Annually companies and governments spend considerable amounts of money on developing and maintaining their IT departments. A large part of that on a secure PCI Compliant Web Host The U.S. government alone spends annually 80 billion $. That is a staggering amount taking into consideration that more than half of the world’s countries have their GDP equal or smaller to that sum. As a result, many experts and officials have tried to find ways to cut that figure so that the money spent could be used to fund other projects. One of the most promising solutions to save money on the IT is Cloud Computing. Although it isn’t a new concept (it’s been around since the 1960s), it is only since the last couple of years that we had the technology to implement it and use it on a large scale. As to all new concepts, there are also some risks and vulnerabilities which need to be addressed and fixed before it will become a world wide solution. Even so, companies can already access this service and there are some steps being taken in order to shift the cloud computing trend to governments as well.
The Obama administration has established new security standards to increase the level of security. Vendors who sell cloud services will have to meet these standards if they wish to continue their work. The New Federal Standards are actually the second step in governments race to modernize its IT infrastructure while at the same time cut costs. In 2010, the GSA and Federal Chief Information Officers Council on the requirements for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program announced that there would be new cloud standards known as the 25-point federal IT reform plan, which were meant to secure the access of the government to cloud computing services and products. Fast forward to today and we have the second step of that plan which is meant to further increase the security levels. The policy’s main goal is to cut costs and for this to happen, the Obama administration imposed that every federal agency will have to develop and implement one cloud-based solution by December 2011 and three cloud-based solutions by June 2012. To this effort there have been shown signs of progress, CIO Kundra said that CIOs from 15 agencies have already informed the Office of Management and Budget that they will evolve to cloud-based email solutions by the December 2011 deadline.
It is obvious by now that cloud computing will become “an integral part of the government’s DNA,” said VanRoekel, federal CIO. The government has been and is working in partnership with several agencies, state and local governments, industry and non-governmental organizations and academia in order to increase trust and credibility between state agencies and between state agencies and the private sector.
The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program will be the body that will control the implementation of the new federal standards regarding cloud computing. FedRAMP is estimated that it will cut IT costs by 30%-40% and taking into account that U.S. spends annually 80 billion $, the savings are hard to go unnoticed. The FedRamp is the result of the collaboration between many different agencies, including the General Services Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defenses, as well as experts from the private sector. Some voices claim that the system is a long way from becoming operational but VanRoekel claims that FedRAMP will reach initial operational capacity by the third quarter of 2012.
There is still much debate whether the cloud computing system will be able to offer the same security level, same operational capacity as the old one but one thing is for certain, cloud computing will allow governments and companies across the world save significant amounts of money by cutting costs from the IT budget. Officials and pro cloud militants hope that in the future cloud computing will be able to not only cut costs but also increase the efficiency and the utility rate. However, cloud computing means more than cutting costs, it also represents a new dawn in the IT world, people will no longer invest in IT as a capital expenditure but rather as an IT service.
Along with Obama’s single online id and the trend to move from conventional storage systems to cloud computing it seems as if the government is trying to take over the internet in a very subtle manner. It may sound as a conspiracy theory but there have already been cases where private information from blogs and various social websites have been used to manipulate certain situations.