Bootstrapping Government’s ‘Cloud First’ Strategy with FedRAMP

By | October 9, 2014

Cloud computing infiltrated the enterprise via public infrastructure and software services like AWS and Salesforce, but as I wrote in another report, “Hybrid clouds are the future of enterprise computing.” Sure, IT faces many hurdles when implementing a flexible architecture supporting both public and private cloud services, but there’s plenty of data to back up the assertion:

Source: cio.gov

Source: cio.gov

  • Of the 47% of respondents to the InformationWeek Hybrid Cloud Survey using, piloting or developing private clouds, the majority are building hybrid public/private systems.
  • Influential IT vendors like VMware, with vCloud Air, and Hewlett-Packard, which recently acquired Eucalyptus to improve integration between its OpenStack private cloud offering and Amazon Web Services, are making big investments in hybrid technology.
  • Industry analysts like Gartner and IDC predict that hybrid clouds will soon be deployed in the majority of enterprises, running a growing share of enterprise workloads.
FedRAMP-concept

Conceptual diagram: FedRAMP connects agencies with cloud providers Source: cio.gov

Yet the federal government — yes the same bloated bureaucracy that gives you the IRS and TSA — is arguably ahead of most commercial organizations even though most of the survey data, analyst research, and market buzz is focused on enterprises. In this report, I argue that government agencies face the same demands — for more capacity, more applications for mobile devices and remote users, and faster service deployments — all while living with stagnant budgets. My take is that agencies should be just as aggressive as their commercial counterparts in moving to cloud. Granted, government IT pros face some unique regulatory hurdles, procurement requirements, and IT processes. But these shouldn’t impede adoption thanks to initiatives, such as Cloud First, the cloud.cio.gov site, and FedRAMP, that are designed to simplify cloud use by government agencies.

Source: InformationWeek Reports

Source: InformationWeek Reports

The full report is full of survey-backed analysis, an overview of various government cloud resources and recommendations for agency CIOs. Who knows, maybe enterprise IT execs can even learn a few tricks from Uncle Sam?