White House Unveils New 'Cloud Smart' Strategy

The new policy focuses on giving agencies tools to choose cloud services that meet their mission needs.

The White House Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 24 released an updated federal cloud computing strategy, dubbed “Cloud Smart,” signaling a pivot away from the Obama administration’s “Cloud First” policy

The new policy, which OMB hinted at in June, is not a radical overhaul of the government’s approach to the cloud, but is a positioned as a recalibration that reflects how the technology has evolved since Cloud First was formally introduced in 2011. The Trump administration policy is just in draft form right now and is open to public comment  

Federal CIO Suzette Kent told reporters that Cloud First was introduced “at a time when cloud was still new,” according to FedScoop, and many agencies “were kind of early in their journey in adopting those technologies, and we learned a substantial amount within the federal government.” OMB says that many agencies were slow to adopt the cloud because there was no clear implementation plan or strategy. The private sector’s cloud technologies “have significantly advanced” since then as well

Taken all together, she suggested, this calls for a new approach. “Cloud Smart focuses on equipping agencies with the tools needed to make informative technology decisions in accordance with their mission needs, and leverages private sector solutions to provide the best services to the American people,” the policy states. 

Cloud Smart encompasses several key components of IT modernization including security, procurement and workforce, recognizing that they are all “deeply linked, and require an integrated, interdisciplinary approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to IT modernization.” OMB claims the new cohesive strategy will lead to savings, security, and faster delivery of mission-serving solutions.

FedScoop reports: 

The strategy is broken down into three “inter-related” components — security, workforce and procurement. Within each of those, the federal CIO Council has set a number of concrete “action items” to be accomplished over the course of the coming months. The timeframes for each of the action items, 22 in total, range from three to 18 months.

OMB notes that the plan “will be technology-neutral, and will consider vendor-based solutions, agency-hosted solutions, inter- and intra-agency shared services, multi-cloud, and hybrid solutions as appropriate.” 

Sep 25 2018