A special edition of GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER today. We're LIVE! It's the ninth time we’ve met and we are doing this at least once each month this year. The idea is simple: get smart people together and share ideas because we believe that the real power of information comes when it is shared.
We certainly understand that these are exceedingly complex times for government -- to be a public servant.
The shutdown, the debt ceiling, the sequester - all these issues are really sucking up all the oxygen in the room. And rightfully so. But we’ve also been working to keep you aware of how to survive -- maybe even thrive a bit -- during these difficult times.
That's why for the ninth edition of DorobekINSIDER Live we’re going to look at cloud computing. Two years ago, cloud computing was the biggest buzzword in government. Agencies were considering moving infrastructure and core services to the cloud. But security concerns persisted. Now two years later most agencies have only moved basic low-risk services such as email to the cloud. But not much else.
The DorobekINSIDER and his panel of experts will talk about the current state of cloud computing in government and where it is going?
The DorobekINSIDER's expert panel:
- Jim Sweeney, author of the book Get Your Head in the Cloud: Unlocking the Mystery for Public Sector and President and CTO of V3 Systems.
- Kevin Jackson, vice president and general manager of cloud services, at NJVC and the founder of the Cloud Musings and the founder and editor of Government Cloud Computing on Ulitzer. He is the author of GovCloud: Cloud Computing for the Business of Government.
- Patrick Fiorenza, Senior Research Analyst, GovLoop. He is writing the GovLoop Guide on cloud computing.
Why Does Cloud Matter?
Sweeney: I've read so many cases studies that feature government at all levels using cloud to improve their efficiency and speed. Take the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board for example. Cloud is important because it shows the shift from products to services.
Jackson: What is really different about cloud computing is it changes the way we deal with IT. Cloud is:
- Agile: the cloud should be reevaluated and changed every day, week, month or year. It is not a static product.
- Efficient: the cloud is efficient because you can apply parallel processes.
- Global: by nature cloud is a global enterprise.
"Cloud computing is a new business model. It is driving the cultural change in government to a service management mindset," said Jackson. "CIOs have to not only have the technical capabilities but they also have to know how to manage financial disclosures in the cloud, know how to change to a new provider and re-deploy data to the cloud. Federal CIOs Vivek Kundra and Steven VanRoekel with their Cloud First and Share First policies are really driving the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in the cloud. It is not about if agencies will go to the cloud, but how."
Do more with less with cloud?
Sweeney: Do more with nothing is more like it. The do more with less saying has been the mantra for IT shops for a long time. But by using cloud IT departments don't have to reinvent the wheel each time. So it saves time and money.
Jackson: I think although time and money are huge factors the other big development with cloud was seeing how it impacts the mission. How by using cloud services agencies could show increased deliverables on mission. The issue comes in the form of procurement. How do you change the policies on IT contracts? This is all new and the policies need to be changed and modified. Cloud procurement is a 180 degree shift from the waterfall acquisition approach.
Sweeney: New providers are coming into the market and taking major contracts away from traditional providers. The question is now, how can we become more rapid while still be secure? Agencies that are using cloud to build-up that security are the real winners.
Changing role of the CIO?
Sweeney: If CIOs don't evolve and embrace cloud technologies their employees will go around them. Take the Dropbox example. Dropbox is technically verboten at agencies, but all the employees use it. They want to be able to access documents anywhere on any device. People say if IT won't provide me with a solution I will go around you. That is dangerous for an organization.
Jackson: This phenomenon is called shadow IT. People have a real desire to solve problems and if policies are too slow, they find alternative ways to get it done.
For how our guests predict that future of Cloud Computing - click here.
- NIST’s cloud computing definition
- White House cloud computing strategy
- CIO Council: Best practices for acquiring IT as a service