Oversight

Hurd: Feds' cloud security concerns are overblown

Will Hurd

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)

Is security the biggest issue facing federal agencies that are considering a move to the cloud?

"It shouldn't be," said Rep. Will Hurd, (R-Texas) at the Bloomberg cloud computing conference in Washington on Nov. 17. Hurd said some of the most forward-looking and sophisticated cloud applications in the federal government are being used by the CIA.

As one of the key Capitol Hill watchdogs on federal IT, Hurd thinks the federal "Cloud First" policy and the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act are levers to push the federal government out of its current IT inertia. He remains solidly behind both, and promised to come down hard on laggards in his position as chairman of the IT Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

"Server-huggers will have an uncomfortable time" if they appear before the committee to talk about why they're lagging behind on IT reform efforts, Hurd said.

According to Hurd, agency concerns about cloud security are a "huge misconception." None of the recent high-profile government computer breaches have been made through a cloud provider, he noted.

"If the CIA is using it," civilian agencies looking to move to the cloud shouldn't use security as an excuse not to, he said. "Things move fast" at the CIA he said. "They need agility. ... They're constantly looking for cutting edge solutions" that also deliver services securely.

Hurd said he understands the rising concerns about cybersecurity. He said even though he represents a relatively rural district in south Texas, he still gets hammered with questions from constituents about cybersecurity: "We know it's a problem."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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