Cloud

DHS CIO plans multi-cloud strategy

cloud migration 

The Department of Homeland Security is developing a cloud strategy with room for multiple service providers, agency CIO John Zangardi said May 25 at an industry day hosted by FCW's sibling publication Washington Technology.

"Different [DHS] components have different needs," Zangardi said.

The DHS approach is different from the one being taken at the Department of Defense, where the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud procurement is slated to have a single winner.

Zangardi, formerly acting CIO at DOD, couldn't be lured into commenting or criticizing DOD's strategy during the Q&A portion of his presentation. Zangardi spent most of his career at DOD and the Navy before moving to DHS last year.

So while his former employer is moving full steam ahead toward a single cloud provider for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, Zangardi emphasized that DHS' approach will have multiple providers.

"We don’t want a hundred, but this will be a hybrid strategy that will allow for multiple players," he said.

Zangardi has created a cloud steering group that will be developing what he called "stretch goals." The group will include representatives from all DHS components -- Transportation Security Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others. The group will begin meeting in June.

The steering group be looking at ways to streamline the process of moving to the cloud such as looking at whether the DHS authority to operate is too bureaucratic. "We need to start unclogging things," Zangardi said.

Right now there are 29 DHS applications hosted in the cloud and another 70 have been identified that should move, he said.

Other initiatives include the establishment of two security operations centers -- SOCs -- that will pull in more security operations from the different DHS component agencies.

"One will be the hot back-up and the other will be the primary SOC," Zangardi said.

Where the new SOCs will be located has not been determined.

An important question to answer is what functions need to remain with individual components. "We need to conserve the ability of the components to complete their missions," he said.

"The SOC and the cloud will fundamentally change how we define IT," Zangardi said.

A version of this story originally appeared in Washington Technology.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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