GAO: 7 challenges agencies face with ‘Cloud First’

In a new report released by the Government Accountability Office, federal agencies face seven common challenges when implementing the Office of Management and Budget’s “Cloud First” policy.

The challenges include:

  1. Meeting Federal Security Requirements
  2. Obtaining guidance
  3. Acquiring knowledge and expertise
  4. Certifying and accrediting vendors
  5. Ensuring data portability and interoperability
  6. Overcoming cultural barriers
  7. Procuring services on a consumption (on-demand) basis

GAO was asked to assess the progress selected agencies have made in implementing the “Cloud First” policy since it was announced in December 2010, along with identify challenges agencies face in implementation.


To come to its conclusions, GAO interviewed officials from seven federal agencies: the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and Treasury; the General Services Administration and the Small Business Administration, along with officials from OMB.

GAO recommended to the seven agencies the need to better develop key planning information, such as estimated costs and legacy IT systems’ retirement plans for existing and planned services. The agencies generally agreed with GAO’s recommendations, except for the State Department, which disagreed with one recommendation – noting that legacy retirement plans were not applicable to its existing cloud services.

Full report

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REFORM Progress Made but Future Cloud Computing Efforts Should be Better Planned

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