Can the Gov’t Avoid Gaffes in the Cloud?
It's no surprise that programs that shape our government on all levels of jurisdiction are rapidly and eagerly enlisting into the cloud computing fray. Finally, several of cloud's noteworthy assets — scalable and streamlined storage and infrastructure, and services purchasable a la carte, for example — have started to beguile departments and bureaucracies frazzled by tightening budgets and increased demand for high-quality service to constituents. But governmental involvement frequently means thwarting several of risks in cloud that could hamper the experience. How can government companies enter cloud without fear of making major errors there?
Cloud computing's usefulness for the layman user typically comes in the forms of e-mail and basic data storage. Yet exchanging messages about your cat's vaccination records and storing pics of that Wimbledon tennis party you attended are important but relatively inane documents to protect, especially when compared to the ultra-sensitive data that fuels and nurtures serious governmental operations. Our nation's economy and border-to-border safety in part hinge upon the material of such documents, and thus protecting them perfectly is paramount. Any gaffe-averse government program looking to enter cloud is therefore highly advised to consider a customized private cloud, where the cloud itself could manage issues like e-mail yet allow for more info-sensitive material to be handled strictly in house.
One of the fundamental and reliable tenets of cloud computing as a tool of progressive technology is that every document handled in the cloud must maintain its original quality and condition, no matter how many times that document may enter and exit the cloud itself. This principle of quality integrity holds doubly true for governmental organizations, for whom even the smallest error in a document could spur damaging repercussions. Government organizations MUST ensure that their cloud provider upholds data integrity at the outset. And any type of cloud (public, private, or a mélange of the two) must also reverence important integrity and quality-retention guidelines, especially those stipulated by the Government Records Act.
Essentially, government clients interested in cloud must exercise more vigilance than private parties. Cloud gaffes are best avoided with this additional meticulousness shown from the get-go. Not every cloud provider will demonstrate the scope of resources and support required of an sensitive-data organization. Focusing on a serious determination of just how sensitive the data involved is from the beginning can shape a cloud computing experience that's more fruitful and protected.
By Jeff Norman