If the federal government is going to complete its widespread migration to cloud-based technology without risking security, some standardization and ground rules are needed.
Recognizing this, the U.S. General Services Administration has issued a formal request for quotes from cloud vendors throughout the industry. The solicitation offers a total of $2.5 billion over five years in contracts for cloud-based email management, office automation and electronic records management, according to a Federal News Radio report that features a copy of the GSA’s request.
In all, the federal government expects to save approximately $1 million for every 750,000 users by migrating to the cloud, GSA administrator Marta Johnson said at last week’s TechAmerica’s CIO Survey conference.
The solicitation consists of a 96-page document with detailed parameters for vendors vying for the government contracts. The solicitation was carefully constructed with the help of industry experts to ensure the most secure and efficient terms are included in potential cloud contracts, Bill Lewis, director of cloud computing at the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said in a recent interview with Federal News Radio.
"We had strong interaction from agencies. In fact, for nine months, we had an interagency working group that helped us develop these requirements," Lewis said. "This is the consensus of what our customers felt needed to be in the solicitation."
Once the federal government secures these contracts, a set of standards for each cloud-based service may follow. This is essential to maintaining cloud computing security, as federal agencies are largely moving their IT resources to the cloud one service at a time, per the request of President Barack Obama and federal CIO Vivek Kundra.
Last year, Kundra and the Obama administration got serious about the federal government’s cloud endeavors, mandating that each agency move at least one IT service to the cloud by the end of 2011.