New forum can help guide agencies on cloud

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was corrected Nov. 2, 2011, to include additional information about SafeGov.org's launch.

A new online forum dedicated to cloud computing best practices in the public sector was announced Nov. 1 by Karen Evans, a former top federal government official.

SafeGov.org, launched by 12 partner organizations, brings together leading IT providers and industry experts to help inform the debate among government agencies on cloud computing best practices in an effort to foster more secure and sensible cloud solutions in the public sector, SafeGov.org officials said.

"Government agencies are being tasked with making important and difficult decisions about switching over to a cloud-based solution, and SafeGov.org will provide them with a credible and comprehensive resource on best practices in order to minimize potential risks associated with the transition," Evans said. Evans was the administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology (IT) at the Office of Management and Budget during the administration of President George W. Bush.

Recent estimates from OMB underscore the considerable financial impact of cloud technology's implementation in the federal government. Of the $80 billion currently spent on federal IT, a fourth will likely be dedicated towards cloud-based solutions in budget planning for 2012, SafeGov.org officials said.

Officials with the Homeland Security, Treasury, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Transportation departments are among the many agency managers who think they could save over $2 billion each by moving some operations to the cloud.

"The opportunity to improve service and cost efficiency by switching to the cloud is real, but should not be taken lightly,” Evans said. “If government agencies fail to abide by the highest standards of safety and security when moving to the cloud, it could end up costing taxpayers even more than staying with legacy systems, and raise serious security and compliance issues,” Evans said.

Content featured on the SafeGov.org site is designed to provide government stakeholders with accurate and credible information, resulting in more well-informed decisions about the growing universe of cloud marketplace offerings.

Inaugural SafeGov.org contributors include Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretary and managing principal and co-founder of the Chertoff Group, and David Howe, CEO of Civitas Group.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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