Federal websites resilient against storm...so far

Tuesday - 10/30/2012, 5:44am EDT

The servers running the federal government's portal, USA.gov, are feeling little effect by Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy as it's pounding the East Coast.

A General Services Administration spokeswoman said both USA.gov and GobineroUSA started providing information on Sandy on Oct. 26.

"Our websites are hosted on a geographically dispersed, self-healing cloud infrastructure and have not been impacted by the storm," the spokeswoman said. "Over the last seven days, site visits have increased 13 percent, though it's too early to tell if this is directly related to weather incidents. As the storm moves on and we move into recovery mode, we will promote recovery resources."

The search engine behind USA.gov is used by most other federal websites, especially those providing information about the storm to citizens, state and local governments.

The two main sites run by GSA, USA.gov and GobinernoUSA, are providing a host of storm-related information:

  • Promoting preparedness resources on FEMA's Ready.gov site

  • Urging people to listen to their local officials and pointing them to state and local emergency management agencies,

  • Promoting the National Hurricane Center and its mobile website to help people stay informed about the track of the storm

  • Pointing to the American Red Cross shelter app for people to find open Red Cross shelters and the safe and well registry

  • Encouraging people to follow FEMA via their social media channels

GSA awarded CGI a five-year, $20.7 million task order in January to host several sites, including USA.gov, in the cloud under the infrastructure-as-a-service contract.

Along with GSA, the Homeland Security Department and several other agencies have moved their public websites to the cloud. DHS also awarded CGI a contract in September 2011 that is worth $1.8 million over three years to host several sites, including FEMA.gov.

RELATED STORIES:

GSA hires CGI to take Data.gov, USA.gov, others to the cloud

DHS picks CGI to provide cloud Web services