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Department of Defense Enlists Cloud Computing Services

Enterprise Cloud News

Ask not what your cloud can do for you, but what it can do for your country.

The Defense Department's IT infrastructure is on a mission of consolidation, standardization, security and access, the Defense Department's principal deputy CIO told attendees at a recent cloud computing panel discussion, according to an article on Defense.gov.

The department is reducing the number of data centers from about 1,500 to "a number far below that," Robert J. Carey said, and is implementing a coherent and consistent architecture across thousands of computing environments.

This process is taking place in part because of costs, but also because it makes sense when it comes to securing data within the network, Carey said.

In addition, DOD is shifting toward a cloud computing posture.

Cloud computing isn't without its risks, Carey added, but the department is moving the paradigm of security from the infrastructure to the data layer. This includes continuous monitoring and cryptography.

Concentrating on securing data, rather than an entire network, is "a big shift for a big engine like DOD," Carey said.

As the department implements the joint information environment and delivers a consistent computing architecture - which Carey noted the department does not yet have - security becomes the discriminating factor, he said. "The access, the cost - all those facets of the efficiency of cloud.

CIOs Stress Cloud Computing Is Truly a Priority
This time, CIOs say, they really mean it.

In a survey of 2,000 CIOs, a Gartner report found that the executives' top tech priorities for 2013 include cloud computing in general, as well as its specific types: Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service.

No surprise there, according to InfoWorld's David Linthicum, who said CIOs have been whistling this same tune for the last several years.

"Of course, every year since 2008 has been deemed the ‘year of the cloud.' Yes, small cloud projects exist and Amazon Web Services did not get to be a billion-dollar company due to a lack of interest. However, the adoption has been slow if steady," he writes.

Although cloud computing is still emerging, the value of at least putting together a plan and a few projects has been there for years. The business cases have always existed.

Despite those obvious needs, many CIOs have been secretly pushing back on cloud computing, Linthicum writes.

"If CIOs were honest in telling Gartner that the cloud is really a priority this time, they need to push forward with a sound cloud computing strategy and a few initial projects."

Congressional Commission to Look Closer at China Cloud Computing
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory group to Congress, is putting more scrutiny on national security threats posed to American businesses by Chinese cloud computing companies, according to an article on Nextgov.com.

The group, tasked by Congress to monitor the risks of trade with China, is commissioning a report on the ties of state enterprises to the Chinese cloud computing industry and potential espionage risks from cloud infrastructure in the country, according to government officials.

The commission is interested in "how information stored by Chinese cloud computing services might be susceptible to theft or exploitation, or how cloud computing infrastructure might be used to launch or enable cyber-attacks," according to a solicitation for proposals that closed earlier this month. The group is looking into how many people in the U.S. are using cloud infrastructure owned or operated by Chinese entities, as well as "Chinese-developed, owned or operated cloud infrastructure outside of China."

The report is likely to be available to Congress by the middle of the year, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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