GSA Launches Effort to Transition Federal Government to Cloud Computing

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has announced an important benchmark that will pave the way for agencies across the federal government to accelerate adoption of cloud computing. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP, will standardize security assessments of cloud products and services across the government to avoid duplication and to deliver significant savings. Today, the program will begin accepting security certification applications from private sector companies that provide cloud solutions.

Cloud computing saves the federal government money and provides flexible platforms that enable increased efficiency, agility, and innovation.

"GSA has a history of leading the government in IT innovation, going back to introducing the federal workforce to the Internet in the 1990s," said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini. "These programs continue that tradition -- delivering low-cost solutions to federal agencies, streamlining operations and reducing redundancy. We will continue to push aggressively to provide government-wide solutions for the next generation of enterprise IT and workforce mobility."

GSA is leading the way in helping the federal government transition to cloud services, which will in turn help agencies meet the goals set by the Obama Administration on cloud computing and reducing the numbers of federal data centers.

GSA's Accomplishments on the Cloud So Far:

1. First to Move Email to the Cloud:
Last year, GSA was the first federal agency to move to a cloud based email system, which has saved $2 million in costs so far. In addition, email system operating costs are expected to see additional 50 percent in savings with an estimated $15 million in savings over five years.

2. Working to Standardize Security of Cloud Services:
FedRAMP is an initiative to standardize security assessments of cloud products and services. By addressing one of the key barriers to cloud adoption, this program will accelerate adoption by federal agencies. It will allow agencies to share authorizations, saving time and money otherwise spent on duplicative security reviews.

Starting today, FedRAMP will accept applications from cloud service providers, beginning the process to get a government-wide provisional security authorization. More information, including application forms, points of contact, and assessment organizations can be found at www.fedramp.gov. FedRAMP reflects extensive collaboration within government and with industry, including partners such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Management and Budget.

3. Working on Blanket Purchase Agreements for the Federal Government:
Everything agencies need to move to the cloud is available right now through GSA. The products currently available from GSA include data storage, virtual machines, and web hosting. GSA is working to provide more cloud services to federal agencies, including email services.

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