"We are really looking at a new paradigm, a place of data primacy, where everything starts with consideration of the data, rather than consideration of the technology. This is a real shift from the way we've historically thought about this."
--Patrick GallagherNIST director and undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology
Late last month, the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board issued its first certification to a small cloud services provider based in North Carolina called Autonomic Resources for its infrastructure-as-a-service offering. But that's only the beginning, VanRoekel says, noting that there are currently 78 other companies awaiting FedRAMP certification and that new certificants are expected to be announced shortly.
"We've got a pipeline that's going to start really flowing and I think really will be an inflection point where we really catalyze cloud adoption inside government," VanRoekel says.
"The challenge we were facing in government was one where all the agencies of government wanted to go to cloud, were, you know, following the cloud-first guidelines, [but] were doing that in a very unpredictable way, and they were going to the marketplace and saying, 'You know, I need these requirements and I need these requirements and different things,' and agency A and agency B were completely different from each other. So FedRAMP, first and foremost, creates a predictable environment for cloud providers to relay cloud services to the government," VanRoekel says.
NIST is following a similar path with its work on big data, moving toward a point where, say, agencies looking for a commercial provider to implement a Hadoop deployment would start with a common set of requirements. But along with those standardization efforts, the move to big data will necessitate another cultural shift within the government, just as the administration has been pressing CIOs to embrace the cloud and develop new mobility policies to address application development, bring-your-own-device and other considerations.
"Like cloud, big data is going to change everything," Gallagher says. "We are really looking at a new paradigm, a place of data primacy, where everything starts with consideration of the data, rather than consideration of the technology. This is a real shift from the way we've historically thought about this."