Monday, December 23, 2013

Why Does the Government Still Shy Away from the Cloud?

We know the U.S. government is notoriously slow in adopting new technologies (except, of course, for spying). But the cloud is hardly new. At Bluedog, we describe cloud computing as a whole range of infrastructure, software, data and applications residing in the cloud -- that's to say, outside your data center, accessed via the Internet. You know, like Google.

At a recent event, GSA's Mark Day, the acting deputy assistant commissioner in the Integrated Technology Services office of the Federal Acquisition Service, said agencies spent more than $550 million on cloud services through governmentwide acquisition contracts, while they spent less than $100 million on cloud-specific contracts, such as email-as-a-service or infrastructure-as-a-service. Day said the difference in the spend shows integration services are important to agencies.

"There's a cloud broker who can help do security, single sign-on tie-ins for all cloud providers. You could have a cloud broker do security monitoring in a standardized way across all cloud providers, giving you a single pane of glass to manage from. You could integrate legacy and cloud so it's easier to manage your pieces," Day said. "There's a whole set of layers as you start to think this through that a cloud broker could do. Now the question is, which of those functions can a cloud broker do economically and efficiently for the federal government? Where do they add value? Where do they drive speed to market? Where do they make it easier for the consumer to know what they've actually gotten and be able to anticipate problems and react to problems better? And where frankly, are they just an added cost?"
Of course, the U.S. is hurting the program -- when our own government makes cloud computing a non-started by spying on everyone, the fallout is wide spread. Other governments lose confidence in U.S. industry. The European Commission is looking to promote EU-based cloud services with the urgent drafting of a new charter.
The mounting evidence is that the U.S. Prism spying scandal may damage the global market share of US-based tech companies involved in the cloud computing sector. So even if the Feds starting buying more SAAS and other Cloud products/services, we are all going to suffer with the reputation that the U.S. spies on everyone -- its own citizens, not just our global allies.

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