Tomorrow, the White House CIO, Vivek Kundra, is going to announce his plans for cloud computing. It’s anticipated that this first phase he will announce at a press conference in California will give government agencies a central place to store and use simple collaboration tools. Kundra, who has acknowledged cloud computing’s place in the government’s IT tool box, agrees with many (including me) that it will cut costs.
But cloud computing, as is the truth with any IT tool, is only as good as its implementation. If Kundra really wants this first phase to be successful from a productivity and utilization point-of-view, he’ll have to include some other initiatives in his speech. Here are a few that I would deem essential (based on years of working with government agencies) if I found myself in his shoes:
1. Establish an automated way to enforce security compliance on government-provided mobile assets working outside an Agency’s LAN in the public cloud. Currently there is far too much reliance on human intervention for remote security enforcement.
2. Provide a centralized management platform that provides both visibility and control over government assets operating in the public cloud. This will provide peace of mind and real-time reportability as to the compliance status of devices that are less and less frequently connected to an Agency’s network.
3. Streamline FISMA standards to allow greater flexibility amongst Government Agencies to implement technologies that meet their specific operational needs and that facilitate the participation of more leading edge technology vendors.
4. Increase teleworking goals across all Government Agencies to continue the “greening” of Washington, DC and attract more “Millennial” workers to the federal workforce.
5. Increase the awareness of IT managers across the Federal Government that the public cloud CAN be leveraged securely to meet teleworking and COOP goals.