With projects ranging from safer Web browsing to a 21st century air traffic control system, federal, state, and local agencies demonstrate that they, too, can apply IT in critical and novel ways.
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While other federal agencies tiptoe into cloud computing, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board jumped in with both feet. In April, the board transitioned its public-facing website, Recovery.gov, from on-premises IT infrastructure to Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud, making it one of the first government agencies to place such a big bet on a commercial cloud service. Orchestrated by the board's IT contractor, Smartronix, the move will lead to an estimated $750,000 in savings over 18 months, while freeing up hardware and software for other uses. The board figures that its site is actually more secure than before, because it now has two layers of security -- its own, plus that provided by Amazon.