Cloud services have allowed federal agencies to meet the demands of quickly scaling digital government initiatives while maintaining a high level of security. It's also been a huge money-saver. The government has yielded$4.7 billion in savings by closing data centers and relying more and more on cloud. The federal government spent a total of $12.3 billion in FY22 on cloud goods and services, a 30 percent increase from the previous year.
To ensure agencies continue to see savings amidst increased spending, there are several initiatives in place to modernize how government procures and pays for cloud services.Continue reading →
The government's relationship with cloud computing has been an evolving affair. Initially, there was skepticism that cloud solutions could not provide the needed security that on-premise systems had been providing. With checks and balances provided by FedRAMP, security concerns were slowly but surely overcome. With the move to more remote work and the demand for digital interaction with citizens, cloud has moved from a novel approach to a necessary part of the Federal IT infrastructure.
Cloud and Security
Initial concerns about the levels of security maintained by cloud providers have proven to be unfounded. Cloud systems are built with security as a top of mind concern by some of the brightest, most experienced cyber experts in the world. No matter how skilled Federal IT teams are, they just cannot build an on-premises system that meets the same rigors. In fact, today cloud security concerns lie with the users of cloud rather than the providers.Continue reading →
Remote work, necessitated by the pandemic, accelerated many agencies' move to cloud computing. With remote and dispersed teams here to stay, cloud is a critical, if not primary, infrastructure for a number of organizations. With this wide reliance on cloud, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been releasing Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 Use Cases, which give federal agencies guidance on applying network and multi-boundary security for remote users.
Similarly, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) recently combined its Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO) with its services directorate and ecosystem. This move, creating the Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), recognizes the long-term reality of cloud and the role it plays in delivering services and powering everyday work for the agency. The HaCC will be "responsible for providing the warfighter with critical hosting and compute functions using modern data center and cloud capabilities." This functionality supports a number of Defense Department initiatives including Joint All Domain Command and Control.Continue reading →
Though the word may be overused, state and local governments are indeed facing unprecedented challenges. Forced to move operations online in response to their own stay-at-home orders, state and local agencies have spent the last year retooling how they serve citizens. They have been paying for necessary technology upgrades and other new equipment while revenues from taxes have dropped considerably. Even with these financial challenges, state CIOs are committed to continuing with their innovation and modernization efforts.
A study from the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) showed that priorities for state and local CIOs stayed consistent over the last year, with cybersecurity and enhancing digital citizen service being the top two. Of course, these two areas saw critical investments in 2020 just to keep the business of government running. In 2021, the solutions put in place will be revisited, evaluated for efficiency, and operationalized to support agencies moving forward.
In one of its first acts, the 117th Congress passed theFedRAMP Authorization Act. This bill codifies the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and, in the process,speeds up the time it takes for cloud solutions to be implemented in the Federal government. Currently, cloud solutions must frequently gain separate authority to operate statuses for each agency where they are used. This bill looks to have the General Services Administration (GSA) automate processes to promote reciprocity for security validations from one agency to another.
This bill was passed at a critical time for cloud adoption within government as agencies continue to accelerate their digital plans to meet the needs of a remote workforce. While the way has been cleared for "emergency" use of cloud to keep the business of government running, laws and policy like this Act ensure that there is long term support for the move to cloud services.