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FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Cloud Shoot-Out & CyberSecurity Summit, May 2, 2012, at The Newseum in Washington, D.C.

FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Cloud Shoot-Out & CyberSecurity Summit, May 2, 2012, at The Newseum in Washington, D.C.

There’s a dirty secret among cloud computing vendors that decreasing federal budgets may, in fact, be good for business.

It seems counterintuitive, but as budgets continue to shrink, federal agencies will look harder for ways to find efficiencies. With cloud computing technologies seen right now as one of the top solutions for just that, it could push government towards those solutions perhaps faster than they originally wanted.

That argument came from Susie Adams, chief technology officer for Microsoft’s Public Sector and one of the panelists taking part at FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Cloud Computing Shootout and Cyber Security Summit on Wednesday at the Newseum. The event aimed to bring cloud computing leaders together to discuss the various topics surrounding the government’s implementation of cloud computing.

Joining Adams on the panel was HP U.S. Public Sector Chief Technologist Tom Houston, Amazon Web Services Chief Solutions Architect Mark Ryland, General Dynamics Information Technology Chief Enterprise Engineer Cameron Chehreh and Red Hat Public Sector Chief Technology Officer Gunnar Hellekson. Dave McClure, Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration, moderated the panel.

Highlights from the hour-long discussion:

  • Hellekson said the White House’s Shared First and Cloud First policies are incredibly complementary as cloud creates an easily shareable infrastructure that steps past some of the other parts of the IT process, namely development and integrations.
  • Adams said procurements these days include IT with “a sprinkle of cloud” as agencies want the elasticity of cloud, but also want the power to be able to tweak the cloud systems and have more contact with the actual computers. Adams said this can be problematic as that goes against the nature of cloud.
  • Adams added that the mobility movement is the perfect storm for cloud technologies as its nearly impossible to have a mobile discussion without having a cloud one at the same time.
  • Ryland: “Remember when people didn’t trust compilers? Now there’s trust and value in abstraction.”
  • Ryland said that the big data movement is actually in two segments: structured and unstructured. He said it’s the structured data that’s getting the attention, but there is a world of opportunity in being able to mine that information for the public good.
  • Houston said there needs to be more standardization within cloud. He said folks like NIST and those behind FedRAMP are doing a good job, but there is a thirst for more knowledge. As for the biggest hurdles concerning cloud, it’s fear from agencies of the unknown, a comment nearly every panelist made.
  • Chehreh said there needs to be more acquisition reform as the technology agencies are looking for is available. The key part, he said, will come in how it’s adopted.