It appears that the improved reliability and security of cloud computing is attracting more law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the latest agency looking to migrate applications to a commercial cloud provider.

CBP’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) is conducting market research, via a Request for Information (RFI), to develop an acquisition strategy to acquire cloud services for data center migration and contractor support for that migration. CBP wants to migrate all its applications out of its National Data Center in Springfield, Virginia to the cloud by the end of October 2022.

The FBI, the nation’s top law enforcement agency, is also considering a move to a large-scale, commercial software cloud provider. The FBI’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) recently issued an RFI to better understand commercial cloud capabilities. In accordance with the government’s “Cloud First” policy, the FBI is seeking ways to optimize the tools, functions, capabilities, security risk management, and products that can support multiple business processes and architectures within the FBI’s enterprise systems.

CBP’s CIO has undertaken an initiative to transform the way OIT provides IT support to CBP offices. This transformation initiative will replace CBP’s aging IT infrastructure and enable CBP’s applications to better utilize cloud technologies that allow for high availability, flexibility, and capacity on demand, according to CBP officials.

CBP is also looking to shutter data centers and consolidate resources as mandated by the Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). In migrating the data center, CBP is following the direction of these mandates, adhering to a freeze for new data centers, consolidation and closure of existing data centers, and transition to a more efficient infrastructure such as cloud services and inter-agency shared services, officials said. FITARA requires the consolidation and closure of existing data centers, transitioning physical equipment to infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a service cloud solutions.

The cloud is better poised to lock up law enforcement data than it was several years ago because cloud providers have pushed for stronger reliability standards, and major players such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft have launched cloud platforms with a government focus as well as secret regions that can operate workloads up to the Secret U.S. security classification level, according to Paul Wormeli, head of Wormeli Consulting, and executive director emeritus of the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute (IJISI).

Improved reliability of the cloud will help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives execute its mission better, according to Walter Bigelow, chief of the IT systems management division in the Office of Science and Technology at ATF, which is moving to become a 100 percent cloud-enabled agency. For example, in the event of gun violence, the agency could surge its cloud services to allow officials to have better access to gun data, Bigelow said at the MeriTalk and NetApp’s Cloud Connect event on Nov. 8, 2017.

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