A recent New York Times article spells out the issues around federal cloud computing adoption explaining “such high praise for new Internet technologies may be common in Silicon Valley, but it is rare in the federal government, where concerns about security are paramount”.

Agencies are notably concerned about losing responsibility for managing and securing data as well as the possibility of cloud outages. However, there are agencies with fewer concerns about security breaches and they have been busy moving user accounts and email services to the cloud environment. For example, the Agriculture Department has already moved about 46,000 employee accounts and is in the process of adding another 120,000. NASA has also made the migration by launching theirown internal Nebula cloud computing platform. This platform provides a range of services powerful enough to manage all of NASA’s large-scale scientific data sets.

But other departments, especially defense and state, are proceeding more slowly and are aiming to keep confidential data within the military’s own advanced security systems. To address some of these associated regulatory and compliance concerns, Amazon Web Services is launching a new government-only cloud storage service. The service will require employees responsible for managing the stored data to be American citizens and will open up the cloud services to more sensitive data from agencies that must comply with strict data-handling regulations.

Despite attempts to tackle the issues, government pushback against the cloud already seems to be under way, as the New York Times article points out. And there will always be some excuse not to move to cloud, with a big one being a lack of education.There continues to be a shortage of cloud computing talent in the government with no real experience in moving government IT assets to the cloud.

As this initiative moves forward, DLT has gathered many cloud computing resources to educate agencies about the benefits of cloud computing. Download the Government Cloud Computing: E-Magazine for access to articles about FedRAMP and interviews with cloud experts!

Sarah.Giordano@www.dlt.com'
Sarah Giordano