Continuing Efforts to Make Cloud a Government Reality

Cloud Computing has moved from a fringe technology that agencies were willing to try to a mainstream part of IT strategy and infrastructure. CloudFirst guidance from the executive branch got agencies looking at cloud as an option as they modernize systems. FedRAMP provided a standard for cloud security for government, easing the fears that a move to cloud meant a less secure system. Agencies have provided a host of guidance on how to use the cloud in their particular environments and for their missions. The intelligence community even went so far as to design a cloud that meets the specific needs of its users.

But even with this growing comfort, it's been a slow implementation process. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security set up a cloud steering group after realizing that of their 584 applications only 29 were currently in the cloud, and another 52 were in the process of moving. They understood the cost and performance benefits of cloud but needed a way to accelerate the move. Beyond the technical aspect of designing cloud for government, there are also policy issues including a Supreme Court-level discussion of how and when cloud providers have to release data that they store.

There is still much to learn about how to implement cloud usage in a government environment and best practices. Luckily, there are several events that address all aspects of cloud implementation in government.

  • A GSA Event: How to Acquire Cloud Computing (May 23; webcast) - Sometimes the hardest part of implementing cloud in government is finding out how to procure it using contracting standards that were developed when a cloud was just something that blocked the sun. This hour-long webinar explains how to use GSA's cloud acquisition vehicles and provides an overview of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).
  • Cloud and MGT: Powering Innovation (June 6; Washington, DC) - With the Modernizing Government Technology law (MGT) as a backdrop, this event features insights from government and industry leaders on how the cloud is powering the modernization movement. This event qualifies for 2.5 CPEs.
  • ATARC Federal Cloud and Data Summit (June 13; Washington, DC) - This event examines cloud tools and techniques being used by the Federal Government to provide agencies with greater efficiency, open source solutions and cost savings. It also brings in subject matter experts from government, academia and industry to brainstorm and collaborate on "challenge areas" that will be compiled into a white paper with recommendations for government.
  • AWS Public Sector Summit (June 20-21; Washington, DC) - Organized by Amazon Web Services, this event takes a look at how to use the cloud for complex, innovative, and mission-critical projects. The summit pulls in dozens of vendors and government IT practitioners in addition to visionaries on the Amazon team. It features over 100 breakout sessions to provide the right insight attendees need to implement cloud solutions in their organization.
  • Google Cloud Next (July 24-26; San Francisco, CA) - With Google technology in use throughout government, this event is an opportunity to hear from those who know the solutions the best. It features case studies and stories from customers who are using Google Cloud technology to effect change and meet the needs of users well into the future.
  • Gartner Catalyst Conference (August 20-23; San Diego, CA) - Hosted by the well-respected analyst group, this conference provides a deep dive into the digital enterprise's architectural requirements, looking at mobility, cloud architecture, data analytics, enterprise-scale security and identity, software-defined data centers, DevOps, and digital productivity via mobile and cloud.
  • Velocity (September 30-October 3; New York, NY) - This event provides attendees with real-world advice for building, deploying, and running complex, distributed applications and systems. Attendees can learn best practices for building, refactoring, and monitoring modern systems and applications within cloud platforms.

Where are you learning about cloud? What insights have been most helpful in your work to move to a modern, cloud environment? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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