Giving to the Greater Good: Q&A with Cloud Superhero Doug Streit

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By Apryl Motley - Technical Writer & Communications Lead, Internet2 Trust and Identity/NET+ Service

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Cloud Superhero Spotlight

Editor’s Note: This conversation continues our series of interviews spotlighting the wonderful contributions that research and higher ed community members make to the NET+ Program. 

Be on the lookout for additional interviews, and email amotley@internet2.edu if there’s a Cloud Superhero you would like us to spotlight in the future. We’re grateful for all our volunteers and appreciate all they do to move our work forward.

—Sean O’Brien – Associate Vice President, NET+, Internet2

After 26 years at Old Dominion University (ODU) – including 12 as CISO, Doug Streit will retire next month. In his current role as special advisor to the CIO, Doug has spent most of the last decade focused on strategic and operational planning for central IT supporting the university. How does the cloud fit into those plans? According to Doug, “the cloud has been an ever increasing part of our planning, architecture, and operations.”

More specifically, he explained that, “Core infrastructure services, such as Internet-2’s Cisco DUO two-factor authentication offering, our learning management system, and our productivity suite, have moved to cloud, and there’s a current project underway to move our administrative system to a hosted architecture in preparation for cloud.”

For ODU and other research and education (R&E) institutions, the move to the cloud brings both opportunities and obstacles. “The biggest challenges are keeping up with the changes and the rapid development of new features, tools, and products that the cloud enables,” Doug observed, “and managing the deployment of new technologies, including the governance and engagement of the business units as well as securing the valuable data and systems that are involved.”

Still, he takes it all in stride: “It is a challenging and exciting time to be involved in enterprise IT,” he observed. What makes challenges with the cloud easier to navigate? In Doug’s experience, working with others to make the cloud better for everyone in R&E has made all the difference. 

“It was challenging to add volunteering to my plate, but I never regretted it for a moment,” he said. “In my view, volunteering is the path to making a difference. My experience has been that in giving to the greater good, I have found benefit to my local pursuits while also contributing to broader interests.”

Doug Streit posing for a profile photo.

Fun Facts About Doug

What You Like Most About Your Job: Two things I love most about my job, the people and the mission. The people have been the most dedicated and capable professionals I have ever worked alongside, and I could not speak more highly of my experience with such a talented and passionate group of people. The mission of higher education at a public doctoral research institution is fulfilling. To contribute to young people achieving a major milestone, often first-generation college students getting a start on pursuing their dreams, and to contribute to the ability to perform all types of research that seek to solve urgent challenges as well as contribute to the economy and regional wellbeing — these are the things that make the challenges worthwhile.

Best Advice About the Cloud Ever Received (& from whom): The best advice I received was from our CIO during most of my tenure at ODU, who said that we need to ”lean in” to the cloud and solidify our strategy for incorporating it into our entire mindset and operation. The changes are not easy. Time is short. Resources are highly leveraged. The only way to make the necessary changes and continue on a strong path is to “lean in”!

Read on to learn more about Doug and his contributions to the R&E cloud community.

Q: How have Internet2 and NET+ helped you in your current role?

DS: Internet2, with NET+, was an early leader in negotiating consortium pricing and R&E-tuned features in key cloud technologies as well as in developing tools, such as Shibboleth, that allowed us to quickly deploy federated access to what quickly became hundreds of hosted applications. Of course, Internet2 allowed us to connect to a high-speed research network. The InCommon Shibboleth program has been a foundation of our identity management program at ODU. 

The NET+ contracts have been a cornerstone to our evaluation and selection of leading products and tools.  My involvement in the NET+ DUO Advisory Board was not only an opportunity for me to serve, but the work of that board helped us to accelerate our adoption of two-factor authentication and to be among the early adopters in securing our growing suite of hosted applications with two-factor authentication. Internet2 and the NET+ program have been solid contributors and partners in meeting the pressing needs of higher education information technology.

Q: What motivated you to be actively involved as a volunteer?  How has volunteering benefitted you?

DS: Initially, I had some needs, and I was vocal about them and earnest in making them known and seeking solutions. My thought was that if it was a need of mine, it was certainly a need of many others who were too busy to make ”noise.” It was that dynamic that seemed to prompt someone to invite me to participate on a board. I have met great people and have had unexpected opportunities opened up to me by being willing to stretch myself and give as a volunteer in a number of scenarios. I highly recommend volunteer service to anyone who wants to make a difference.

Q: Why is it important to have an active and vibrant cloud community in R&E?

DS: There is no organization that has unlimited resources. However, most of the schools in R&E will give a big “amen” to the fact that we have limited resources mixed with a seemingly unlimited vision of what we want to accomplish. The only way for us to remain competitive, meet the needs of our academic and research constituencies, meet the business needs of our institutions, and continue to provide world class deliverables is to harness the power of the extended community. This is why it is so important to have an active and vibrant cloud community in R&E. I will go out of my way to thank the good folks at Internet2 for the work they do in helping us organize our efforts and focus on the most impactful opportunities for all of us.

You can be a superhero too!

Check out current opportunities to participate in NET+ working groups, service evaluations, and service advisory boards.