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Federal Government Migration to the Cloud - Where We've Been

Federal Government Migration to the Cloud - Where We've Been

Federal Government Migration to the Cloud – Where We’ve Been

February 29, 2016 – The basic principles surrounding the concept of Cloud Computing have existed for a long time. Predictions made decades ago and generally associated with anticipating the internet itself may more closely resemble what is today’s ubiquitous “Cloud.” More recently, predictions of device-independent, instantly accessible information couched in user-friendly software, platforms, networking and infrastructure may have appeared more outlandish than they did in the 60s. But like it or not, Cloud Computing is the next—indeed the current—era of information technology, and adapting to the Cloud is a true necessity.

The Cloud movement arguably gained steam in earnest with the arrival of in 1999 and Amazon Web Services in 2002, and became supercharged when it lined up alongside Web 2.0, with its emphasis on web-based as opposed to offline/local applications in the late 2000s.

Perceiving this trend and its cost-saving and risk-mitigating benefits, the nation’s first Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, mandated a “Cloud First” strategy for the Federal government in 2010. Kundra realized very soon after assuming the CIO role, that government organizations were spending an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort on their IT environments, and exposing themselves to unnecessary risk—all while operating or being delivered inferior IT products and services compared to widely available commercial equivalents. Kundra himself was fond of regaling audiences with anecdotes of the Secretary of the Interior, unable to send emails within his own department due to a lack of interoperability and standardization of information systems at DOI.

Other government organizations have offered up similarly extreme stories. The SEC was an early adapter of Cloud strategies, moving to the Cloud platform—which quickly cut their case processing time from an average of 30 days to an average of 7, while enabling employees to access cases and data from virtually anywhere at virtually any time.

Kimberly Hancher, CIO of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, puts it succinctly: “The more time that we spend worrying about the equipment and the operating systems, the less time we’re spending solving the problems that our programs need help with.”