The federal market has proven to be a promising opportunity for cloud technology vendors. Yet while the demand is there, cloud service providers will have to increase investments in marketing, product development, and other unique IT requirements that federal agencies demand before the orders will start rolling in.
For that reason, IT vendors like Amazon and Microsoft to name a few have allocated significant resources into their product mix and marketing efforts to specifically target federal agencies. Amazon is now set to provide cloud computing services that are commercially managed for the CIA. Amazonâs contract with the CIA is just one of many examples of vendors proactively pursuing the involvement of cloud providers in federal business.
Federal Cloud Expectations Require Enhancements
Government wide implementation of cloud services requires that the vendor be responsible for storage, networking, virtualization and servers. These broad based functions come at a hefty price, but for projects valued at over half a billion dollars, the reward outweighs the risk.
In addition to broad cloud functions, U.S. government agencies have a number of other distinct public cloud computing needs. Several federal agencies must have the ability to develop and deploy a mix of public, private, hybrid and on-premises cloud environments based on their respective security requirements. With recent offerings, Microsoft has positioned itself to meet government agency expectations while delivering the flexibility that is required to operate a platform of this nature.
Cloud First Policy
Cloud computing was identified as a feasible solution to help reduce the federal budget. Under the Cloud First Policy, federal agencies are required to have four cloud based solutions to help minimize potential risks, improve efficiency and minimize expenditures. The FCC is now working in conjunction with the Obama administration to improve satellite Internet services so that powerful cloud operating systems can work without interruption from one environment to the next.
There are many lessons that the government can learn from the private sector as far as the implementation of cloud technology is concerned. For one, federal agencies must recognize that the transition to cloud computing is a multi-year project. Agencies must use an unchanging identification process for cloud opportunities to minimize the risk of failed projects and develop appropriate metrics (operational, service and economic) that are immediately tied to the mission.
Major players like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and HP are investing heavily in their infrastructures to meet the needs of federal markets. In the years to come, government agencies that adopt cloud computing solutions will tap into unlimited new capabilities and execute current capabilities in a much more effective and efficient way.