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Contributing Writer

Cloud Computing — Take It Slow

Apr 01, 20102 mins
Cisco SystemsCloud ComputingData and Information Security

State of Michigan rolls out cloud computing services in easy to consume bites

Nothing changes overnight in IT. Even organizations on the cutting edge tend to cautiously adopt new technologies. Heck, they are even doing this with Windows 7 even though we’ve all been running Windows since the early 1990s.The same holds true for Cloud Computing. Yes, cloud is the new new thing to quote Michael Lewis, and it does have the potential to radically alter the way applications are written, deployed, operated, and managed. That said, expect a slow steady migration like all other IT transitions.The State of Michigan is a great example of this mindset. Michigan is a visible leader in the transition to cloud computing and state CIO Ken Theis has been a visible public sector cloud evangelist. Michigan is also in the process of building the technology foundation for cloud computing — a new 100,000 square foot data center and a state-wide fiber network. Yet with all of this activity, the state is being extremely deliberate in its cloud computing deployment. The initial pilot is really focused on a subset of a subset of cloud computing, cloud-based storage capacity. Cloud storage is offered to local governments, Universities, and departments for non-sensitive data. The state Department of Transportation is a prime consumer of this service.Michigan wants to have 5 to 8 services running by the end of the month. Eventually it will offer many more services, compete with public sector options, and create a chargeback system to its cloud consumers. The goal? Improve automation and data sharing across the state while lowering costs. Michigan is well aware of the security holes in cloud computing today so it will stick with non-sensitive applications and data for now while it watches progress.With this plan is Michigan really a cloud visionary? I believe it is but Theis is also being prudent and patient as well. To paraphrase Alexander Pope, “fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.” Michigan may be taking its time, but it is learning lessons and gaining experience now so it can improve services and cut costs sooner rather than later.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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