NIST Issues Cloud Computing Roadmap

Guide Aimed to Accelerate Cloud Adoption, Future Development
NIST Issues Cloud Computing Roadmap
NIST issued late Tuesday a draft of its roadmap designed to help federal agencies not only to adopt cloud computing, but to support the further development of the cloud computing model.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology said the draft publication defines high-priority requirements for standards, official guidance and technology developments that need to be met in order for agencies to accelerate their migration of existing IT systems to the cloud computing model. "A key contribution of the roadmap effort is to focus the discussion to achieve a clear understanding between the government and private sector, particularly on the specific technical steps - standards, guidance and technology solutions - needed to move federal IT from its current early-cloud state to a cloud-based foundation, as envisioned in the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy," Dawn Leaf, NIST senior advisor for cloud computing, said in a statement accompanying the draft.

When then-Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra unveiled the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, also known as the Cloud First initiative, last February (see Kundra Eyes 25% of Fed IT Spend on Cloud Services), he designated NIST, part of the Commerce Department, to lead and collaborate with federal, state and local government agency CIOs, private-sector experts and international bodies to identify and prioritize cloud computing standards and guidance, which resulted in the roadmap draft.

That draft, known as Special Publication 800-293, consists of two volumes:

Volume I: High-Priority Requirements to Further U.S. Government Agency Cloud Computing Adoption, provides a general understanding and overview of the roadmap initiative, including:

  • Prioritized interoperability, portability and security requirements that must be met to further government cloud adoption.
  • Standards, guidelines and technology that must be in place to satisfy these requirements.
  • A list of priority action plans recommended for voluntary self-tasking by the cloud stakeholder community to support standards, guidelines and technology development.

Volume II: Useful Information for Cloud Adopters, which is the nuts and bolts publication. It is a technical reference that is useful for those working on strategic and tactical cloud computing initiatives. Volume II integrates and summarizes the work completed to date, explains the assessment findings based on this work and how these findings support the roadmap introduced in Volume I.

The roadmap has undergone a 60-day review exercise through the Federal Cloud Computing Standards and Technology Working Group, a NIST-led group formed in July by the Federal CIO Council. It includes representatives from some 30 federal agencies.

NIST is preparing a third volume, Technical Considerations for U.S. Government Cloud Computing Deployment Decisions, as part of an interagency and public working group collaborative effort. It is intended as a guide for decision makers who are planning and implementing cloud computing solutions. The document explains how the technical work in Volume II can be applied to the decision framework defined in the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.

Public comments on the first two volumes are due by 5 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 2 and can be sent to or mailed to Robert Bohn, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Dr., Stop 2000, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2000.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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