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Federal Contracting, BPM Software, and Demons in the Clouds

Ben Farrell
July 20, 2011

Federal agencies are moving to the cloud at a rapid clip so it's not surprising that so many federal contractors are packing their bags (and servers) and joining them. Cloud computing makes sense for organizations of all stripes, federal contractors included. As more and more large organizations migrate to the cloud, there will inevitably be growing pains. BPM software in the cloud is a particularly good fit for contracting firms, given their preponderance of classic "knowledge worker" employees. Provided they can ward off the demons.

Richard Walker at Washington Technology points out what he calls a handful of "demons" that will dog the federal contracting community as it rolls into the cloud. The thing is, these "demons" do not have to disrupt a contractor's operations or those of a federal agency.

Yes, security is an important issue in the cloud. But where is security not an important issue? As long as you are using a cloud infrastructure and application with sufficient security safeguards, and you are diligent in making sure they are in place, cloud security should not be a deal-breaker. Cloud systems are maturing, and many now offer security and reliability that is at least on par with the best of on-premise systems.

IT security issues matter, of course, and they can often lead to legal issues. But all IT systems come with potential security issues. There are also plenty of issues with home security, and car security, and if you ride a bike to work, bike security. A lot of it has to do with starting with the right padlock.

Walker discusses other potential "cloud demons" around contracting and liability issues between contractors and customers, but ultimately states that "Despite such sticky-wicket issues, key business drivers, such as the exploding use of mobile devices, will prompt more use of the cloud by companies."

And as that happens, contractors will follow suite ñ if for no other reason than that, according to Walker's piece, "Companies using the cloud themselves are better positioned to sell their government customers on the advantages of cloud services."

The take-away: There's no doubt that the cloud is the place to be for federal contractor organizations ñ as long as they don't let their fears get the best of them.

-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications