While moving core operational systems to the cloud is not a new practice for many industries, those in the public sector, including colleges, universities, and state and local government entities, have collectively lagged behind—continuing to place their faith in on-premises solutions. But with cybersecurity threats and natural disaster recovery efforts making headlines seemingly on a weekly basis, the demand for airtight data security and business continuity has never been greater.
When he’s not watching Chelsea FC compete in the English Premier League or an NBA game, Cameron Armistead heads up Softdocs’ cloud engineering team. In a recent conversation, we caught up with him to discuss the data security advantages of a cloud-based platform, why he pursued the industry-standard CISSP certification, and how Softdocs’ continual commitment to safeguarding information and content is benefiting clients across the public sector.
1) What do you want Softdocs clients to know about your role and how it has grown?
Initially, I was just a regular software engineer. But as the company continued to expand in the cloud-based document management space, I went to our COO and asked if I could get involved. The company gave me the opportunity to build on my existing skills and acquire new ones. I quickly realized that cloud-centric engineering creates a software platform that’s quick to implement, easy for end users to grasp, and straightforward for IT/IS administrators to manage.
One of the things I relish most about this role is that I can apply what I’m learning to Softdocs solutions. Because we can see which threats are being aimed at our secure data centers. We can strengthen our data security protocols continuously in real time. This enables us to minimize the risk for every one of our clients and to reduce the opportunity for third parties with bad intentions to launch these attacks. I like knowing we’re always learning, iterating, and improving our products and services.
Plus, we’re able to take client feedback and build it back into feature requests, bug fixes, and our development and quality assurance processes. I also like working with a wide range of customers, auditors, internal stakeholders, and our leadership team. It’s exciting to see where the Softdocs roadmap has taken us and what’s coming next. And all of it is based on what’s best for our clients and their end users.
2) Tell us about your previous work experience.
Since high school, I’d intended to become a physician’s assistant because I had a passion for helping people. During my education, I realized that I was also fascinated by how patients’ data was stored, accessed, and utilized to drive decision-making. My wife worked for Softdocs and later, so did several friends. I kept hearing how great the company was and what it was doing to help customers better manage their content and expedite their workflows, so eventually I changed course and applied. It gave me the opportunity to pursue my interest in data in a new and exciting way.
3) What are a couple of the main benefits of the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) qualification that you hold?
Firstly, I’d like to say that I’m very grateful to Softdocs for covering the cost of the CISSP certification for me. That shows their commitment to investing in their people in a way that eventually trickles down to the entire customer base. It has taught me to think about cyberattacks and the other key elements of data security in a lot of different ways.
I hope it gives informed clients who care about protecting students’ or citizens' privacy greater peace of mind, knowing that as a company, we go through seven clearly defined steps with our data security practices and these ensure their content is continually available, come what may. Obtaining my CISSP certification has also enabled me to work closely with auditing firms, which has provided me with a much clearer understanding of how we can help our clients meet or even exceed the required security standards.
4) Softdocs offers a cloud-based platform. What advantages does this deliver compared to an on-premises solution?
The first main benefit of using a cloud-based solution is how it supports a solid disaster recovery plan. It also enables our clients to rest easy knowing they’ll be able to access their documentation and data no matter what. Plus, for clients with multiple locations, having a secure, centralized repository makes it much easier to collect data in a standardized way and then aggregate, access, utilize, and report on it.
Another major advantage of transitioning to a cloud-based platform is that it simplifies and expedites the auditing process. We’ve seen audits of all kinds, and they require organizations to demonstrate they’re storing data in a standardized, repeatable way, and protecting user information in keeping with the state, federal, and industry-specific mandates. Some fields also require institutions to provide documentation in a timely manner, such as FERPA in education. With a cloud-based platform, all of this is easier to demonstrate, making it less likely that organizations face fines or other consequences for poor data management or protection.
Using a cloud-based platform instead of an on-premises one also allows us to bring decades of combined expertise to bear. And to not only share the best practices and expertise Softdocs has acquired in working with a wide range of clients, but also make this applicable to each new customer’s unique scenario. That’s the fun part – hearing how much better things are for a client after they’ve implemented our solution and switched over to the cloud.
5) Looking to the future, how do you see your role expanding as Softdocs continues to thrive?
I’m very excited about our ongoing growth in the government market. It’s forcing us to collectively up our game and challenging me to develop as a cloud engineer. When we decided to pursue the rigorous NIST 800-53 certification no matter what it cost financially, I realized we were getting even more serious about our commitment to privacy and data protection. I’m hoping we can continue to help more clients in K-12 and higher education, even as we keep making strides with government agencies.
With valuable team members like Cameron, Softdocs will continue to lead the way in data security, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity in the document management and process automation market. Want to learn more? Contact us today.