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Moving FCC.gov into the cloud

by: Steven VanRoekel, Managing Director, Federal Communications Commission

October 20, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:92:height=106,width=70]]To create lasting change in the dot gov atmosphere, its incumbent on us to build better websites on top of better architectures.
But too often, government agencies have struggled to keep pace with technological change at a fundamental level. Cloud computing environments haven't been within government agencies' grasp for very long. The reasons have been various — many of them well-founded and focused on keeping our nation's information, and our citizens, safe.
Thanks to clear vision and consistent execution from government leaders, agencies are increasingly empowered to leverage the benefits of cloud computing. Private sector innovation has moved at incredible speeds, and it's encouraging to see federal agencies — like the FCC — moving towards cutting-edge architectures in order to deliver quality services quickly to the citizens that depend on them.
As we continue to reimagine how FCC.gov can deliver dot com levels of service, getting cloud environments in the door and ready for implementation has been a primary focus. By hosting our new site in the cloud, we're equipping the developers and content creators in the Commission with leading-edge technology so we remain agile, responsive, and relevant to the consumers and industry groups that rely on FCC.gov.
We fully expect this move to pay dividends in the short and long terms. Starting now, we're able to wield highly-flexible sandboxes for our teams to innovate without bounds. And in out years, we save considerable costs — and mitigate impact to the environment — by hosting the new FCC.gov in the cloud instead of potentially inefficient and wasteful datacenters.
Many critics — across sectors — have voiced concerns about the information security questions that are raised around cloud computing environments. Our team has fully abided by the FISMA standards throughout this process; at relaunch, FCC.gov will have met or exceeded both low and moderate levels of clearance, enabling us to distribute information, power collaboration, and innovate freely.
At the government-wide level, programs like FEDRAMP are moving the ball forward and helping agencies save time and money while procuring the environments that fit their needs. Just this week, GSA announced government-wide clearance for nearly a dozen Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS) cloud providers to be provided via Apps.gov. The momentum behind this movement is growing.
As the FCC continues to fill out our role as an expert tech agency, I'd like to hear from folks that are working towards innovations like these every day — both in the public and private sectors. Leave your comments below, or send me a message at @stevenvfcc on Twitter.

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