Increased Government Cloud Focus with Tony Scott as New Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The White House just amplified the focus on cloud computing by appointing VMware executive Tony Scott as Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO). US President Barrack Obama’s announcement yesterday also indicates the departure of Steve VanRoekel who moved to the position of chief innovation officer at U.S. Agency for International Development(USAID) to focus on the use of technology to fight the outbreak of the deadly tonyscottEbola virus.

Tony Scott is entering this role from VMware where most recently he led the company’s global information technology group, bringing more than 35 years of leadership and management experience in IT services. Scott’s organization focused on the effective use of IT to bring improved agility and cost savings to the business. Scott has also served as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Microsoft, overseeing all aspects of the company’s information technology organization and enterprise digital supply chain. Prior to Microsoft, he served as CIO at The Walt Disney and also as the Chief Technology Officer of Information Systems & Services at General Motors Corporation.

Shaun Donovan, Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Beth Cobert, Deputy Director in a White House blog, “Tony will bring will over 35 years of global leadership and management experience to build upon our progress and drive continued success. Tony is the right person to drive the Administration’s Smarter IT Delivery Agenda and the core objectives across the Federal IT portfolio – (1) driving value in Federal IT investments, (2) delivering world-class digital services, and (3) protecting Federal IT assets and information.”

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Source – Federal IT Dashboard

This announcement is significant in terms of accelerating government cloud adoption. Obama has laid out a strong budget of $79B in FY16 and a good portion of that will be spent on cloud. With Scott’s background, we can be pretty certain he will try to incorporate cutting edge technologies to drive cloud adoption throughout government agencies.

The first Federal CIO Vivek Kundra developed and launched a “cloud first” strategy for IT in the first two months of his tenure. Kundra’s strategy focused on data center consolidation and cost reduction. The Cloud First policy mandates that agencies take full advantage of cloud computing benefits to maximize capacity utilization, improve IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimize cost. And per OMB mandate, agencies must use FedRAMP when conducting risk assessments, security authorizations, and granting ATOs for all Executive department or agency use of cloud services.

Cloud providers have been aggressively pursuing FedRAMP certification to tap into potentially huge cloud opportunity with the government. Microsoft states “Azure has been granted a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board (JAB) at a Moderate impact level based upon the FIPS 199 classification.”

Amazon claims “AWS is a FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Service Provider (CSP). AWS has completed the testing performed by a FedRAMP-accredited Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) and has been granted two Agency Authority to Operate (ATOs) by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after demonstrating compliance with FedRAMP requirements.”

And today, VMware announced that VMware vCloud Government Service has achieved the Provisional Authority to Operate (ATO) through the U.S. Government’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). VCloud News does not believe Google Compute Cloud has achieved FedRAMP certification.

It will be interesting to see the announcements from the new Federal CIO’s office over the next several months on how Tony Scott plans to simplify and accelerate cloud adoption.

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