31 Mar Tech firms seek to get agencies on board with cloud computing
Consumers save their e-mail and documents on Google’s data centers, put their photos on Flickr and store their social lives on Facebook. Now a host of companies including Amazon and Microsoft wants government agencies to similarly house data on their servers as a way to cut costs and boost efficiency.
But federal officials say it’s one thing to file away e-mailed jokes from friends, and another to store government data on public servers that could be vulnerable to security breaches.
The push toward “cloud computing,” so named because data and software is housed in remote data centers rather than on-site servers, is the latest consumer technology to migrate to the ranks of government. Companies such as Amazon and Salesforce, which do not typically sell services to the government, want a piece of the business.
Google opened a Reston office last year to sell applications such as Google Docs to federal employees. Silicon Valley-based Salesforce, which has focused on selling to corporations, established a team dedicated to government contracting. Microsoft spent $2.3 billion in 2007 to build data centers for cloud computing, and IBM, Sun Microsystems and HP want to provide the government cloud.
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