Anna Levine, senior director of defense and national security hybrid cloud strategy and solutions with Red Hat, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding joining the company as well as the biggest improvements in emerging technology adoption for federal agencies and how industry can help drive innovative solutions faster during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Anna Levine below.
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on recently joining Red Hat! Why did you want to join the company and what were the attributes of its mission that attracted you to the role?
Anna Levine: “What drew me to Red Hat was its open culture and focus on the intersections of people, processes and technology. Red Hat is a globally-recognized leader in enterprise open source, and with that inherently comes a lot of innovation and investment in understanding our customers and their mission.
This mindset is especially critical in my role as senior director of defense and national security programs, where my team is supporting mission-critical projects for customers that are protecting and defending our country.
So I was excited to work for a company that didn’t just invest in innovation for innovation’s sake. Red Hat believes in customers’ missions and invests the time and energy into understanding how to best help them achieve their goals.”
ExecutiveBiz: What do you hope to accomplish with Red Hat?
Anna Levine: “Red Hat is investing in emerging technologies such as edge computing, cloud services, confidential containers and other innovations that have the potential to revolutionize how we currently solve big challenges.
I have an opportunity to work with technologies that some people think are far in the future, but are actually available today. It’s just a matter of making it accessible to our customers.
So what I hope to accomplish here is to support the creation and invention of new solutions that are using these technologies and bring them to our customers in a consumable way.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives?
Anna Levine: “One key area we’re focused on is helping our customers build out their edge footprint. Many of our customers are still on metal-based servers and are looking to modernize their environments.
With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, we’re able to go in and discover all the different application interfaces and streamline interoperability to create a highly efficient containerized environment for customers.
Similarly, our customers are also concerned about being able to transport data to all of their edge environments. Working with our hyperscale partners, Red Hat has a solution to help customers create content at the edge and provide them quick access to their data and applications, without having to traverse the entire internet to get there.”
ExecutiveBiz: What do you hope to accomplish and any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Anna Levine: “One of the newer areas we’re supporting is private cloud within the intelligence community. While our customers are embracing hybrid cloud environments, they’re also looking for private, dedicated clouds that are disconnected from the environment.
As a result, we’re creating ‘micro cloud’ solutions to support some of these mission-critical programs that they have.
We’re also looking to simplify our customers’ buying experience by rolling out enterprise licensing agreements. Right now our customers are looking for managed services in the intelligence community environment, which they don’t have today.
One of the ways Red Hat is helping fix that is with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Data Protection-as-a-Service (DPaaS) program, which leverages Red Hat OpenShift to help the DIA develop and deliver cutting-edge applications to analysts more quickly and easily.
And it’s not just the DIA – some of our other clients are also looking for managed services as well, and that’s an area where we’re putting a lot of focus and resources.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the biggest improvements you’ve seen in the way we talk and think about innovation across the federal sector since the rise of cybersecurity, AI/ML, 5G and other emerging technologies?
Anna Levine: “Many of the improvements in the cyber landscape are being guided by the federal government, which is great. For example, in January, the White House issued a memorandum for all U.S. agencies’ National Security Systems (NSS) to provide a cybersecurity plan.
We’re applying Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) standards to our products to maintain our position in the secure computing vanguard and to enable our clients to comply with those requirements.
We’re also seeing a growing interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies across agencies. Our customers are generating an enormous amount of data, so they’re turning to AI/ML technologies to transform that data into something they can analyze and gain actionable insights from.
We are working with customers that are looking for non-traditional partners to provide innovative proof of concepts that can address everything from AI/ML to creating platforms that support different types of data manipulations.
We’re working with agencies to help solve these issues using emerging technologies, which is an area where I think Red Hat thrives – we can be agile and provide customers with a point of view that they may not have considered yet.”
ExecutiveBiz: With zero-trust technology becoming a major focal point moving forward, what can you tell us about the difficulties of implementing zero-trust architectures and focusing on data security?
Anna Levine: “One of the biggest cybersecurity challenges that is particularly felt when implementing zero-trust architectures is knowing what you have – if you don’t have that visibility then you don’t know where potential threats are from a zero trust perspective.
With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform helps, customers can gain insights into what is happening in their IT ecosystem by automating data collection from multiple devices to systems such as SIEMs and monitoring tools, as well as performing automated actions based on predefined conditions.
We also support zero-trust approaches across open hybrid cloud deployments – from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat OpenShift – to create the process in the workflow, as well as the identity management support.
Another challenge we’re helping our customers address is the evolution of cryptographic algorithms within zero trust solutions. As quantum computing advances, the currently accepted NIST algorithms, such as RSA, may be at risk in the future alongside the entire modern concept of cryptography. NIST recently announced the selection of the three final algorithms to replace their existing ones.
IBM created all three and Red Hat has been working aggressively to get ahead of this from an innovation standpoint – figuring out what needs to be done to harden hybrid cloud environments and also support customers as they convert their current algorithms to the new algorithms that will withstand high-performance computing and quantum commuting as that technology evolves.”
ExecutiveBiz: How can industry and the federal government work together to increase greater collaboration and drive more innovative solutions for everyone to use to address the latest challenges of today?
Anna Levine: “It’s important to recognize that the challenges the private and public sectors are facing don’t exist in a silo – they’re interconnected and the only way to address them is collaborative.
“Innovation Unleashed” is the theme of our upcoming Red Hat Government Symposium in November. The event will feature notable speakers from industry, government and academia, and highlight how public-private partnerships – rooted in the spirit of open innovation – open the door for government and industry to create innovative solutions for today’s biggest challenges.”
About Anna Levine
Anna Levine is senior director of public sector sales for defense and national security programs at Red Hat. In this role, Anna brings her extensive experience in the information technology, cloud and services industry to lead Red Hat’s sales organization for its defense and intelligence community customers.
Prior to Red Hat, Anna held roles at IBM, SAIC, Accenture and Northrop Grumman, where she developed knowledge in cloud technologies, enterprise software, modernization architecture, ITaas, and data operations with a specific focus on the U.S. Department of Defense and commercial markets.