The federal government’s migration to the cloud is now in full swing.
Last year, the White House released its 25 point plan to reform federal IT management. Cloud computing gained top mention as a way to reduce spending and increase efficiency.
The one hiccup, in an otherwise solid plan, is cloud computing is still in its infancy, creating the need for the federal government to make the rules as it goes along. The end goal is clear. The path, however, is still under construction.
The race to the cloud is on, and the government has tapped the General Service Administration to supervise the move. To meet the needs of creating a new IT solution for the government, GSA created the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative.
Formed a year before the 25 point plan’s release, the initiative seeks to define and direct cloud computing. Since its inception, FCCI’s work has resulted in creation of a cloud-computing definition, several cloud-computing summits and the launch of a cloud-computing storefront.
The backbone of the initiative is the Cloud Computing Advisory Council. Senior IT experts from various agencies collaborate in directing the cloud computing initiative.
Nominated by their individual department CIOs, CCAC members work to create best practices and act as first-line trainers, taking back to their departments the knowledge they gain in work sessions.
Cloud computing promises to deliver better service at less cost and more convenience. It’s been heralded as a next-generation IT solution that will open up a wide array of mobile possibilities.
Security continues to be a major cloud concern. In the wake of several high-profile information security breaches, a great deal of thought has been directed at maintaining security in the government cloud.
Still, the migration is on. CCAC remains hard at work clearing the path and troubleshooting issues such as security.
While the move is essential to the future of the government, it is not a move that should be rushed.
In March of last year, Peter Tseronis, deputy associate CIO of the Energy Department and chairman of the Federal Cloud Computing Advisory Council, put it well when he said: “Cloud computing is not a technology that can just be turned on overnight. We spent a lot of last year defining what the cloud is, what are the various delivery models, deployments and characteristics. We still continue to need to do that.”
Optimistic and determined, but with caution and concern, the move upward continues.