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GSA explores cloud broker concept

The General Services Administration is examining new ways to acquire cloud computing services for federal agencies. Among the possibilities, according to a request for information the agency issued recently, is the concept of cloud brokers. GSA is asking industry for input on the potential of setting up independent organizations that would manage the use, performance and delivery of cloud services. They could also negotiate relationships between cloud providers and cloud consumers. GSA's planning an industry day on the cloud broker concept for August 2.

Tags: technology , GSA

Friday - 07/20/2012, 12:42pm EDT

DoD releases cloud computing strategy

The Defense Department has released its first strategy for cloud computing. The plan calls for a departmentwide cloud architecture, but it will be delivered by multiple cloud providers. The Defense Information Systems Agency will serve as DoD's cloud broker. It'll be in charge of continuing to develop DoD's private cloud, but coordinate the delivery of cloud services provided by commercial companies. DoD also plans to lean heavily on the new FedRAMP program, the federal government's new process for certifying that commercial cloud products are secure.

Tags: technology , DoD , FedRAMP

Friday - 07/13/2012, 12:23pm EDT

EPA wants to move mostly to the cloud by 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to move most of its IT enterprise to a cloud environment. The EPA's national computing center is in the process of building a secure hybrid cloud, and it's just awarded a three-year, $15 million contract to build hosting and virtualization services. The award was made under the General Services Administration's Infrastructure as a Service blanket purchase agreement. EPA wants to move 80 percent of its computing environment to the cloud by 2015.

Tags: EPA , technology , Environmental Protection Agency

Friday - 07/06/2012, 01:42pm EDT

DHS cites cloud gains

The Department of Homeland Security says it now has 12 separate cloud services available for use in federal agencies, and all but one of them have received full federal security certification. Examples include DHS's Sharepoint-as-a-service offering, which already supports about 30,000 users in a public cloud setting. And more than 11,000 people are using the department's email-as-a-service in the DHS private cloud. 70 percent of the department's websites have moved to the DHS public cloud, and 100 applications are using a shared, cloud based identity management system.

Tags: technology , DHS , Department of Homeland Security

Monday - 06/25/2012, 12:09pm EDT

FAA to move to cloud for email, collaboration

The Federal Aviation Administration has signed a deal to move 60,000 of its employees to the cloud. The contract will also support 20,000 workers at the Department of Transportation. The seven-year, $91 million agreement will migrate the FAA to a cloud system using Microsoft's Office 365 software as a service suite for email, collaboration, calendaring and other online productivity apps. For its implementation, FAA settled on a private cloud model. The Agriculture Department began moving its employees to the same Microsoft platform last year.

Tags: technology , FAA , DoT , Department of Agriculture

Friday - 06/15/2012, 01:01pm EDT

FedRAMP declares initial operating capability

A new program to start issuing governmentwide security certifications for cloud computing products is officially up and running. The agencies in charge of managing the FedRAMP program have declared initial operating capability. That means commercial cloud service providers will be able to start applying to have their products certified under FedRAMP, which is intended to let the government certify a solution once and use it multiple times across agencies. It will take another six to 12 months before the first cloud product is approved.

Tags: technology , GTSI

Thursday - 06/07/2012, 05:50pm EDT

NIST issues cloud computing guide

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is trying to demystify cloud computing for federal agencies. They've just published the final version of a document called Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations. In it, NIST aims to provide a plain-language breakdown of how clouds are deployed, what services they can offer, typical terms of service, and security issues. NIST says the publication is aimed at IT decision makers, designed to help them decide what cloud technologies and configurations will meet their needs.

Tags: technology , GTSI , NIST

Friday - 06/01/2012, 02:00pm EDT

USASpending moves to ‘big data cloud'

The General Services Administration is moving its huge database of federal spending information to a big data cloud. The USASpending.gov site will make the move to a platform that can take in federal contract award information from a variety of sources and perform data analytics. The system is based on the Apache Software Foundation's open source Hadoop platform. USASpending lets users search for federal spending information, both prime contracts and subawards, by using simple keyword searches.

Tags: GTSI , technology , GSA , USASpending.gov

Friday - 06/01/2012, 01:58pm EDT

Agencies can find more savings in cloud

A new report finds federal agencies can wring a lot more potential savings by implementing cloud computing. The study by the group Meritalk finds agencies are saving about 5 billiion dollars a year right now…but total potential savings could be as much as 12 billion dollars. A survey of more than 100 government IT managers found percieved security concerns are the biggest factor holding back cloud adoption. 85 percent of those surveyed cited security worries. The second biggest factor: agency culture, at 38 percent.

Tags: technology , GTSI

Wednesday - 05/23/2012, 08:25pm EDT

FedRAMP approves first 3rd Party Accreditation Organizations

A milestone on the federal government's path toward faster security approvals for cloud computing. Agencies that manage the FedRAMP program have named the first batch of third party assessment organizations that will put commercial cloud products through their paces, making sure those industry offerings comply with FedRAMP's baseline security controls. The program's designed to certify a cloud product once, then let agencies use it several times without having to perform their own security assessments from the ground up.

Tags: technology , GTSI

Tuesday - 05/22/2012, 11:34am EDT