Government shutdown of the day: eliminating 800 data centers

And still have two-thirds of them left

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Eliminating data centers, standardizing and consolidating IT operations and outsourcing non-critical applications to external cloud providers will inevitably eliminate a lot of federal IT jobs, which will make it unpopular within the federal bureaucracy, according to Deniece Peterson, another analyst studying federal IT.

IT people with a bone to pick may not find much sympathy from Obama, who greeted IT executives at a meeting in January by describing D.C. as "the city where I had to fight tooth and nail just to get a Blackberry."

Obama officials don't like the uneven nature of federal IT. Some agencies are very Web 2.0, into social networking and making publicly available data available online.

Others are still waiting for J. Edgar Hoover to walk in the door again, looking for material for his secret (paper) files.

The Patent Office takes in 80 percent of patent applications digitally, for example, then prints them off so clerks can process and file them on paper. The Office of Personnel Management , the fed's HR department, stores personnel files on paper in a cave in Pennsylvania, presumably to keep it from being occupied by Osama bin Laden.

And the State Department, which involuntarily spilled its guts on WikiLeaks' shoulder, spent $133 million during the past six years for reports on the security of its systems. "Frankly the ...reports are more secure than the very systems they're supposed to protect," Federal CIO Vivek Kundra said in March.

The feds have to continue to manage all the risks it faces from all enemies foreign or domestic, of course.

Federal sites and databases are the most hacked in the world and, despite elaborate security in data centers, though not always in other places, the feds need lots more help on security, according to security guru Bruce Schneier.

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