In case anyone remains skeptical about the US government’s commitment to cloud computing, the unveiling last week of a draft roadmap for future cloud-related efforts should lay those doubts to rest. The roadmap effort, which reflects input from experts in government and industry, is no mere bureaucratic exercise. It shows how the Obama Administration’s vision for a “cloud-first” IT policy is being turned into operational reality.
In Volume I of the roadmap, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has outlined the biggest questions still lingering around the standards for security, interoperability and portability, among other issues. As NIST sees it, these questions must be answered to pave the way for a speedier adoption of cloud solutions by the federal government and others. What’s more — in an even more telling indication of how the federal government is prioritizing cloud adoption — NIST also released a how-to manual for agencies to use in identifying and purchasing cloud solutions to fulfill their IT needs. These documents represent several months’ work under NIST’s leadership and will eventually make up a three-volume US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap.
This is important first and foremost because it will allow government to capture the efficiency gains and budget savings that the cloud promises. But NIST’s efforts also position the United States to be a leader in cloud policy in much the same way that US businesses are the leaders in the cloud economy. This effort — and the leadership that the US government can continue to provide — has the potential to help set the tone for cloud adoption and policy-making by governments around the world.
For months, BSA and its member companies have been working with NIST to refine several cloud-related standards efforts. Looking ahead, NIST has asked industry representatives and other interested parties to comment on the first two volumes of the cloud roadmap. BSA and its member companies plan to review the documents carefully and contribute ideas. We look forward to further engaging NIST on this important project, and we credit NIST’s leadership for affirming the US government’s commitment to cloud computing.