by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
FCW : November and December 2014
The global cloud computing mar- ket is experiencing tremendous growth and is expected to reach $121 billion by 2015. However, cloud adoption in government remains sluggish, despite the Office of Management and Budget’s guid- ance to consider cloud as the first choice whenever there is a secure, reliable and cost-effective option. According to a recent report from the Government Accountabil- ity Office, the average amount of IT budgets dedicated to cloud has increased from 1 percent in 2012 to 2 percent in 2014, representing approximately $529 million in IT spending. It is generally accepted that transitioning to the cloud is a critical step toward enabling innova- tion and effectively using limited IT funding. So what is keeping the government from making the leap to more cloud-based infrastructures? Security stands out as one of the most significant barriers to cloud adoption, although funding issues, acquisition processes and infra- structure requirements also serve as top challenges, according to the GAO report. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), launched two years ago, was designed to address secu- rity and acquisition challenges, but the program has faced a series of challenges and delays. Despite agencies’ official dead- line of June 5 to exclusively use FedRAMP-approved cloud ven- dors, to date only 12 cloud service providers have received provisional authority to operate from the Joint Authorization Board. Coupled with uneven agency authorization efforts and a limited number of third-party assessment organizations, many potential CSPs are stuck in an approval backlog. At the same time, the FedRAMP Program Management Office has issued updates that require new vendors to offer continuous moni- toring and give existing vendors one year to implement new baselines that mirror those in the National Institute of Standards and Technol- ogy’s Special Publication 800-53 Revision 4. Although continuous monitoring is an important con- sideration for cloud security, such ongoing changes further complicate the approval process. In any IT environment, there are ample risks for data loss. In the cloud, physical barriers are blurred, amplifying potential vulnerabilities and making security standardization critical. Therefore, FedRAMP plays a crucial role in establishing a com- mon set of security baselines and standards, which will position agen- cies and contractors to operate in a more cohesive manner and respond quickly to a security incident. As continuous monitoring capa- bilities are woven into FedRAMP, compliant CSPs will be better able to take advantage of the innovation opportunities offered by the cloud without jeopardizing the security of agencies’ sensitive assets. Basic projects, such as email migration, have already proven they can provide cost savings. Forward- thinking agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmo- spheric Administration, have also migrated other services, such as unified messaging. As those in the government find their groove in using the cloud and as the pool of FedRAMP-approved CSPs grows, agencies will realize an expanding opportunity to take advantage of emerging technology drivers such as mobility and big data. Despite the challenges the pro- gram has faced, FedRAMP has made a real impact on govern- ment and has helped agencies go beyond the original opportunities for cloud adoption. For instance, NASA and the Army are considering FedRAMP-approved cloud-based infrastructures, and the government is exploring the use of a similar approval model for other aspects of federal IT, such as apps. FedRAMP and other security standards will continue to enable the government to move toward a future in which benefits are defined by a cloud-based IT environment. ■ The future of FedRAMP Despite delays, the program is at a critical point for determining the ultimate impact of cloud technology in the government space FedRAMP has helped agencies go beyond the original opportunities for cloud adoption. Commentary | SUE PALERMO AND MICHAEL SMITH SUE PALERMO is senior vice president of emerging programs and services and MICHAEL SMITH is deputy chief security officer at Creative Computing Solutions Inc. 12 November/December 2014 FCW.COM