Commentary

Federal IT Leaders Want Cloud Vendors to Provide Clarity

Kenneth Corbin, CIO,  Friday, January 23, 2015

Federal agencies are actively shopping for new cloud computing technologies, but vendors will help their cause by packaging their services to be more readily implemented in a government environment that is highly security conscious and almost preternaturally cautious about rolling out new IT systems.

The key to understanding the gap between the vision and reality of cloud computing

Chris Widemann, Washington Technology,  Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In the 1990s, Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, referred to the attitudes surrounding the overvalued dot-com market as “irrational exuberance.” I’m beginning to feel the same way about cloud technology as a sales cure-all for government clients. Not that the bottom is going to drop out of the cloud market – far from it. There does seem, however, to be some “unmerited optimism” about relying on the technology as a door opener. The cloud has taken on almost a magical quality among those who sell to government. Many vendors and integrators believe that having a cloud story is the key to winning government contracts, no matter what their core business may be.

Signing the Pledge

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Friday, we learned that Google quietly signed the Student Privacy Pledge – almost a week after President Obama called them out by name to ask why not. That is a good thing. Why did it take so long? Hubris first. Google thinks itself above association with other companies when such association is not intrinsically within its business interest. Joining the Pledge when it was first announced three months ago would have seemed unseemly.

Cybercrime deterrence: 6 important steps

Stephen Cobb, WeLiveSecurity Blog,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I am not under any illusions in laying out these steps. Taking them will be hard and not everyone will agree with them, particularly when moving from the general approach described here to the specifics of implementation. But I do believe now is the time to push this agenda, before the erosion of trust in networking technology undermines its effectiveness and we start to lose the benefits of its deployment. And so that we’re clear, when I say now is the time, I mean now is the time to actually do something instead of just talking about it. Let’s be honest, the right time has come and gone many times in the past without sufficient action being taken, but we can address that lack of commitment elsewhere. Here is what we need to do now...

Getting IT Right? How State Governments are Approaching Cloud Computing

Kevin Desouza and Gregory Dawson, Brookings,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cloud computing is far more than just a simple technology change and requires a close examination of governance, sourcing, and security. We sought to understand how well state government is prepared to address the challenges of cloud computing.

Safety, Privacy, and the Internet Paradox: Solutions at Hand and the Need for new Trans-Atlantic Rules

Microsoft Europe,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Today at the Center for European Policy Studies, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs, Microsoft, delivered remarks and participated in a panel discussion on the subject of Trust, data and national sovereignty: solutions for a connected world.

After a Wait, Google Signs Pledge on Student-Data Privacy

Sean Cavanagh and Michele Molnar, Education Week,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

After initially declining to sign up, technology giant Google has joined a growing number of companies committing to a "student privacy pledge" created by advocacy groups and endorsed by the White House. Google has come under heavy scrutiny for privacy practices that critics have feared would open the door to students' personal information being used for advertising purposes, and the company has revised its policies in the face of those questions. The privacy pledge is being sponsored by the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington-based think tank that advocates for responsible data use, and the Software & Information Industry Association, a leading trade association, also headquartered in the nation's capital.

Sheriff Google, on the software bug beat, is taking prisoners

Michelle Quinn, San Jose Mercury News,  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Google has anointed itself technology's sheriff, rattling other firms' software doors and windows to see if there are any openings for crooks. And if the Internet giant finds a vulnerability, it notifies the firm: Make a fix within 90 days or we'll expose the flaw to the public. "You should be able to use the Web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect your computer, steal secrets or monitor your communications," Google said in a blog post last year announcing Project Zero, its security team on the lookout for software bugs. Sounds great. But is it?

New cloud era begins at DoD

Aaron Boyd, Federal Times,  Monday, January 19, 2015

"I think there is some genuine, real excitement about going to the cloud in the DoD," said Gregory Garcia, executive director of the Army Information Technology Agency. Initial forays into the cloud are likely to be uncoordinated and small in scale. Once the cloud concept proves successful with those early endeavors, more ambitious enterprise-scale projects will likely follow, experts like Garcia say. "As we build success stories of those early adopters, we'll see more people embrace that idea," Garcia said. "Five years from now, I think it's going to be all in the cloud."

Microsoft and the US government fight over data in the cloud

Sean Michael, WinBeta,  Monday, January 19, 2015

The battle of big business versus big government is being fought among the clouds or at least among Microsoft’s international cloud servers. Microsoft’s director of cyber security and cloud strategy has shared a post titled ‘Privacy considerations in a cloudy world.’ The post highlights points regarding Microsoft’s cyber security made by their Chief Privacy Officer in a video (embedded below). Microsoft is amidst a battle with the government when it comes to protecting their user’s data. One of the key points was that “Microsoft does not provide any government with direct, unfettered access to customers’ data.” There’s a gray area when it comes to who has authority over data stored by Microsoft.