Cloud Computing: Why Are Governments Stuck in the Stone Age?

Grazed from GovTech. Author: Todd Newcombe.

Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that Lois Lerner, the tax agency official under investigation for allegedly mistreating Tea Party groups seeking tax exemptions, had lost copies of her emails when her hard drive crashed. But why was she was backing up email on a desktop computer in the first place?

It turns out that Lerner and other IRS officials were supposed to be following a policy of backing up emails on paper. But because the policy was unclear about how an email meets the standard of an official record, it doesn’t appear to have been followed or enforced. When all records were paper-based, retention policies led to the storage of vast amounts of government records in warehouses...

Beijing Government Applies IBM's Cloud Computing To Solve Smog Problem

Grazed from ChinaCSR.  Author: Editorial Staff.

The Beijing municipal government has reached a cooperation agreement with IBM to use the tech company's advanced weather forecast and cloud computing technologies to solve the stubborn smog problem in the city.

Facing serious environmental pollution problems, the Chinese government has promised citizens that it will take measures to improve the environmental situation. To handle the haze and pollution problems, it is necessary to enhance data collection and monitoring and forecast abilities. Beijing has reportedly established an early warning system with data from 35 monitoring stations and the system can warn about heavily polluted weather three days in advance and adjust traffic volume accordingly...

Cloud Computing: How the CIA Partnered With Amazon and Changed Intelligence

Grazed from DefenseOne.  Author: Frank Konkel.

The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For the first time, agencies within the IC will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What’s more, they’ll only pay for what they use...

Microsoft Targets CRM in Government Cloud

Grazed from CIO-Today. Author: Jennifer LeClaire.

Despite their recent alignment in some areas, Microsoft now seems to be aiming square for Salesforce Relevant Products/’s jawline with its latest CRM Relevant Products/Services software Relevant Products/Services release. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is hoping to gain major momentum among U.S. government agencies with its new cloud computing solutions. The well-rounded infrastructure Relevant Products/Services includes Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, its Office 365 productivity apps, and now Dynamics CRM for customer Relevant Products/Services, or in this case, constituent relationship management.

In a Thursday blog post, Microsoft's VP for the U.S. Public Sector Curt Kolcun announced updates to Microsoft's cloud offerings, spanning infrastructure, data Relevant Products/Services, productivity, mobility, and more. The crux of the announcement is that Dynamics CRM Online will be joining Office 365 and Azure in servicing U.S. federal, state, and local governments agency...

DEA canvasses industry for cloud options to store sensitive crime data

Grazed from FierceGovernmentIT. Author: Henry Kenyon.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is planning to make its first tentative steps into the federal cloud computing arena as it seeks a solution to store sensitive crime data. In a request released July 7, the DEA is surveying cloud providers for the most cost-efficient way to shift data to an agency-wide hybrid cloud. One of the major nodes in this proposed cloud architecture will be the DEA's Sterling Park Technology Center, or SPTC.

The agency wants to move its eGIS capability - a Google Earth-based crime information system that uses geospatial mapping data to tag crime and suspect location data - to the cloud. eGIS is currently hosted at SPTC, but the goal is to create a secondary site hosted on a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program-compliant government community cloud run by an authorized commercial cloud service provider...

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...

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...

U.S. Shifts On Allowing Defense Data In Cloud

Grazed from WSJ. Author: Joel Schectman.

The U.S. is loosening its policy on how companies may store sensitive defense data, allowing use of cloud services like Google Inc.’s Gmail, provided adequate security steps are taken, according to U.S. State Department officials. The State Department recently told the startup Perspecsys Inc., in an advisory opinion, that it could store defense data in the cloud provided it “take all steps necessary” to make sure only U.S. persons could view the data, according to an official from the agency.

Both Perspecsys and the State Department denied Wall Street Journal requests to review the advisory opinion. To stop rivals from eroding the U.S. military edge, defense contractors are prohibited from bringing both physical arms and information on how to build them out of the U.S., without special permission...

The Cloud Goes to Washington: Does It Matter Where Your Data Is?

Grazed from SysConMedia. Author: Elizabeth White.

Has Washington finally caught on to the cloud? As a "borderless technology," cloud computing is subject to the laws and regulations of many different countries - some more than others. The American legal and regulatory system has recently been paying more attention to cloud computing, so as a result new laws and regulatory regimes may be on the horizon.

In order to make good business decisions, it is important to understand where the legal and regulatory environment is headed and how possible changes might affect cloud computing deployment, adoption, and usage. What is the Supreme Court case The American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo really about and how is it related to cloud computing?...