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IBM Supports Federal Cloud Services

IBM, one of the original industry pioneers, hasn't enjoyed the level of popularity that once was. Despite this fact, the team at IBM is still able to attract some highly prolific partnerships, including the recent venture in tandem with the U.S. government. Known as the Federal Cloud Innovation Center and located in Washington, D.C., the newly formed agency was assembled in order to facilitate the integration of cloud technology into existing government networks through the United States. Considering the fact that they've already hired approximately 500 employees to support their initial operations, it's safe to say that they are ready to move forward with the project in full.

Why the IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center?

The official website for the IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center, located at www.ibm.com/federal/fcic, states six specific reasons for the formation of the IBM FCIC. Through the FCIC, both IBM and the U.S. government hope to induce new innovations in cloud computing technology, educate consumers and business owners on how to best utilize cloud technology, increase collaborations within local communities, solve complex network framework impediments, demonstrate the effectiveness of cloud computing applications and integrate IBM's cloud computing offerings into a centralized, user-friendly gateway. Another one of the partnership's primary goals is to introduce a set of open standards for use in cloud computing applications throughout all federal government buildings and networks.

"As agencies look to the cloud for IT cost savings and innovation, the Federal Cloud Innovation Center will help government agencies explore and understand why adopting open standards for cloud computing is the right path to meeting this goal." Anne Altman, general manager of IBM's U.S. Federal division, said.

Maintaining Security

As one might expect, security is a top priority regarding IBM's FCIC. With such highly confidential and sensitive data at stake, the team at IBM must take extra steps to safeguard the government's information. According to a statement released by IBM representatives, the company is actively working on new security developments, including proprietary methods of data encryption for use specifically with their cloud services. IBM will also be providing federal agencies access to their extensive collection of APIs, which include approximately 3,600 system configurations. With such a high number of APIs available immediately, agencies that are completely new to cloud computing will be able to make the transition quickly, easily and securely.

To bolster the security protocol with the FCIC, IBM has tapped a number of additional resources. This includes a platform known as SmartCloud for Government, which provides total adherence to the security standards outlined in the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Government Contracts

The government's General Services Administration, also known as the GSA, has already agreed to a $30 million contract over the course of the next five years. In exchange, IBM will spearhead the GSA's brand new cloud infrastructure, which includes industry analytics and a streamlined order management system.

Another, even more lucrative contract between IBM and the U.S. government, involves the Department of the Interior (DOI). One of only 10 companies chosen for the job, IBM is expected to generate up to $1 billion for handling the agency's new cloud architecture.

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