Before leaving office this month, federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra laid out the administration’s “Cloud First” policy, which requires agencies to give priority to cloud computing services as opposed to buying hardware and software.
State and local government are also moving forward with cloud computing, but Kundra’s vision is the “creation of a global cloud first policy that forces nations to work together” on issues concerning cloud and whether cloud data should be shared between nations, Kundra said in a Tuesday New York Times op-ed piece. If cloud data can be shared, what restrictions should be in place?
In Japan, the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry expects the country’s cloud computing market will reach $20.1 billion by 2015, said Kundra, adding that the United States can’t afford to be left behind. That number is projected to reach $3 billion in India over the same time period and create 100,000 jobs.
“Public and private organizations that preserve the status quo of wasteful spending will be punished, while those that embrace the cloud will be rewarded with substantial savings and 21st-century jobs,” he said.
Within the federal government, there are mixed feelings about cloud computing. The General Services Administration was the first agency to move its email to the cloud, and GSA expects to cut costs by 50 percent over five years. “But other agencies have balked,” Kundra said, using the State Department as an example. The department is concerned about potential security risks because the data is stored off site by a contractor.
Kundra said organizations that don’t adopt cloud computing are at greater risk because employees will find a way to use services like Dropbox and Gmail that they are accustomed to. This creates an “IT shadow” that could cause greater vulnerabilities than a “properly overseen cloud computing system.”