Secure cloud service: If you build it, you have to sell it.

The success of California’s cloud-based Secure File Transfer service depends on convincing state agencies, cities, counties and other government entities to sign up as customers rather than build their own systems.

The state data center that houses the private cloud offering receives no money from the general fund and depends on charge-back fees for the services it provides for its customers, said Kevin Paddock, who manages Secure File Transfer for the Office of Technology Services.

“From our perspective, it’s a pretty easy sale,” Paddock said. His office’s service can provide the security and management capabilities agencies need without the expense of building or maintaining infrastructure and software. 

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“Once you have the secure platform and the end-to-end security, you can move files anywhere,” he said. “I’m convinced that no other department, board or commission needs to purchase a system” on their own.

But that does not mean that now that it’s built, they are coming. There still are a lot of siloed transfer systems throughout the state, and consolidating them all probably would be a “herculean task,” Paddock said.

“There is resistance for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Many customers are reluctant; they think they are being shoehorned into a compromise solution. To convince them, we have to market the product like a company would.”

That means going to conferences, holding forums, publishing information and making sales calls. Since launching the current version of the service in 2008, the OTS has signed on 35 state agencies and one county as customers.

“So far, I have not encountered a use case that we could not meet,” Paddock said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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