White House posts plan to modernize federal IT and move to the cloud

The federal government’s finalized plan to overhaul legacy tech and move the government into a more secure, cloud-based infrastructure, kicks off Jan. 1, 2018.
By Jessica Davis
03:35 PM

The White House published its finalized plan to modernize federal IT, which will overhaul the legacy and obsolete technology found in federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The work begins Jan. 1, 2018, and will move the government into more secure, cost-effective infrastructure from shared services and commercial capabilities. Further, current programs and policies will be rapidly updated to eliminate any barriers to cloud adoption.

Federal agencies are expected to move to the cloud, where it’s applicable. The government plans to accelerate implementation of cloud email and collaboration tools while improving existing shared services and providing additional security to those shared services, according to the report.

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The report did not include the name of the planned cloud email vendor, but said that host -- we’ll guess it’s Amazon, IBM, Google or Microsoft -- would assist in tracking funds spent on the migration. In the past, there have been challenges to adopting cloud technologies, so officials advise the use of test implementations for rapid deployment.

Those capabilities not hosted in the cloud will be modernized to incorporate better security. Agencies will assess the risk of the existing technology to “prioritize resources on protecting the most important systems and information.”

“Difficulties in agency prioritization of resources in support of IT modernization, ability to procure services quickly and technical issues have resulted in an unwieldy and out-of-date federal IT infrastructure incapable of operating with the agility and security that is required of a multibillion-dollar federal IT enterprise,” according to the report.

In April, the president signed an executive order set to overhaul the government’s IT infrastructure. Trump met with major technology CEOs in June to discuss the overhaul and gain insights. The White House also held a three-week public comment period, and more than 100 companies and individuals gave feedback.

This week Trump signed the annual defense policy bill into law and that included a provision urging agencies to upgrade outdated technology.

“The actions articulated in the report will compliment agency efforts to modernize citizen-facing services by moving to a more secure, agile and cost-effective infrastructure,” White House American Technology Council Director Chris Liddell and Office of Science and Technology Policy Senior Policy Advisor Jack Wilmer said in a statement.

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Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com