Cloud computing enables software and data to reside on vast numbers of servers connected over the Internet, rather than on servers at the physical location of an individual, company, or other organization. The expansion of the Web has made cloud computing common, first in commerce and now increasingly in government.
MITRE helps our sponsors weigh the pros and cons when it comes to moving to the cloud. On the plus side, cloud computing holds the promise for using IT resources more efficiently. It can also yield significant cost and capability advantages.
Compared to industry, however, government agencies face unique constraints. Cloud computing presents new acquisition, management, financial, and security considerations for IT decision makers. Some of these include:
- Current acquisition and funding models
- Security requirements that often exceed standard commercial practices
- A need for assured performance and minimal downtime
We offer insight to help put programs on a course to realize the benefits of cloud computing, while minimizing risk. We're also actively finding new ways to use the cloud to increase security—by showing how to move sensitive information off mobile devices (such as military smartphones) and storing it in secure cloud-based servers.
In addition to advising specific government programs, we've made our guidance available in a downloadable series of white papers. Papers may be downloaded in .zip or .zipx formats. We've also made "Ahead in the Clouds"—an online forum featuring MITRE cloud computing experts and thought-leaders from industry—available as a PDF. These conversations, which took place in 2010 and 2011, remain a valuable resource for IT managers exploring the uses of the cloud.