5 pitfalls that can scuttle a move to the cloud

April 29, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Government Computer News

E-mail is considered low-hanging fruit for government IT managers who are starting down the road toward cloud–based services. But that doesn’t mean the first step to an e-mail migration will be a walk in the park.

Instead, agencies seeking to move e-mail to the cloud to satisfy the Office of Management and Budget’s cloud-first program must carefully plan the move and communicate with all levels of management and agency employees. And everyone should understand the intended benefits of the change, government and industry experts advise.

“E-mail is a perfect candidate,” said Fred Whiteside, director of cybersecurity operations at the Commerce Department. He also is project manager of a cloud use-case working group and member of cloud standards and security working groups at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“That is the low-hanging fruit,” said Whiteside, who added that “there are challenges that need to be thought through.”

One challenge of isolating e-mail in the cloud is separating it from other services and systems, such as human resources management systems, which are often integrated with e-mail applications. And even if such systems are not integrated, they might tap the same user repository, Whiteside said. It’s simply not a rip and replace proposition.

Los Angeles and systems integrator Computer Sciences Corp. encountered similar hurdles when they launched a cloud-based Google e-mail system during summer 2010. The system had trouble with the L.A. Police Department’s security and archiving requirements, which often created hours-long lag times in e-mail delivery.

While Los Angeles and CSC worked on those issues, the city had to maintain an on-premises e-mail system to satisfy the police department’s needs. Running the older system for the police and cloud-based system for other agencies eroded the cost savings of moving to the cloud in that case.

Continued here.