Cloud Computing by Government Agencies: Meeting Business and Security Challenges in the Cloud
The United States federal government has the largest annual IT budget of any organization, almost $80 billion in 2010 alone. To save money and improve services, the government is beginning to adopt a cloud first approach towards procuring new and replacement systems. The business cases and technical benefits for moving into the cloud are the same for the government as they are for other firms, only the savings and challenges are much bigger. Government agencies have two special challenges: procurement and security. This article briefly describes the procurement challenges and then jumps into advising government cloud service purchasers on the positives and negatives of security in the cloud, and how to manage their potential vendors' security risks. The security threats are covered from the government's point of view, but smart cloud vendors will take it as a preview of what questions the government might ask them and prepare accordingly.