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DHS Introducing Cloud Computing Services in FY 2012, CIO Says

The Department of Homeland Security aims to offer cloud computing services to its component agencies in fiscal year 2012 including email, authentication, business services and other services from data centers, the DHS chief information officer said Thursday.

DHS will host most services on private clouds, but will also tap into public clouds, DHS Chief Information Officer Richard Spires told a panel of the House Homeland Security Committee. Data deemed as sensitive would reside on DHS private clouds while information safe for public release could reside on public clouds.

The DHS will continue to look for ways to leverage public clouds. Use of public clouds will be dependent on the level of security offered. However, continuity of service remains a chief concern in using the cloud, Spires said.

Gregory Wilshusen, director of information security issues at the Government Accountability Office, agreed with Spires that the DHS should not be too reliant on the public cloud due to security concerns.

Officials have largely expressed optimism for government wide transition to the cloud. The DHS already has three initiatives underway via public clouds, two of which are operational and undergoing pilot phase testing.

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