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Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson, Pat Romanski, Bob Gourley

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CAGW Publishes “2012 Federal Cloud Review”

Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) published its third report on cloud computing, “2012 Federal Cloud Review,” an update of the federal government’s activity on cloud computing. The report reviews federal information technology (IT) spending, obstacles to widespread cloud adoption, the General Services Administration’s (GSA) implementation of the federal risk and authorization management program (FedRAMP), cloud brokering and other new options for cloud purchasing and management, the stability and security of cloud services, and digital government strategy as it relates to cloud computing.

The use of cloud computing has been proven to increase efficiency and save money. In 2010, when the Obama administration proposed that federal agencies adopt a “cloud first” approach to IT procurement, the federal chief information officer projected $5 billion annually in savings. According to an April 2012 survey of federal civilian and defense personnel, $5.5 billion had been saved through cloud computing, although survey respondents stated that wider cloud adoption could have saved up to $12 billion. A September 2012 survey of federal IT managers found that they anticipated up to $16 billion in annual savings, which is equal to 21 percent of the $74 billion federal IT budget for fiscal year 2012.

However, in order to achieve the optimum amount of savings, several roadblocks to full cloud implementation and adoption must be overcome. A July 12, 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that there are still challenges in meeting federal security requirements, obtaining guidance on deployment, acquiring internal cloud knowledge and expertise, certifying and accrediting vendors, ensuring data portability and interoperability, overcoming cultural barriers, and procuring services on a consumption or on-demand basis.

One of the other challenges cited in the surveys and GAO reports as an obstacle to cloud adoption is the need for government agencies to meet the security requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act. However, FedRAMP, which is managed by GSA, is expected to streamline the security certification process of cloud computing purchases. GSA plans to have three cloud providers accredited under FedRAMP by the end of 2012.

“As cloud adoption by the federal government grows, greater efficiency and cost savings can be achieved, but the challenges to this transition must be addressed proactively. The ‘2012 Federal Cloud Review’ adds to an important discussion on the technological future of the federal government,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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