Cloud Computing: The "Greener" Solution for Government

Upon visiting, out of curiosity about what exactly cloud computing is, I came across the video showing the new plans the government has in store. Typically known as a huge overwhelming IT “creature”, the government is planning on changing their ways, in regards to IT systems.

Currently the government is riddled with 100s of systems, unique applications and environments, all across the globe. There are large IT infrastructures behind these individual systems supporting them as separate entities. What has now been looked at more closely is that some of these large systems are duplicating work that many other systems are completing as well, such as email functions.

The U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra is onboard with combining these massive infrastructures, to cut down on the serious carbon footprint they are leaving behind. With the idea of combining services and using the same infrastructure for multiple environments the government is attempting to cut down on costs.

Of course the question is will it work? The hope is that there will be less maintenance costs, less staff to maintain, and it is a greener solution. The government is showing the greatest amounts of concern with security, privacy, and procurement at the moment. Of course it is a giant system, with many legacy applications, that many are predicting will not go away.

If anything is to change it won’t be fast, and will be almost like a case study for the government to attack at all angles. The main idea that this brought up is if the government can do it, why can’t we? Although most of us are relying on external IT infrastructure, it would be interesting to see what would happen if everyone was onboard with cloud computing.

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Portable Devices: Be Careful Where You are Storing Your Information

160,000 portable devices are misplaced in Chicago taxicabs every year. Although this seems like a random fact, it should be a rude awakening for those of you who have portable devices, which contain almost all of your business and personal information. Just imagine for a minute that you lose your Blackberry in the airport? Would you panic?

Nowadays portable devices are holding an amazing amount of information, and are almost acting like small computers for business professionals, when out of the office. Stored information can include:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Emails
  • Website Credentials
  • Passwords
  • Company Planning and Contacts
  • Confidential customer and/or company information

With all of this information being stored on these small portable devices it is becoming a big concern. Many businesses have started to implement mobile device security plans, and seem to be less concerned with the cost of the device, and more in tune with the cost of losing and/or recovering the information.

In the following article, “Lost Black Berry? Data Could Open a Security Breach”, there are a few cases of lost devices that caught my attention:

  •  A device that contained the personal numbers of congress members
  • Losing a device in the O’Hare airport
  • Having it stolen out of your car
  • Selling it on ebay, without remembering to delete all of the data

All of these cases are extremely dangerous to the owner of the device, and the information inside. There are cases as well when laws become involved. For instance, if a doctor loses their Blackberry, which contains client information, it does not only effect the owner of the device. With the healthcare industry, it can violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or with the financial and public companies this could easily violate the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

In order to combat these issues certain techniques have been created. Such as:

  • Biometrics
  • Passwords (If enabled by the user)
  • Remote Data Deletion (Only works if the phone is turned on)

All of these techniques have their benefits and down sides as well. It is clear that we need to protect the data on these devices as though they are another computer to be protected. It is important to understand what sort of implications loosing the device has, and whether or not the company is ready to handle any such issues.