CBP expects cloud management contract next year

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will have a cloud management and integration contract solicitation out in the first half of next year that will help manage its expanding use of commercial cloud across its operations, according to one of its top technology managers.

CBP's Enterprise Cloud and Integration Service (ECIS) contract solicitation will be out in the first quarter, or early in the second quarter, of 2021, said Edward Mays, executive director, Enterprise Data Management and Engineering Directorate, at CBP's Office of Information Technology. The agency issued a request for information on ECIS this past spring.

The cloud governance contract, said Mays during an Aug. 13 ACT IAC cloud management webcast, will help the agency get a better handle on proliferating bills and hard-to-track costs for cloud services, as well as a more efficient way to use its stable of commercial cloud service providers. The contract would set an integrator to help CBP acquire and access multiple CSPs, infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service offerings.

According to the proposal, the agency uses all of the major CSPs, from Amazon Web Services to Oracle Cloud, as well as cloud platforms such as SalesForce and cloud enterprise services such as Office 365 and Zoom.

All those offerings, said Mays, offer greater efficiencies and capabilities for CBP's operations that span critical border security, travel and trade applications. As CBP continues to move its applications from its data centers to commercial cloud environments, Mays said one of the biggest headaches is keeping track of cloud provider bills across the agency's sprawling operations. Commercial cloud technology's consumption-based pricing, he said, has required an adjustment from its old enterprise cost-based approach with data centers.

Along with the ECIS contract's potential to help track costs, Mays said CBP also has a proof-of-concept underway that will help read and analyze cloud bills from multiple cloud providers and translate them into understandable billing within the CBP enterprise. The effort, he said, could tap artificial intelligence and robotics process automation to tackle some tasks.

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, 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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