The recent federally mandated IT reform has many government agencies questioning which services to migrate to the cloud.
The Cloud First policy released in February requires all government agencies to “modify their IT portfolios to fully take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing in order to maximize capacity utilization, improve IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimize cost” by moving three services to the cloud before mid-2012.
Some agencies, however, are nervous about the potential security risks associated with cloud migration and may therefore choose to move relatively minor or inconsequential applications. To address some of these concerns, Government Computer News released yesterday a list written by Gregg Mossburg, vice president of CGI Federal Solutions, of four guiding principles federal agencies should keep in mind when striving for cloud success.
The first piece of advice for federal agencies is to invest in services, not just servers. “While cloud server time often is purchased as a commodity, successful agency cloud initiatives will consider the management services required to deliver their systems,” Mossburg wrote.
Agencies should also consider using federally certified and accredited cloud providers, products and services to ensure security. According to Mossburg, agencies can take advantage of the cloud infrastructure services that have been designed specifically to meet the demands of federal agencies for Federal Information Security Management Act low and moderate security environments.
Additionally, agencies should include people, process and agency-specific mission requirements in decision-making to ensure an effective system and guarantee long-term results.
Lastly, Mossburg urges federal agencies to take advantage of governmentwide cloud programs.
“The General Services Administration is leading the way by making secure, robust cloud services available to agencies of every size through a Blanket Purchase Agreement that provides Infrastructure as a Service for cloud storage, virtual machines, and cloud hosting” explained Mossburg. “FedRAMP also provides greater assurance of security for agencies implementing cloud services and products.”
By keeping these four key points at the forefront of their cloud migrations, federal agencies can take advantage of the benefits associated with full utilization of its services.