Proposed US law could deal knockout blow to FBI in overseas cloud privacy ding-dongs

Grazed from TheRegister. Author: Iain Thomson.

The US Congress, now fully under Republican control, is getting busy with laws to protect data: two bipartisan bills appeared on Thursday that would bring the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) bang up to date in the 21st century. The first piece of proposed legislation [PDF] is the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015, submitted in the Senate by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and in the House by Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

The bill would require cops and the Feds to show probable cause when seeking a search warrant to rifle through people's emails and other data. (California is mulling over a similar requirement.) Under today's rules, set back when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, deem that any email can be searched, with probable cause or not, provided at least 180 days have passed since the message was sent and received...

Hashmi: Private clouds aren't really 'cloud'

Grazed from FederalTimes. Author: Aaron Boyd.

Federal agencies are under presidential order to consider cloud-first policies when developing IT projects, however the type of cloud environment they use is left up to the discretion of agency officials. During a cloud panel hosted by Red Hat on Feb. 12, several agency CIOs debated the virtues of public and private clouds, with one suggesting private clouds don't really fit the as-a-service model.

"The private cloud concept is a little bit of a transitional concept between where we were and where we need to be," GSA CIO Sonny Hashmi said. "Are we at the point in the industry where full public cloud can meet all of our challenges in terms of security, control, compliance, auditability?...

Analyzing the Federal Government's Use of the Cloud

Grazed from BrookingsInstitute. Author: Joshua Bleiberg.

Since 2009 the federal government started the process of replacing local computers with cloud platforms. A recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an interesting view into the progress of these investments. It reveals the benefits that public agencies gain when using cloud services and the barriers they face when making the transition.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Cloud computers are superior to locally-run data centers for a variety of reasons. The CRS report identifies six specific cloud benefits:...

VMware hybrid vCloud gets FedRAMP approval

Grazed from GCN. Author: Editorial Staff.

VMware announced that its VMware vCloud Government Service (vCGS), provided by Carpathia, has achieved provisional authority to operate (ATO) through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) program. vCGS is a government community hybrid cloud service built on VMware’s vSphere data center platform.

It lets agencies run new and existing applications in the cloud and offers on-demand compute, network and storage resources via a self-service portal or application programming interface (API). With vCGS – an infrastructure-as-a-service offering – agencies using vSphere-based virtual infrastructure in the data center can move workloads easily between their internal data center resources and the vCGS, VMware said in its announcement...

Cloud Computing: VMware CIO quits firm to join White House

Grazed from CloudPro. Author: Joe Curtis.

VMware CIO Tony Scott is joining the White House to perform the same role for President Barack Obama. Scott is leaving the virtualisation firm to become the US government’s third CIO, charged with delivering the administration’s Smarter IT Delivery Agenda. According to a statement from the White House released yesterday, his responsibilities include providing world-class digital services, deriving value from existing IT investments and protecting IT assets.

Scott, who joined VMware in 2013, succeeds previous US government CIOs Vivek Kundra and Steve VanRoekel, who helped establish the US Digital Service (USDS), which took inspiration from the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS). Jennifer Pahlka, who set up USDS, was at Whitehall’s Sprint 15 event this week to talk about the progress USDS has made in transforming public services...

Cloud Computing: How Are Feds Handling Data Center Defense?

Grazed from Talkincloud. Author: Dan Kobialka.

A new MeriTalk survey of 300 U.S. federal IT decision-makers showed that the number of reported breaches on U.S. federal computer networks has nearly doubled since 2009. The majority of these professionals are concerned about cybersecurity as they update their data centers as well.

The survey, underwritten by Palo Alto Networks (PANW), revealed 67 percent of U.S. Feds are concerned with cybersecurity as they modernize their data centers. Also, 49 percent said they believed that the data center modernization process makes cybersecurity more challenging...

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CIO Outlines Cloud Environment Goals at Department of Defense

Grazed from CIO.  Author: Kenneth Corbin.

 The top technology officer at the Department of Defense (DoD) wants to work more closely with cloud service providers, saying yesterday that he expects to enhance collaboration with the private sector as the Pentagon, like the rest of the federal government, looks to trim IT costs and improve efficiencies.  Speaking at a cloud event geared for private-sector firms, Terry Halvorsen, acting CIO at DoD, outlined his vision "to form an interactive partnership between all of the government players involved within DoD and industry to get it right."

"We are going to continue to move more into the commercial space," Halvorsen says. "One of the questions that we're wrestling with today inside the DoD technology is what businesses should we be in, and how much of any business should we be in."...

DoD wants to enter the commercial cloud distribution business

Grazed from FierceGovernmentIT.  Author: Molly Bernhart Walker.

On a small scale, the Defense Department is allowing commercial cloud providers to operate in Defense-owned and operated facilities, but Acting DoD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen would like to take that model a step further.

Halvorsen said he already has the blessing of DoD Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall in pursuing a scenario that would allow commercial cloud providers to operate in DoD facilities and serve non-federal government clients...

5 Things Every Agency Should Know About Procuring Cloud Services

Grazed from Business2Community.  Author:  Caron Beesley.

If your agency is making the move to cloud services, it can expect cost-savings, improved service delivery, and all the great things that the cloud brings. But for procurement and purchasing officials whose practices and contracting vehicles were designed to help managers provision hardware and software, not on-demand services like the cloud, it can all cause a bit of a frenzy.

But cloud procurement isn’t as problematic as it might first appear. Here are a few quick tips and insights that can help guide you through the solicitation, award and termination phases:...

A Cautionary Government Cloud Story--UK's G-Cloud. Does The "G" Stand For Gone?

Grazed from InformationWeek.  Author: Ben Kepes.

Respected cloud computing commentator and consultant Ian Apperley has spent significant time studying the UK’s G-Cloud program. G-Cloud is a program introduced by the UK Government back in 2012 that aimed to offer public-sector organizations throughout the UK access to cloud infrastructure. The idea of the initiative was that the G-Cloud organization would negotiate agreements with suppliers, thus avoiding the need for individual organizations to complete a full procurement process. On top of that, G-Cloud created a “CloudStore” where public sector bodies could search for services covered by the G-Cloud supply agreements.

In a recent post, Apperley suggested that the UK Government cloud program is for all intents and purposes dead. Apperley has a professional interest in the G-Cloud story – he has studied the UK program as part of an assessment of opportunities that existed for New Zealand’s Departments of Internal Affairs. Apperley concluded that the G-Cloud model was a good one – it created a level playing field for suppliers, more generally used to favorites being played by departmental IT staff...