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Many federal agencies lack an understanding of the various types of cloud services available on Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs). As a result, agencies are still purchasing cloud services as an add-on to other contracts, something that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) worries could lead to security challenges. What’s more, many federal workers lack the skillsets to effectively transition to a cloud-first environment. While the benefits of cloud computing may be obvious – economy, flexibility, and speed – the path to getting there is less so. There is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution, and with the speed of emerging technology, it can be hard to keep current. That's where NITAAC can help. Our GWAC contract holders have deployed cloud solutions for agencies as diverse as the USDA, the DoD and the State Department and learned a few best practices along the way. The following tips will prove invaluable to any agency contemplating moving to the cloud, especially during COVID-19 where agency missions are being accomplished remotely and outside traditional networks. Tips to Successfully Deploying Cloud Solutions 1. Provide workforce training: As federal agencies continue to learn more about the cloud, ensure that the workforce is properly trained so you can get maximum value from your cloud purchase. 2. Have a cloud strategy in place before you purchase: Don’t procure cloud for the sake of procuring cloud. It is pertinent to have a cloud strategy in place to ensure long-term success. 3. Ensure the right decision-makers are involved: Decide who inside and outside the agency should be engaged, to ensure your strategy is aligned with workforce demands. 4. Ask hard questions regarding cost savings: Conduct an ROI analysis to ensure the benefits of going completely to the cloud are worth it for your agency. And, once you have asked the hard questions, developed a strategy and are ready to make a purchase, NITAAC recommends keeping in mind the Cloud Smart Buying Strategies recommended by the OMB: OMB Cloud Smart Buying Strategies · Agencies should leverage the bulk purchasing power of the federal government through common contract solutions · Agencies should attach specific performance metrics and expectations to service-level agreements · Agencies should pay special attention to how providers treat high-value assets The NITAAC Difference Built with cloud acquisition in mind, the NITAAC CIO-CS GWAC is a full suite of information technology commodities and solutions capable of meeting any of the latest government technology trends, from cloud computing to cybersecurity to mobility. The offerings are always current, with a technology refresh process that enables product updates to be added as soon as they become available, not in days or weeks, but hours. The CIO-CS team is committed to assisting customers, whether it means walking them through how to issue a Request for Quotation using the NITAAC Electronic Government Ordering System (e-GOS) or advising them on the Federal Acquisition Regulations for Indefinite-Delivery Contracts ordering prescribed in FAR Subpart 16.505. NITAAC is Here to Help The promise of the cloud is great. Cloud can transform the way agencies do their work by making them more agile, effective and efficient, not to mention by yielding significant cost savings. When your agency is ready to move to the cloud, NITAAC is here to help.
The 2019 Federal Cloud Computing Strategy — Cloud Smart — is a long-term, high-level strategy to drive cloud adoption in Federal agencies. This is the first cloud policy update in seven years, offering a path forward for agencies to migrate to a safe and secure cloud infrastructure. This new strategy will support agencies to achieve additional savings, greater security and faster services. In the update, the office of Management and Budget (OMB) is looking to accomplish a few key things: Retool security to provide flexibility for cloud access Improve the skills of the workforce when it comes to working with cloud; and Refine procurement methodology to accommodate the pay-as-you-go nature of commercial cloud computing A key aspect of the plan involves agencies going through their application inventories and "discarding obsolete, redundant, or overly resource-intensive applications" to focus on applications that can be migrated to the cloud or at least are less expensive to maintain. On the procurement side, the strategy says federal agencies still lack a "basic understanding of the various types of cloud services" available on government-wide contracts and in the private sector. Many agencies are still purchasing cloud services as an add-on to other contracts, something that OMB worries could lead to security challenges and a lack of awareness about cloud assets by broader staff. To mitigate these challenges, the OMB offered what it calls its Cloud Smart Buying Strategies. The strategy offers several common tips for buying cloud products: 1) Agencies should leverage the bulk purchasing power of the federal government through common contract solutions. 2) Agencies should attach specific performance metrics and expectations to service-level agreements. 3) Agencies should pay special attention to how providers treat high-value assets. While the benefits of cloud computing may be obvious - economy, flexibility and speed – the path to getting there is less so. There is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution, and with the speed of emerging technology, it can be hard to keep current. That's where NITAAC can help. While many agencies may be struggling with an appropriate cloud strategy, many of our GWAC Contract Holders have already deployed cloud solutions for agencies as diverse as the USDA, the DoD and the State Department. Cloud Smart is about equipping agencies with the tools, knowledge and flexibilities they need to move to the cloud according to their mission needs. It’s about including a continuous security and compliance strategy that bakes these elements into maintenance and operations. It’s about using automation tools to securely audit and manage resources in the cloud. And, it’s about how cloud managed service providers are helping automate operation models to achieve continuous compliance. All the while producing efficiencies and providing mission-driven high-quality experiences for end users. NITAAC Best in Class GWACs are here to help agencies implement their cloud strategy by providing access to low-cost, high-quality IT products and services through our pre-vetted, highly qualified contract holders.