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Mason McDaniel, chief technology officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, details the agency’s move to the cloud, and why it helps them pay down their “technical debt.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is moving their only data center to the cloud. Mason McDaniel, Chief Technology Officer at ATF, says that the agency had built up “technical debt,” which they need to break down to better achieve their mission.


“You have to take a step back and say how can we dig ourselves out of this hole, and what will it take to get there. We looked at it and said, ‘The tech debt that we’d accumulated was so significant that the software most of our systems ran on were no longer supported by the vendors.’ They didn’t know how to help us upgrade. We couldn’t touch them and expand off of them to tweak the business processes the way we need,” McDaniel said. “We decided to say, ‘First, let’s just start pay off the technical debt.’ Let’s rebuild the capabilities that we have within modern technologies and modern frameworks so when we finish that process it will be 100% in the cloud.”

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