Dec 10 2014

Are Cloud-First Policies Gaining Traction in Government?

Hawaii is the latest state to require that state agencies consider cloud computing for new and existing IT investments.

The cloud-first movement seems to be making headway, with states such as California and Hawaii having adopted policies that require their government agencies to first consider using a cloud computing model when launching a new IT project.

Hawaii’s cloud-first policy requires agencies to use the state’s governmentwide private cloud, when feasible, for all new IT projects and to house existing applications, according to an announcement released last week. Hawaii’s Government Private Cloud (GPC) provides all state entities with Infrastructure-as-a- Service offerings that meet statutory and policy requirements for state IT systems, including information security, privacy and federal compliance mandates.

Departments have until March 2015 to develop formal plans for using the GPC for existing and future IT applications. They must also coordinate with Hawaii’s Office of Information Management and Technology to document requirements for supporting their plans.

Hawaii is among the first states in the nation to implement a ‘cloud first’ policy for IT projects,” Gov. David Ige said in the news release. “Governments around the world are becoming more efficient and cutting costs by reducing duplication and pursuing consolidation of resources and processes through shared-service capability. This is core to Hawaii’s cloud computing and IT consolidation initiatives and will help our state conduct business in a more modern and efficient, business-like way.”

State officials expect that migrating to the GPC will improve disaster-recovery efforts, because applications will be stored in the cloud and less susceptible to on-site incidents created by natural or man-made disasters.

California’s policy mirrors federal efforts to speed the adoption of cloud services. The 2010 policy issued by then-federal CIO Vivek Kundra requires agencies to default to secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud-based solutions when evaluating options for new IT deployments. To initiate the shift to a Cloud First policy, federal agencies were instructed to move at least three services to the cloud within 18 months.

State officials expect California’s policy to accelerate the return on cloud investments and address information security and risk management, privacy, legal issues and other statutory requirements governing state IT systems.

Read the 14 tenets of California’s cloud first policy here.