Federal Government Adopts Cloud Computing

IT services with the cloudOne of the most exciting developments in business technology in recent years has been the development of a wide range of cloud solutions.  These IT solutions are becoming so widespread and important that now, the United States Department of Defense has appointed a ‘cloud services’ broker who must issue approval before components of any department may move onto a cloud computing basis.  The Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense, Terry Takai, has announced that DISA, the Defense Information Systems Agency will serve as the designated broker. 

Although Takai has authority to issue a waiver, in most cases Defense Department agencies will need to work with DISA before implementing new cloud solutions.  Takai explained further in a memo made public on July 10, though it was first issued on June 26: "As the DoD enterprise cloud service broker, DISA is tasked with making it easier, safer and more productive to navigate, integrate, consume, extend and maintain cloud services, within the department, from other federal and commercial cloud service providers."

Takai also commented that "technical and mission requirements" would be a consideration that DISA keeps in mind as it assists agencies and departments to make use of commercial cloud computing services.  Such IT services must meet the requirements outlined in FedRAMP, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.  Though Takai did not mention IT security issues specifically, it remains one of the greatest concerns for many businesses adopting a cloud solutions paradigm.  Small and medium-sized businesses in particular have strong concerns about such a move since these companies often lack adequate internal IT staff with experience or knowledge about securing a cloud computing environment.

Some federal agencies will have DISA to assist them with cybersecurity issues such as configuration needs and continuity.  SMBs, however, cannot usually turn to the federal government for assistance with their own systems.  A solution for them does exist, however.  Small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of a relatively new IT services paradigm known as managed services. 

In a managed service model, small and medium businesses contract with an IT company to provide them with a variety of IT solutions including a cloud computing platform.  Managed services can assist companies with both public and private cloud solutions that will help them to lower their IT operating and infrastructure costs even as they increase employee productivity. 

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