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June 30, 2016
Meeting the federal demand for mission-critical cloud
By: Melissa Adamson

Cloud technology is no longer the new kid on the block. Although enterprises once had their concerns about critical points like security and availability, this is no longer the case (a thorough evaluation is always recommended though) and cloud has become the norm. The shift in cloud adoption from systems of record to core systems of engagement best reflects this changing perception and the fact that organizations from Silicon Valley to the Global 2000 now put cloud first.

Meeting the federal demand for mission-critical cloud

Bringing the Cloud First Mindset to the Federal Government

We’ve now entered a new phase in this journey toward cloud maturity, as government organizations join their private sector counterparts in embracing this cloud first mindset.

Specifically, many of today’s top government agencies are embracing cloud technology to break free from legacy constraints and become agile enough to keep pace with escalating user and constituent demands alike. For proof, look no further than the US federal government, as CIOs along the Washington DC Beltway now tout the secure and robust environments that cloud technology can create.

Meeting Even the Strictest of Security Requirements in the Cloud

For all the recognition of value, cloud adoption still has a way to go in the federal government space, and that’s in large part due to the strict regulations that govern these agencies.

No one can argue with the fact that our government agencies need to make protecting their data a priority. But we also can’t argue with the fact that the cloud is secure. Because cloud service providers base their entire business models on making their technology secure enough for organizations to use, they invest significantly in maintaining and evolving security, exceeding the capabilities of most individual organizations. In other words, security is a core competency for leading cloud providers.

To help ease the path to cloud adoption for its agencies, the US government has developed a security accreditation known as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). This program is designed to identify cloud solutions that meet the government’s strict security standards in order to make adoption of those accredited solutions faster and easier for agencies since they can streamline the assurance process.

Creating a Turbulent-Free Path to the Cloud with Amazon Web Services

Certifications like FedRAMP go a long way in streamlining cloud adoption for government agencies by certifying the capabilities of cloud service providers, but there’s still quite a bit of assessments agencies must conduct before they can implement new solutions. One such assessment comes when evaluating implementation partners, as agencies need to do their due diligence in vetting these partners.

Recognizing this criticality, Amazon Web Services (AWS)—which is one of several cloud solutions to have earned FedRAMP certification—has taken steps to streamline this part of the process as well in order to lower the barriers to cloud adoption for government agencies even further.

To help create an even smoother process for agencies by streamlining partner evaluations, AWS recently launched a new Partner Competency Program. This program validates the competency of its partners in leading implementations for government agencies and is a noteworthy milestone for the market.

According to AWS, this program recognizes “[p]artners that have demonstrated expertise in working with government customers to deliver mission-critical workloads and applications on AWS.”  When the stakes are as high as they are today, agencies should demand partners with both deep government experience and word-class technical capabilities, and with this program, AWS has taken the lead in working to identify those firms that meet this high standard.

Accenture is delighted to be one of the first firms to earn this accreditation, with demonstrated expertise in meeting the unique requirements for National Security & Defense, Justice & Public Safety, Public Healthcare, Citizen Services and Security & Compliance. Through Accenture Federal Services, our wholly-owned subsidiary, we offer federal agencies a portfolio of cloud services, solutions and capabilities that are both comprehensive and cutting-edge.

Continuing to Innovate in the Cloud

While Accenture is very pleased to have received this government competency accreditation from AWS, we are not complacent. As AWS continues to recognize the unique industry and functional dimensions of cloud computing, we remain committed to evolving alongside the solution in order to stay at the forefront in the federal market.

Learn more about our work with AWS through the Accenture AWS Business Group.

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