation, enabling tech-savvy police departments to become more intelligent, agile and adaptable. Cloud technology allows agencies to easily incorporate new public safety tools that can improve the chain of custody for evidence, capture data from wearable and mobile devices, and deploy IT resources with just a few clicks.

With national security top of mind, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of Washington, D.C., sought to migrate its data and workloads to the cloud to optimize the insights it provides to its 4,000 sworn officers and civilian members. MPD's aging on-premises infrastructure was not set up to provide modern insights or advanced security. Personnel hours were being lost to regular maintenance, and MPD staff knew moving to the cloud would allow the IT department to make a strategic shift.

As the sixth largest police department in the United States, MPD realized it needed an experienced and reliable partner to help take advantage of analytics and security in the cloud. The organization chose WWT as a guide through its cloud journey because of its expertise in the public sector and its strong partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This case study covers the challenges MPD was facing and how WWT, as their strategic partner, is working hand in hand with the department to overcome those challenges.

Overcoming undifferentiated heavy lifting

MPD had many reasons to invest in cloud infrastructure, but the key drivers included resource constraints paired with the shortcomings of outdated on-premises infrastructure. The department's aging infrastructure had resulted in the slow-but- significant build of up technical debt. In fact, a majority of department's IT hours were spent on operations and infrastructure maintenance, what MPD CIO David Clow refers to as "undifferentiated heavy lifting."

One of the main goals of the cloud migration was to realign the IT department. With this strategic shift, tech professionals could focus more on innovating and driving meaningful outcomes that help officers on the streets. Prioritizing new initiatives over never-ending maintenance would likewise empower the MPD to harness data in new ways.

MPD was also challenged with a lack of skilled IT workforce resources, requiring it to augment its staff with experienced cloud architects. They needed to find talent not only with the right technical skills, but also with significant experience with both public sector organizations and migrations into AWS GovCloud.

To meet its migration goals, WWT helped the police department navigate the three phases of AWS' Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) framework:

  1. Assess: WWT began by assessing MPD's readiness to migrate. This included scrutinizing six areas defined by the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework: business, governance, people, platform, operations and security. Assessing capabilities and gaps set up the department for success throughout its cloud journey.
  2. Mobilize: WWT then worked with the department to build an operational foundation for the migration. Teams from WWT and the department collaborated to fill needs identified in the assessment and build the plan for the migration. Cloud architects identified the on-premises servers that needed to be shifted to the cloud.
  3. Migrate and modernize: WWT used CloudEndure from AWS to replicate on-premises databases in the cloud; then we seamlessly performed the cut over to finalize the transition.

Throughout the entire process, cloud architects at WWT collaborated regularly with MPD's CTO and IT staff. The teams on the ground also worked closely with cloud solution architects at AWS for any additional guidance to ensure a smooth project execution.

Architecture built for analysis and security

By collaborating with WWT and working through the AWS MAP framework, MPD was able to successfully migrate strategic on-premises workloads for the initial phases of cloud adoption. From assessing the organization with the AWS MAP framework to designing the landing zone and performing the migration, WWT's services helped enable this complex modernization for the MPD.

As part of the process, our experts helped silo the appropriate applications and data sets in MPD's legacy on-premises infrastructure. In its new cloud environment, MPD now has a data lake to take advantage of data assets that were previously underutilized. According to Clow, this new environment has helped improve the department's data-based decision-making for both operations personnel and police officers.

Four key outcomes

MPD saw numerous benefits from migrating its IT systems, from improving efficiency to bolstering defenses. Project benefits can  be sorted into four main categories:

  1. Strategic realignment: Migrating strategic resources to the cloud helped MPD make better use of its IT personnel, which has reduced costs and increased productivity. The new cloud environments are helping the department eliminate some undifferentiated heavy lifting and drive better value from the IT staff.
  2. Data ingestion: With streamlined data ingestion provided by the new cloud environments, MPD gained access to a more robust set of insights and analytics, enabling them to make quicker data-driven decisions. WWT also integrated third-party data sources hosted on AWS with MPD's cloud environments for secure and direct data movement.
  3. Zero trust security: With the help of WWT, MPD established a zero trust architecture to protect against breaches and cyber attacks. This security strategy was simply untenable with their previous infrastructure. For police departments interested in embracing the future of data and mobile devices, zero trust is especially useful at strengthening security posture and preventing breaches.
  4. Compliance: By combining the Compliant Framework for Federal and DoD Workloads in AWS GovCloud, WWT ensured the MPD's new cloud environment would meet compliance requirements and be able to handle sensitive data. GovCloud enables strategic partners to design environments that comply with compliance regimens while also providing the flexibility needed by law enforcement organizations.

What's next for the Metropolitan Police Department of D.C.?

With a secure, scalable and compliant environment in the cloud, MPD can now take advantage of the many benefits of cloud, from heightened productivity and increased availability to reduced infrastructure costs. This also means the department will be positioned to take advantage of future innovative technologies released through AWS.

With a cloud architecture focused on data ingestion and analysis, the MPD can better pursue its goal of data-driven policing. With digital evidence becoming more essential, a secure data lake helps collect and store digital evidence without the need to constantly adapt and expand on-premises equipment. MPD can also use the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help with crime predictions and forecasting using all of the data at their disposal.

This first-of-its-kind initiative for the MPD will ultimately help officers better protect the nation's capital. WWT has a long history of helping public sector institutions of every size deliver value for the citizens they serve. Our work continues to deliver mission-critical outcomes as government agencies reach for the cloud.