Cloud Computing: Good Enough for Government?
Cloud computing will save the U.S. government quite a bit of money and improve its efficiency, no doubt, but until government officials are convinced of its security, the migration to this new computing paradigm is likely to be a slow one. As the delayed deployment of the Los Angeles police department’s new Google (GOOG) email system illustrates, the threat of unknown security risks far outweighs the 25 to 50 percent savings in IT costs that the Brookings Institution claims U.S. agencies can save by moving to cloud computing.
So Google’s announcement Monday that its Apps for Government cloud-based productivity suite had gained certification under the Federal Information Security Management Act was quite a win for the company. In theory, that seal of approval will instill in government a modicum of confidence in the security and reliability of the cloud-computing model.
“I think there is a government question, which is: ‘I want to know where my data is and I want to have some say over that,'” Dave Girourard, Google president of enterprise, said Monday. “That’s a fair and reasonable request and we’re trying to accommodate that in the cloud computing model, which operates at a fairly massive scale. There’s a fundamental trust question about turning over data to a third party. Some people are very comfortable with it. Others find it intrinsically scary. So this is a step…towards bringing credibility to the cloud. We view trust as the ultimate hurdle for cloud computing and we want to be the first to overcome it.”