Fed Cloud Provider Play Against Amazon, Azure: Platform + Services

A North Carolina-based government cloud service provider has carved aniche for itself against larger players, such as Amazon and Microsoft.

Autonomic Resources provides a cloud service similar to Amazon Web Services. It's smaller in size from some of its competitors in terms of offerings in that it focuses on federal civilian and Department of Defense Customers.

However, Autonomic CEO John Keese is eyeing a move into the commercial space that could come as soon as next year depending on whether legislation on cybersecurity gets passed that would impact telcos, healthcare, finance and utility companies.

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"With the number of breaches in the commercial enterprises, it's become evident that [enterprises affected by the legislation] look for cloud service providers to have met the same type of security requirements that the federal government uses," Keese said. "We believe that if we entrée into the commercial space our differential against Rackspace or Amazon or Microsoft Azure is that we'll provide the same level of surety to commercial customers as our federal customers."

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Completing federal security assessments allows Autonomic to get the federal business it does.

The requirements for using a hosted or cloud app are stringent. FedRAMP is an accreditation program cloud service providers must meet in order to provide off-premise hosted or cloud applications to federal agencies.

The Department of Defense has its own set of additional security controls for which Autonomic said this week it completed the assessment for up to Level 5 on its Autonomic Resources Cloud Platform. Level 5 is the highest level offered to commercial providers.

But being able to offer Department of Defense level cloud security isn't Autonomic's only point of differentiation in the market.

Consulting work is a relatively new revenue stream -- accounting for about 20 percent of the company's overall revenue -- that began to tick up this year and could grow as more agencies push for their service providers to get accredited.

Autonomic also takes care of the security for customers with continuous monitoring and help with compliance.

Keese said he only sees business growing in the coming years with the movement to the cloud.

Roughly 40 percent of the company's business comes through resellers and system integrators and other channel partners and Keese said he could see that growing.

The company's in talks with two large government-focused resellers, one of which is Rockland, Md.-based education and IT services solutions provider GovConnection. That deal could be wrapped up as early as the end of this year, according to Keese.

The company is also set to release a product at the start of next year that's similar to Dropbox, called FedDROP for the federal marketplace. The simplicity of that product and a new cloud pricing model that makes it easier and faster to get quotes to customers are expected to help boost the amount of business coming in through the channel for Autonomic, Keese said.

"We'll have substantial growth [in 2015] because of the adoption of cloud, but it's really taking foot now and as we come through new budget years, we suspect it will only trend upwards in the double-digit areas."

PUBLISHED Nov.14, 2014