DHS outlines future cloud computing moves

Tuesday - 10/19/2010, 6:18pm EDT

The Department of Homeland Security is hopping on the cloud - for its public websites.

Department of Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Richard Spires says the agency is planning to get a public cloud provider to host its public-facing websites. Spires made the announcement earlier this month at an event in McLean.

The agency is also working to set up a new development and test environment on virtualized servers. Spires revealed the agency is developing their private cloud strategy, and working to consolidate 24 data centers into two locations that will be under private management.

The goal is to have the centers - which will be located in Mississippi and southern Virginia - to be in place by 2014.

Spires' October announcement wasn't the only cloud-computing related news from DHS.

In September, Spires announced the agency had signed a contract to provide email-as-a-service through a private cloud platform. DHS officials - like officials at other government agencies - are hesitant to move their applications to public cloud providers because of privacy and security concerns.

The agency is also working the government's Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, which certifies and accredits cloud computing services, to determine potential appropriate providers.