The United States Department of Defense imposes very strict requirements on third party vendors. These regulations have deterred many cloud computing providers form collaborating with the DoD. Two federal lawmakers have proposed a new bill that would make it easier for cloud computing companies to offer their services.
Background of the New Bill
Rep. Niki Tsongas and Rep. Derek Kilmer both feel that the existing cloud computing policies are too ambiguous. They want to clarify them to encourage more cloud companies to work with the Department of Defense. They introduced their new bill on April 28, but it hasn’t gone to a vote yet.
The new bill wouldn’t require the Department of Defense to relax its standards in any way. It would only require the Department of Defense to make its requirements clearer for third party contractors. Cloud vendors would be given the opportunity to make the necessary changes to ensure they were in compliance.
The new law would also make sure that companies were held to a single, uniform set of cloud security policies. Amazon is one of the few companies that contracts cloud services to the Pentagon. The company had to jump through a number of hurdles and was forced to abide by two different set of regulations. The new law would make it easier for companies to understand what was expected of them and file less paperwork.
Opportunities for Cloud Companies and DoD
The new bill would create many opportunities for the cloud computing industry. The United States military is one of the largest markets for cloud computing companies. Many companies in the industry would be more likely to sell their services to the DoD if they understood the policies better.
A spokeswoman for Tsongas said that the new bill would also save taxpayers a considerable amount of money. She said that the government stores a lot of inconsequential data on its own servers. This is extremely expensive for taxpayers. Tsongas and Kilmer believe that the Department of Defense should use third party cloud providers to store information that is not critical for national security. He believes that taxpayers will be glad to have the opportunity to save a lot of money.
Some cloud companies are already offering their services to the Department of Defense. However, the ambiguous regulations have deterred many companies from working with the government. The limited competition keeps the government from negotiating better rates.
Standards Could Be Implemented Across Federal Government
The new standards could be imposed on other arms of the government as well. Eugene Spafford, a renowned computer science professor at Purdue, said that many other divisions of the government use the Department of Defense as a model for their own policies.
Spafford believes that the new standards will allow government agencies to contract IT services to other companies more cost-efficiently. This is a reform that many economists will support as well, because they feel that the government needs to be better about controlling costs.