Federal CIO Says Cloud Standards Needed For Government Adoption


The nation's top technology chief called for standards around security, interoperability and data portability before the U.S. government can fully embrace cloud computing.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, speaking Thursday at a Washington D.C. cloud computing workshop, said that for the cloud to truly take hold in the government the feds must develop standards to avoid inefficiencies and security holes.

"What's important today is the [development of standards] in the area of security, interoperability and data portability" to ensure information is protected; clouds and the computer applications they support can work together; and content can be moved within and among different clouds without jeopardizing access to or integrity of the data, Kundra said during a keynote speech at the Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Nextgov reported.

Kundra's plea for standards comes as more federal agencies eye cloud computing infrastructures. A recent survey conducted at FOSE by IT management vendor ScienceLogic found that one in three federal IT professionals have cloud computing initiatives planned for sometime this year, a huge increase over the 12 percent that were looking to the cloud last year.

Driving cloud adoption among federal agencies is the Obama administration's open embrace of cloud technologies and projects such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) cloud, the U.S. General Services Administration's apps.gov storefront for federally-approved cloud applications and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Pilot program (FedRAMP), which aims to aggregate cloud computing standards and ease agency certification processes.

"We want to be pragmatic, but aggressive," Kundra told the Washington crowd this week, noting that the government's consolidation of federal data centers and several other "game-changing approaches" will further fuel the move to the cloud.

Along with government projects, the NIST has also started the Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC) initiative that encourages federal agencies to develop standards, collaborate on cloud computing specifications and test standards. The NIST will also launch a publicly accessible Web portal that will host a repository of use cases, documented interfaces and test results around deployments. GCN.com reported that the portal will be available sometime before the end of this year.