Federal cloud computing eyeballed on Capitol Hill

From “House panel gets cloud computing lowdown” by Max Cacas on FederalNewsRadio.com:

“Federal agencies are under the gun to develop strategies for moving many of their IT functions into the cloud.

“Rep. Edolphus Towns (D.-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, recognizes that moving the federal government to cloud computing may take as long as a decade and says his job is to see to it that risks and benefits are thoroughly weighed and balanced.

“Towns acknowledges that in the long run, the government could also save money by using cloud computing. But the ranking Republican on the panel, Darrell Issa of California, says he doesn’t believe cost savings will be the only factor in moving federal government IT into the cloud.

“White House Federal CIO Vivek Kundra came to offer an update on the effort to move federal agencies into the cloud, offering a somewhat dramatic graphic to underscore the urgency and the need for the change.

“The Government Accountability Office released a study at yesterday’s hearing that, on the one hand, talked up the potential benefits of cloud computing, but warned that a viable game plan for its implementation is still needed.

“Kundra says federal agencies face an end-of-year deadline to map out their strategies for migrating their computing needs to the cloud.

“One of the challenges of developing that guidance on cloud computing is trying to meet the individual, and sometimes differing, security needs of the agencies. To that end, Dave McClure, Associate Administrator in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration talked about an inter-agency effort to develop a common set of security standards.

“Some of companies who will very likely be competing for contracts to provide cloud computing services to the federal government, such as Microsoft, Google, EMC Federal, and Salesforce.com, also testified at yesterday’s first oversight hearing into cloud computing by the House Oversight Committee.”

I played highlights of the first panel of the hearing, featuring government leaders discussing the state of cloud computing in government.

Click here to learn more about the hearing, see the witness list, and read witness testimony

Click here to view Vivek Kundra’s slide presentation (Powerpoint required)

Video of the hearing: