NIST establishes three cloud working groups

Federal efforts to achieve broader cloud integration took a significant step forward as the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced plans to launch three cloud computing working groups.

As FCW reported, these working groups will aim to resolve some of the most challenging issues facing the government as it attempts to move beyond the recently passed FedRAMP deadline. Specifically, the groups will be tasked with helping federal agencies achieve the requirements established by the NIST in its 2011 "U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap 1.0."

Three groups
The cloud working groups will consist of a number of IT experts from government agencies, private businesses and academia, according to ExecutiveGov. The first group will focus on cloud computing interoperability and portability. To this end, the team will focus on identifying requirements as a means of coordinating software operations and other components. Additionally, the group will identify strategies for moving government data to and from various cloud platforms.

Another of the NIST cloud working groups will focus on the overall implementation of federated community cloud environments, according to FierceGovernmentIT. This, the news source noted, relates to requirement 5 of the NIST roadmap for federal cloud integration. This stipulation demands that both government and industry work to create a plan for the seamless implementation of the cloud, as federated clouds are defined as systems that access both internal and external cloud resources.

The third and final NIST cloud computing work group will be dedicated to cloud services and methodologies, the news source noted. Specifically, the group will aim to map cloud computing services' characteristics and properties, as outlined in requirement 4 of the NIST roadmap.

Cloud benefits
The creation of these cloud computing working groups is only the latest example of federal efforts to ramp up cloud integration throughout the government. This general move is expected to yield major benefits for agencies.

For example, industry expert Dan Chenok recently asserted that greater use of cloud computing resources can potentially upgrade federal cybersecurity capabilities. Writing for GCN, Chenok argued that these benefits come from the cloud's ability to centralize data management and storage. This enables a more comprehensive approach to IT governance, he explained.

"Using a hybrid cloud to integrate security nodes on the Internet and inside an enterprise into a comprehensive situational awareness picture can allow for better detection of new threats," Chenok wrote.

Considering the widespread concerns surrounding federal cybersecurity, this would prove a major advantage.