CIOs risk recreating data silos in the cloud

If agency CIOs adopt cloud computing technologies in a haphazard way, they run the risk of recreating data silos in the cloud, said a Health and Human Services Department official Aug. 23, while speaking at a MeriTalk event in Washington, D.C.

"The danger of the cloud is that it could just move our stovepipes to a more accessible environment," said HHS Chief Information Officer John Teeter.

For HHS, the cost savings offered by the cloud will come from identifying common tasks and drivers across the department--services that more than one office and agency can use, said Teeter. For example, many HHS programs are required to verify an individual's income. Teeter said they are looking to build that capability once and make it available for broad use across HHS domains.

"In order to realize the cost savings of cloud I think creates a lot of problems for CIOs," said Fred Whiteside, cloud computing project manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Collaborative environments are where many of these efficiencies can be found, he added.

"If we have a situation where we have a thousand instances of the cloud created, then we have a management issue," said Teeter, whose department comprises 12 major components. Standing up interrelated sets of shared services requires a culture change, he said. "People don't think in these terms easily."

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