Page 6 - GCN, May 2016
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Vice President of Public Sector, Akamai
With over 30 years of information technology industry experience, Tom is responsible for all Sales, Marketing and Support initiatives within Akamai’s Public Sector marketplace.
Nothing Beats Experience
As Akamai’s resident expert on government web and security needs, Tom Ruff keeps the company focused on giving agencies what they need.
s a seasoned technology executive, Tom Ruff knows more than most about the importance of performance
and security to government agencies. During his 30 year career, Ruff has worked for companies
that push the boundaries to give agencies what they need. He has witnessed the evolution of
technology and the government’s changing needs. Ruff joined Akamai in 2009 as vice president for
public sector. He has risen through
the ranks since then. Today, he is responsible for all public sector throughout the Americas and Latin America. Akamai and Ruff have proven to be excellent partners. Ruff continues to push the boundaries within a culture where that is encouraged.
In fact, Akamai has a history of doing just that. Since its inception, Akamai has actively worked with its government customers to understand their needs
and develop solutions that meet those specific needs.
When working with one federal customer a few years ago, for example, Akamai saw the agency needed more protection around its datacenter, which housed sensitive information. Akamai developed a solution called Site Shield, which provides an additional layer of defense for web applications and web sites. It does this by directing all traffic through the Akamai Intelligent Platform, where it can detect and mitigate attacks, instead of moving traffic directly to the government site and/or datacenter.
Ruff has seen the public sector’s web application and web site needs change dramatically. Government agencies’ web presence today requires 100 percent availability, massive scalability, optimized performance, and higher levels of security than ever before. The stakes have never been higher. Citizens and agency employees today expect instant, always-on access, no matter which device or platform they choose.
Agencies also need to meet unpredictable usage
and traffic demands. They need flexible and virtually limitless scalability. Take the case of state healthcare exchanges. Dozens of them use Akamai web performance and security solutions today to ensure 100 percent availability—especially important during enrollment periods—and they have full security.
Performance is another increasingly important issue for government web applications and web
sites. Without consistent, fast performance; reputation and usability can suffer. Akamai solves this problem by optimizing users’
web experiences across devices, locations, browsers and networks. Called situational awareness, this capability helps Akamai sense the set of data feeds or sources required for a particular action and pre-retrieve data from those sources. By gathering sources from multiple data sites or databases in advance, performance remains as high as possible.
The extensive use of mobile technology by both government employees and citizens continues to have a tremendous impact on agency networks, putting them at risk
of slower performance. It’s a growing problem. A survey by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group found more than 40 percent of federal, state and local government employees use mobile devices. Across the United States, 71 percent use smartphones, with millennials being the largest segment
of users, according to Nielsen. That growing mobile traffic will continue to affect networks. Gartner expects mobile data traffic to more than triple by 2018.
To address the performance issues caused by mobile device access, many agencies are using Akamai’s technology to optimize their performance. Akamai continues to work on this issue. Currently, the company is working with technology companies like Qualcomm to develop technologies to further improve performance in mobile environments.
“Our ultimate goal is to expand Akamai from servers around the world all the way to the cell tower,” says Ruff. “The idea is to make the mobile experience just as fast, efficient and secure as the desktop environment.”

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