2010 and Beyond: Cloud computing to be 'game-changer'

Wednesday - 12/22/2010, 3:31pm EST

Ed Meagher, former deputy CIO, Interior and VA

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The DorobekINSIDER continues its look back at the top stories of 2010 and how they will impact next year, as part of the series '2010 and Beyond."

This year's top government technology story was cloud computing, said Ed Meagher, former deputy CIO at the Interior Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs and currently vice president of healthcare strategy at CSC.

Several agencies -- including GSA, USDA and Treasury -- have put their email service or website in the cloud.

Meagher said cloud computing is becoming not only associated with data center consolidation but with government IT on a whole. Especially in the age of austerity, the cloud can offer cost-savings, he said.

"People have heard cloud computing for years, and now all of a sudden this is money," Meagher said.

He added, "It's a big game-changer."

As more move to the cloud, agencies will have to "get serious" about security, he said.

"Up until now, we've been putting patches on Bandaids on patches," Meagher said.

Meagher also commented on the changing role of CIOs.

Earlier this month, the Office of Management and Budget released a list of IT reforms. Among the changes is a shift in CIOs to focus more on execution and less on policy.

Meagher said CIOs need to "be at the table" with the decisionmakers.

"If OMB wants to use the CIO as the channel for these kinds of really dramatic, momentous changes, you have to make sure the CIO is being listened to," Meagher said. "If they're three levels down reporting to an assistant secretary , they get a chunk of that person's time and nothing else."

Click here to see all the stories in the '2010 and Beyond' series.

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