Federal procurement officials are looking to make it easier for agencies and cloud vendors to execute contracts.
The General Services Administration has released a request for information asking for examples of “preferred contract language” to incorporate into federal requirements to make it more efficient for agencies to buy cloud computing tools.
The GSA is attempting to create contract language guidance for agencies to use in their cloud acquisitions through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. FedRAMP was launched to accelerate cloud adoption in the federal government by providing security controls that ultimately dictate baseline standards that cloud firms have to meet.
But the program continues to be met with mixed reviews from federal CIOs, according to a recent survey by Grant Thornton, and cloud vendors are still raising concerns about inconsistent or unclear requirements.
“We hear a lot from industry that agencies do not provide clear requirements for cloud services or ascribe legacy requirements to this new paradigm,” the RFI says. “These discrepancies seem particularly pronounced around things like deployment models, portability, interoperability, data ownership, SLAs, migration requirements, integration requirements with agency systems, etc.”
Federal agencies have been required to consider cloud solutions to cut IT costs and improve efficiencies under a “Cloud First” policy put in place by the Obama administration. But federal CIOs say they continue to struggle with procurement and management challenges, while security concerns around sensitive data still linger. As a result, cloud adoption has been stymied in many cases at federal agencies.
Some agencies have even started their own dialogue with the cloud industry in an attempt to find common ground. For example, Pentagon officials, frustrated with the slow pace of migration, recently engaged in active talks with cloud providers to revise, or even completely replace, internal rules for cloud security.
In this case, GSA has asked for feedback on its GitHub page of “examples of both positive and problematic clauses so that we may develop better guidance that leads to better outcomes for both government and industry. We’re also looking for new and creative examples of industry suggested contract language that could be leveraged as well.”
According to the RFI, this particular “partnership with industry would help all of us better scope and scale the adoption of cloud technologies and associated services with even more detailed guidance.”
Responses are due by Dec. 15.