FedRAMP Enlists Industry Vet To Oversee Clouds

Grazed from EnterpriseTech. Author: George Leopold.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has appointed a tech industry veteran to help oversee its uneven cloud rollout. Jennifer Kerber, former president of the industry group TechAmerica Foundation and most recently executive director of the Government Transformation Initiative, will join GSA’s Office of Citizens Services and Technologies as director of its Federal Cloud Credential Exchange program.

Kerber’s move to GSA was first reported by the web site federalnewsradio.com. The GSA exchange is working with agency partners that include the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology that its developing security standards for the federal cloud initiative FedRAMP, or Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program...

Salesforce ramps up to sell government agencies on its cloud business

Grazed from Mohana Ravindranath.

Salesforce.com got its start in 1999 selling software to businesses, helping them manage customer data for sales leads. Fifteen years later, the San Francisco-based company is ramping up to reach a different audience: the federal government. As part of this attempt, Salesforce debuted cloud services for federal agencies before 4,000 business partners and government representatives recently at a company-sponsored conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District.

Spearheading the public-sector push is Vivek Kundra, an executive vice president at Salesforce who until 2011 served as the United States’ first chief information officer. As CIO, Kundra issued a “cloud first” policy, mandating that federal agencies take advantage of the Internet cloud as a way to reduce costs and develop new applications...

Feds Need Cloud Procurement Standards

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: Charles Babcock.

Federal agencies looking to buy cloud services, just like the private sector, need to develop a common method for evaluating cloud providers, the services they offer, and the prices they charge. That's the advice from TechAmerica Foundation, a nonprofit formed to advise government on cloud computing in its newly updated guide on how government agencies can adopt the cloud.

TechAmerica Foundation's cloud computing initiative was formed three years ago to convey best practices in adopting the cloud to the federal and state governments. The new guide makes such common sense recommendations as mapping agency priorities, then finding a business case that fits them. The business case must define requirements, set performance objectives, and estimate costs, it said...

How VA's $36 million move to the cloud evaporated

Grazed from FCW. Author: Adam Mazmanian.

The Department of Veterans Affairs canceled a $36 million cloud computing deal with HP in May 2013 after a dispute between the CIO's office and the agency's inspector general over how long emails should be retained and concerns over system security, FCW has learned.

When the deal was announced in November 2012, it was one of the most ambitious cloud migrations of any federal agency, covering the VA's entire 600,000-strong workforce. HP Enterprise Services was selected as the integrator to deploy the system, which was set to go live with a March 2013 pilot for 15,000 users, involving calendar and email apps...

The Federal Government Journey to Cloud Computing: Lessons Learned

Grazed from SysConMedia. Author: Kevin Jackson.

In February 2011, Vivek Kundra announced the “Cloud First” policy across the US Government. The directive, issued through the Office of Management and Budget, required agencies to give cloud technology first priority in developing IT projects. He also described cloud computing as a “10 year journey”.

According to a Deltek report, federal agency spending on cloud computing will grow from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2013 to $6.1 billion by fiscal 2018. This forecast clearly raises the importance of understanding what has happened over the past few years. In my opinion, the Top 5 most important lessons learned are:...

Cloud For The Feds - Salesforce Obtains Federal Certification

Grazed from Forbes.  Author: Ben Kepes.

Yesterday it was the news that former bitter rivals, Salesforce and Microsoft, has found new love and respect and had entered into a broad-ranging partnership. Today Salesforce scored another coup with the announcement that it is the first vendor to be granted Federal Certification for both Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has long been the holy grail for cloud infrastructure vendors – since its introduction back in 2011 a number of infrastructure vendors have obtained certification. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard among them.

But until now FedRAMP hadn’t covered the higher levels of the cloud stack, SaaS and PaaS. While this might sound like a confusing series of acronyms, it is actually pretty important. Infrastructure as a Service allows organizations to essentially buy servers on demand. Instead of having to buy physical boxes, build data centers and wrangle the details of running the same, they can instead “hire” infrastructure from a cloud vendor...

Cloud Computing: Feds Could Save $20 Billion With Better IT Infrastructure Initiatives

Grazed from NextGov. Author: Frank Konkel.

Perhaps data center consolidation, virtualization, cloud computing, remote access and infrastructure diversification aren’t the sexiest terms in the federal repertoire, but they do hold the keys to as much as $20 billion in annual savings, according to a study by Meritalk. The study, underwritten by Brocade, is based on survey results from 300 federal network managers who estimate that if the government were to fully leverage all five initiatives, it could save about 24 percent of the government’s $80 billion information technology budget.

The survey’s results sound promising, but there’s a caveat: Two-thirds of the surveyed network managers reported their networks are ill-equipped to meet current mission needs, and much further away from being able to fully embrace newer tech initiatives like cloud computing. If network managers could magically flip a switch and significantly increase network speed by approximately 26 percent, the survey claims the government could cash in $11 billion in savings in one year...

Cloud Computing: Looking back to move forward

Grazed from FCW. Author: Alistair Mitchell.

Three years ago Vivek Kundra unveiled the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. The strategy set out to transform the government's existing IT environment, which was "characterized by low asset utilization, a fragmented demand for resources, duplicative systems, environments which are difficult to manage and long procurement lead times." Cloud computing would be the change agent and transform federal IT for the better.

With Kundra estimating 25 percent of the government's $80 billion annual IT spend could be migrated to cloud computing services, it would only be a matter of time before agencies could reap the rewards of the cloud's key benefits: efficiency, agility and innovation. To accelerate cloud computing adoption, the cloud-first policy was instituted to ensure cloud services were evaluated prior to any new IT investments being made...

Hybrid cloud: The new normal for federal IT

Grazed from GCN. Author: Anne Altman.

Some might think we’re still in the early days of cloud adoption with agencies focused on simple application hosting – moving email to the cloud – to meet mandates. However, the numbers tell a different story. Recent projections from International Data Corp. predict that federal cloud services spending alone will reach $1.7 billion by fiscal year 2014. By 2017, the federal government will spend nearly $9 billion on cloud computing.

As cloud adoption increases and grows in complexity, agencies find that they will compile more and more IT resources — applications, data and services — that reside on different platforms. Whether by design or by accident, hybrid cloud is becoming the new normal for CIOs. It’s no longer an argument of cloud versus traditional IT, or public versus private. It’s all of the above...

How government can securely leverage cloud environments

Grazed from GCN.  Author: Dan Chenok.

In recent years, federal agencies have made significant strides incorporating cloud computing into their IT portfolios.  From the OMB “Cloud First” strategy, to GSA’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), the government is following commercial best practices to leverage the cloud.

Cloud capabilities can be provided over the public Internet or through connections over private networks -- and government does both. Some agencies establish private clouds due to perceived risks of making data available over public channels. At the same time, they are moving toward greater use of the open Internet, including public clouds.