Nextgov: Federal Agencies Invest More Each Year in Cloud as Benefits Outweigh Challenges

Conrad Bovell, the director of Information Systems Security at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that cloud services allow the agency “to be a lot more agile and responsive to the changing business and environmental needs of the organization.” Bovell cited the rocky rollout of the Healthcare.gov website in 2013 as an example of how cloud services can help streamline and optimize large pools of data—something particularly important to CMS, which serves more than 65 million people.

“There was a recognition that we have to do this a lot better, and that we need to be more agile and be able to spin up resources in order to support our business needs,” Bovell said. “So it was a hard lesson to learn, but we have taken it to heart and are using that to propel us into the cloud space.”…

“Like any large organization, change is difficult and getting staff up to speed and making training available and making people aware of the capabilities has probably been one of our harder challenges,” said David Catanoso, the director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office. “The technology almost seems like the easy part. It’s really the organizational change management and change in approach and thinking that’s been a bigger challenge.”

Federal IT experts at the summit discussed a variety of tools and services to help agencies better navigate the migration process, including using the CIO Council’s cloud migration playbook to help guide their efforts. And officials also highlighted the importance of GSA’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program in streamlining migration to the cloud. FedRAMP, created in 2011, offers a standard governmentwide approach to validating the security of cloud products sold to federal agencies, while also helping to streamline the migration of data to the cloud. FedRamp currently has 271 authorized cloud service products listed on its marketplace. Read the full article here.

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