Can the Federal Government Save Some Money by Switching to the Cloud?

by Klaus on September 6, 2011

in Articles

The Federal government of the United States currently spends about $80 billion annually on the information technology that backs up its innumerable agencies and projects. When President Obama entered office more than two years ago, he created a new federal overseer position for the sole purpose of trying to streamline government communications technology. This new “federal chief information officer” would be tasked with finding a way to chip away at the looming costs of big government IT. It didn’t take long for Obama’s pick for the position, Vivek Kundra, to come up with a solution: get federal departments and agencies to embrace cloud computing.

It makes absolute sense to those of us that are outside looking inward. Instead of our tax dollars going towards a myriad of independent server systems and data management that even one single agency may have a dozen different instance of, the idea is to surrender these responsibilities to objective third-party cloud-providers. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others are all vying for the privilege to service Federal government cloud computing needs. Indeed, it’s already being implemented among agencies with low levels of confidential data. The Treasury Department’s entire website is managed through Amazon’s cloud. The State Department has even decided to utilize cloud technology for some simple services they provide to the American people.

Almost obvious, however, are the security concerns of top-level intelligence and defense sectors of the Federal government. Currently, most sections of the military, as well as the FBI, CIA, and NSA, are skeptical about cloud computing. The idea that their data is stored somewhere not where they control the containment and security is a little much. Considering the level of secrecy it takes to successfully manage day-to-day counter-terrorism investigations and other responsibilities of our defense and intelligence agencies, it’s clear that doubts would be cast upon the cloud.

Technologies market research company International Data Corporation has said that cloud computing is growing “five times as fast” as competing technologies industries, but the costs are significantly less. This has everything to do with the ultimate goals of cloud computing: less reliance on paid workers, less costs in maintaining multiple servers and data centers, and more freedom to access more data at faster rates. It’s an incredibly cost effective service that former federal chief information officer Kundra estimated could save American taxpayers nearly $3 billion every year.

In the meantime, the Pentagon, as well as other gears of the government with highly classified research, programs, and data, continue to try and accomplish the call to the cloud without compromising their security. So be it, and, in fact, this all seems to be very familiar; it was the U.S. Government and specifically military research that enabled the Internet to become a reality in the first place.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

RonLeyba September 7, 2011 at 08:04

I hope cloud computing can do good at all people, not only for the rich and well known, but also for all people at all walks of life.
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Alan Tay September 7, 2011 at 08:06

It can be seen that cloud computing is going to be the future. The big thing here is, government to use cloud might take some time to achieve. However smaller organizations such as antivirus company are making use of the cloud combined with the antivirus software to reduce the processing on the computer that uses the antivirus. Federal government sure can save money with cloud computing but it need to take some time to achieve that.
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Alecia September 7, 2011 at 18:16

i do really like the idea that their data is stored somewhere not where they control the containment and security is a little much. Considering the level of secrecy it takes to successfully manage day-to-day counter-terrorism investigations and other responsibilities of our defense and intelligence agencies, it’s clear that doubts would be cast upon the cloud.

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Jakk @ Technology Blogged September 8, 2011 at 22:39

It could probably save some money, but is it more secure? That’s the real question for me.

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Vernon September 9, 2011 at 07:02

Thanks for the attachment about Cloud computing. Know I understand more about the content.
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Anja September 13, 2011 at 12:36

Thanks for sharing the info about cloud computing. Now I have a better understanding about this subject.
I’m looking forward to see that the Government is working on to lower their spending money with the use of cloud computing. I believe so too that will be the future, though it may take some time.

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James K September 15, 2011 at 10:22

Can’t the government just create their own cloud servers? Can’t see them using Amazon or whatever for security purposes.

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topnews October 13, 2011 at 16:43

Federal government spends quite a lot of money. true

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