Managing Director, Greer Institute
This year has brought big news, significant changes and increased awareness of the adoption of cloud computing in Government. In fact Cloud computing may be the biggest and most overhyped term in Government information technology today. It is also the most discussed topic in agency strategy, cyber security forums and mission / program reviews. While lots of conversation has been devoted to technology and the benefits that government customers can derive from Cloud, in the end the biggest challenge may be the acquisition of cloud services. Cloud computing presents a different set of acquisition challenges to the federal government and this shift requires a rethinking the agency acquisition process. Smart purchasing decisions require an understanding of security requirements, service models and service level agreements.
Clearly adherence to the Federal Risk Authorization and Risk Management (FedRAMP) cloud security requirements are central to acquisition of cloud services. This includes issues like data location and jurisdiction, privacy, and eDiscovery, as they are very important in a service-based environment.
An enhanced view of cloud acquisition involves the mapping of the right acquisition strategy with the right cloud deployment model. The dominant cloud deployment model in Government is the hybrid cloud model. Given that agencies will not likely limit themselves to one cloud deployment but will rather incorporate different and overlapping cloud services the acquisition strategy for the hybrid model will need to provide the flexibility necessary to map to the varying deployment models.
By focusing on a customized acquisition strategy in contracting for cloud services, agencies can reduce the risk of vendor lock-in, improve portability, and encourage competition. With these goals in mind, agencies will want to establish explicit Service Level Agreement (SLA) information for security, continuity of operations, and service quality and the impact on the cloud service provider of not meeting SLA metrics.
By developing a cloud acquisition strategy that comprehends security requirements, service models and service level agreement metrics, agencies can acquire the benefits of cloud adoption required to meet their mission needs. Learn more about the acquisition of Cloud in the ViON eBook, “The Business of Cloud”
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