Federal Cloud Ruling Forces Encryption Key Control Issue

Grazed from TalkinCloud. Author: Mike Vizard.

Concerns over privacy and data governance in the cloud have reached a new level in the wake of a Federal court ruling requiring Microsoft to turn data over to the U.S. government that it has been storing for customers in a data center located in Ireland. Because Microsoft is incorporated in the United States, Federal Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled that the U.S. government still has the power to compel Microsoft to turn over data regardless of where it is physically stored. In the wake of recent court rulings, cloud service providers (CSP) had been storing data outside of the United States on behalf of customers that did not want that data to subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The ruling by Judge Preska is clearly a blow to cloud service providers based in the United States that are trying to compete in what has become a global cloud computing market.

But as disturbing as this latest Federal ruling is to cloud service providers, it may prove to be a boon to providers of encryption technologies. IT organizations have long-resisted the use of encryption because it has been difficult to manage and created a lot of processing overhead. But the federal ruling makes it clear that the only way IT organizations can retain control over their data is if they retain control over keys used to encrypt their data...

'Provider Sprawl' Complicates Government Move to Cloud

Grazed from CIO. Author: Kenneth Corbin.

In spite of a nearly four-year-old mandate to prioritize cloud computing technologies within the federal government, that transition has been slow to take shape, with officials continuing to express concerns about how to manage cloud deployments and uncertainty about navigating the maze of commercial providers.

Gerald Chelak, director of the technical service division at the GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, says his agency is "100 percent committed to cloud" but admits that federal CIOs struggle to keep up with what he describes as "cloud service provider sprawl." When asked in a recent panel discussion how IT workers can keep on top of an ever-expanding galaxy of service providers and products, Chelak quipped, "Spend weekends."...

CIA's Amazon-Built Cloud Goes Live

Grazed from NextGov. Author: Frank Konkel.

The Central Intelligence Agency is now officially an Amazon Web Services cloud consumer. Less than 10 months after a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge ended a public battle between AWS and IBM for the CIA’s commercial cloud contract valued at up to $600 million, the AWS-built cloud for the intelligence community went online last week for the first time, according to a source familiar with the deal.

The cloud -- best thought of as a public cloud computing environment built on private premises -- is yet far from its peak operational capabilities when it will provide all 17 intelligence agencies unprecedented access to an untold number of computers for various on-demand computing, analytic, storage, collaboration and other services...

The EPA doesn't know what clouds it has - and neither do you

Grazed from InfoWorld. Author: David Linthicum.

Do you know how much cloud computing is really going on in your organization? If you're like IT management in most companies and government agencies, you don't have a clue. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn't know how many cloud computing contracts it has or how secure they are, according to a recent audit by the agency's inspector general, in a report released last week.

In at least one instance, the EPA may not have had access to a subcontractor's cloud for investigative purposes. Worse, that same subcontractor was not compliant with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which sets security standards for cloud providers. Most IT leaders don't have a real understanding of how many cloud computing (or other technology) resources are being used -- and to what extent -- right under their noses. It's called "shadow IT" for a reason: Those technologies are in the shadows...

Bringing the cloud to data that cannot be moved

Grazed from FederalTimes. Author: Jane Snowdon.

Many regulations, laws, and industry guidelines govern how sensitive personal information and regulated data are managed in the healthcare, banking, and financial industries. Improper release of regulated or sensitive information can result in significant consequences and damage, making compliance with government regulatory acts and industry guidelines paramount.
Micro-Cloud: Cloud moving into the network

Cloud computing has many benefits but cases exist where some data cannot be moved to the cloud for of a variety of reasons. For example, security concerns or regulatory compliance requirements might limit the use of the cloud. In some cases, data may be generated at rates that are too big to move or at rates that exceed transfer capacity, for example in surveillance, operations in remote areas, and telemetry applications...

Cloud Improves SEC's Bottom Line

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: Henry Kenyon.

By moving its core operating functions to the cloud, the Securities and Exchange Commission has increased the speed and flexibility of its financial data services and saved money through increased efficiency, a top official claims. Responsible for regulating the securities industry, the SEC manages massive amounts of data for analysis and to provide the finance industry and individual investors with updated information. To do this, the commission's website and data centers must be able to absorb massive spikes in use.

Over the last three years, the SEC has modernized its IT infrastructure, improved funding for its online component, and started to move its core functions to public and private clouds, said Thomas Bayer, the commission's CIO, who spoke at a recent government cloud computing symposium held by the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association...

CIA Information Chief Talks Cloud Computing, Culture Clash at Amazon Event

Grazed from Recode. Author: Amy Schatz.

Doug Wolfe doesn’t stand out in a crowd, which isn’t surprising considering he’s been with the Central Intelligence Agency for the past 30 years or so, most recently as the agency’s chief information officer. But he was center stage Tuesday morning at an Amazon Web Services sales event in Washington, D.C., as he gave a 15-minute speech for other government-IT-procurement types about why the intelligence agency picked Amazon for a recent $600 million cloud-computing contract.

“This is not something in my 30 years that we have traditionally done,” Wolfe said, joking that when he agreed to speak, no one told him he’d be addressing upwards of 3,000 government and IT professionals in a cavernous hall at the Washington Convention Center. “It’s been a pretty interesting clash of cultures here,” Wolfe said, describing discussions the agency has had with Amazon over the past few months as they’ve worked on the CIA’s new cloud-based system...

Choosing a cloud approach

Grazed from FederalTimes. Author: Editorial Staff.

U.S. federal government agencies are adopting cloud infrastructure and services at a growing pace. Over the past few years, the Department of the Interior, General Services Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service and others have moved ahead with cloud implementations, ranging in scope and size.

As they transition, many of the early adopters are discovering the benefits of implementing a hybrid cloud computing strategy. A hybrid cloud provides both on-premise and off-site resources that allow agencies to gain the cost benefits of a public or community cloud for the applications and data that are appropriate for those environments, while utilizing the security of a private cloud and managing risk for sensitive data and applications...

Why Agencies Need Acquisition-as-a-Service

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: Christopher O'Connell.

By September 2015, no new purchasing contracts are to go through the federal government's Standard Procurement System (SPS). The entire legacy procurement system is slated for sunset by 2017. With the sunset of SPS, there's an opportunity to do procurement better in the federal government. Let's call this notion "acquisition-as-a-service."

Some agencies already seem headed in that direction. But before we turn our attention to them, here's a hard truth: Federal procurement processes have been poorly served by technology. Acquisition is a costly and complicated business, with little uniformity among the applications that automate acquisition's repetitive functions...

Cloud Computing: Initiatives Could Save Federal Agencies Billions

Grazed from Baseline. Author: Maggie O'Neill.

Cloud computing, diversification and virtualization are among the initiatives that federal agencies could deploy to save billions, while increasing efficiency. A new report states that government agencies could save as much as $19.7 billion a year by improving their infrastructure and deploying five key initiatives that are based on consolidation, cloud computing, diversification, remote access and virtualization.

That represents more than double the $8.5 billion savings already reported by federal agencies that have partially or fully enacted these initiatives. The additional savings would be leveraged through improved operating efficiencies, processes and services, as well as reduced capital and operating expenditures, according to the report, which was issued by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership that focuses on improving government IT outcomes...