A keynote panel dispels myths about cloud networks and shares strategies for successful cloud computing security efforts.

Chris Kemp, CIO, Ames Research Center, NASA, delivered one of the most highly anticipated keynotes on how cloud computing is being used at NASA to help cut costs, increase efficiency, and allow the agency to increase focus on mission critical activities.

“To make the cloud work, you need to know who your users are and what is the data that you have,” said Kemp. “All of your decisions will be based on these two factors. My biggest advice is to take a commercial product or something from another agency and build a test pilot. You need to do this before you make any big spending decisions.”

A keynote panel consisting of Peter Mell, Cloud Computing Project Lead, Senior Computer Scientist, NIST, Earl Crane, Director of Cybersecurity Strategy, DHS, and Roger Thornton, Founder & CTO, Fortify, focused on the question “Can There be Trust in the Cloud?” and dispelled myths about cloud networks and sharing strategies for successful cloud computing security efforts.

“Cloud computing in general had a lot of potential,” said Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO and head of the federal cloud movement. “The federal government will be rethinking the model of creating a center of gravity for technology, in that we’re not making investments multiple times in the same technology.”
The most disruptive technological push of the new administration, getting support from the president himself, is the promulgation of the use of cloud computing by all federal agencies to completely modernize and transform the federal IT infrastructure.

Roger Mahach, Chief Information Security & Privacy Officer, OCC, Treasury, presented a case study of how his department moved its vulnerability assessment application to a cloud-based service provider and ultimately saw reduced costs and improved performance.

President Obama’s budget request for 2010 had an entire page devoted to the importance of cloud computing, stating that all agencies should be working towards virtualizing data centers, consolidating data centers and operations, and ultimately adopting a cloud computing business model.
Despite all of this movement, executives are still leery of the new cloud solutions. GTRA research showed that the most common concern about implementing cloud programs was security and privacy, a finding supported by an IDC study of 244 CIO’s on cloud computing where 75% of respondents listed security as their number one concern.

“The past six months have seen an explosion in the discussion of cloud computing among government IT leaders, even though many have been using cloud in some way for up to several years,” commented Parham Eftekhari, Research Director at GTRA. “Creating a platform for trusted government leaders to share their knowledge and experiences helps advance cloud computing from a concept to an accepted and trusted business model.”

About GTRA: GTRA brings together executive-level government technology CXO’s in Security, Enterprise Architecture, Virtualization, Green IT and Health IT leaders to collaborate, strategize and create innovative solutions. The semi-annual GTRA Symposiums address the topics identified through research with the government council members and industry experts. By sharing best practices and lessons learned, knowledge is exchanged in a peer-to-peer forum, resulting in actionable government-wide strategic plans and cutting-edge solutions. Through a unique collaborative methodology, GTRA is revolutionizing the way government does business!

Deborah Kay
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