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GAO Finds Cloud Progress At 7 Agencies

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Congressional auditors found progress at seven federal agencies when evaluating policies and processes for implementing cloud computing, according to a recent report.

The Government Accountability Office gave passing marks to the General Services Administration, the Small Business Administrations and the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State and Treasury.

Auditors found those agencies met a February 2011 Office of Management and Budget deadline to identify three cloud implementations and a separate December 2011 OMB deadline to implement at least one cloud service.

OMB set a June 2012 deadline for agencies to implement three cloud solutions, but two agencies plan to fulfill that requirement later this calendar year, according to the report.

GAO also found agencies faced common challenges when implementing cloud computing, including meeting federal security requirements and obtaining guidance on how to proceed with cloud.

Agencies also faced hurdles with obtaining knowledge and expertise, certifying and accrediting vendors, ensuring data portability and interoperability, addressing cultural barriers and acquiring services on an on-demand basis.

Of the 20 plans auditors examined, seven did not include estimated costs or plans for services to migrate existing functionality to a cloud-based service.

Those plans also would include how to retire or repurpose legacy systems, GAO said.

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