cloud approval

CBP plans cloud management contract

To help manage Customs and Border Protection's expanding use of commercial cloud services across its operations, CBP plans to issue a cloud management and integration contract solicitation, according to one of its top technology managers.

The cloud governance contract will help the agency get a better handle on proliferating bills and hard-to-track costs for cloud services, as well as a more efficient way to use its stable of commercial cloud service providers, Edward Mays, executive director, Enterprise Data Management and Engineering Directorate at CBP's Office of Information Technology, said during an Aug. 13 ACT-IAC cloud management webcast.

The Enterprise Cloud and Integration Service (ECIS) contract would assign an integrator to help CBP acquire and access multiple cloud service providers, infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service offerings.

The solicitation will be out in the first quarter, or early in the second quarter of 2021, Mays said CBP issued a request for information on ECIS this past spring.

According to the proposal, the agency uses all of the major CSPs, from Amazon Web Services to Oracle Cloud, as well as cloud platforms such as Salesforce and cloud enterprise services such as Office 365 and Zoom.

All those offerings, said Mays, offer greater efficiencies and capabilities for CBP's operations that span critical border security, travel and trade applications. As CBP continues to move its applications from its data centers to commercial cloud environments, Mays said one of the biggest headaches is keeping track of cloud provider bills across the agency's sprawling operations. Commercial cloud technology's consumption-based pricing, he said, has required an adjustment from its old enterprise cost-based approach with data centers.

Along with the ECIS contract's potential to help track costs, Mays said CBP also has a proof-of-concept underway that will help read and analyze cloud bills from multiple cloud providers and translate them into understandable billing within the CBP enterprise. The effort, he said, could tap artificial intelligence and robotics process automation to tackle some tasks.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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