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Gov 2.0: Cloud Success Hinges On Collaboration

Microsoft says the private and public sectors must work closely together for government to realize the promises of cloud computing.
As far as policy goes, Smith promoted nationwide access to at least 100-mbps broadband Internet service in the United States as one way the government can help make the most of cloud computing.

Privacy and security also are major issues that demand policy changes, he said. Smith encouraged lawmakers to update outdated laws like the Cable TV Privacy Act of 1984 and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 to make them more relevant to current cloud computing issues.

"Laws need to be modernized," he said. "We need to fill in gaps that have emerged so they are as relevant to the next decade and beyond for the next 25 years."

In his talk, Smith also highlighted Microsoft's own work to bring cloud computing to the public sector, and cited a couple of examples in which the government is using Microsoft's cloud computing offerings -- specifically, Windows Azure and its Business Productivity Suite.

Smith said that Arizona State University is now using Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite -- a bundle of Web-based collaboration and productivity apps -- for 18,000 faculty and staff.

What he didn't mention is that a few years ago, ASU deployed a free version of Google Apps to about 40,000 faculty and students.

Those already using Google Apps will remain there, but ASU chose for security reasons to migrate the 18,000 faculty and staff from on-premises software to BPOS. "They looked at free offerings, but they didn't offer the security that an institution with half a billion in research [money] needed," Smith said.

ASU students in the future will have the option to sign up for Windows Live IDs via Microsoft's [email protected] service.

The city of Miami also is using a Microsoft cloud solution -- Windows Azure, the company's cloud-computing infrastructure -- to power an online 311 information and reporting service for city residents. The move from a telephone-based system to an online system took only eight days to deploy, Smith said.