GSA’s Missed Deadline Slows Implementation of E-Procurement and Other Cloud Services
December 31 marks more than the final day for working in the last of your 2012 resolutions … it’s also the federal government’s self-imposed deadline to authorize cloud service providers with quick acquisition status. While this causes obvious contract management issues as agencies await word on security clearances and purchasing approvals, potential vendors are also left dangling as they wait to hear if they have been certified after a fairly grueling application process.
In response to requests for status updates, the General Services Administration, which runs FedRamp, has stated the approvals can be expected to start going out toward the end of the year. For many of the service providers that began the process in June and absorbed the cost of complying with federal security and procedural mandates, the wait will continue a while longer. While most providers have managed to satisfy security standards, it’s financial and auditing questions that seem to be holding up the process. Of the 80 service providers that applied, only 10 to 12 are expected to be cleared following an auditing process that took up to 1,000 hours.
According to NextGov, the GSA expects that FedRamp will reduce expenditures by utilizing shared clouds in lieu of large computer rooms. “The Obama administration expects to save about $5 billion annually by shuttering roughly 40 percent of the government’s data centers. By axing duplicative audits, agencies could pocket between 30 percent to 40 percent of their usual testing and procurement expenses.”
Thus far, multiple federal agencies have already secured cloud services for e-procurement, inventory management and other previously paper-based processes. The Obama administration’s Cloud-First Initiative is credited with saving approximately $5.5 billion in IT costs since its inception two years ago.
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