Cloud computing at the EEOC

The following answers were given to FCB by Kimberly Hancher, Chief Information Officer in the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We sent the survey to several federal agencies.

Federal Cloud Blog: Does your agency/organization used shared services in IT? If so please describe.

Kimberly Hancher: [The EEOC uses the] Federal Provider of Shared Services – Interior Department’s National Business Center for payroll/personnel system and financial management system; [and] the Office of Personnel Management for USAStaffing.

[The EEOC also uses] commercial service providers [for] Web hosting, application hosting, Web conferencing, training and reservation/payment system.

[We use] cloud computing for piloting Google Apps (about 30 users).

FCB: If you do use shared services, what was your motivation? Have the results been what you expected? What has not gone as well as you’d expected.

KH: [We feel that] shared services from public or private service providers make sense when your agency needs a service outside the core competency of the internal IT organization.

FCB: Now let’s talk about cloud computing. We’ll define it as having a third party host your applications and storage, accessible via the Internet in a business model in which you pay.

KH: [The EEOC is currently] piloting and using cloud computing.

Last year we awarded a contract to host our public facing Web site and our public facing applications. We began using this service this year.

We are also piloting a Google Apps Premier for e-mail, document storage, Web sites, instant messaging, Web conferencing and other collaboration.

FCB: If you are investigating, piloting or using, which services are part of your efforts: storage; e-mail; other communications, such as instant messaging; office productivity applications; or agency-specific applications.

KH: [We are using cloud computing] for agency-specific applications.

FCB: Please describe your service level agreement, for example, what is required in terms of up time, how fast new users are provisioned, security. That is, what are you getting contractually?

KH: We have 99.9 percent availability during core business hours users provisioned within one day SAS70 and C&A process.

FCB: Describe how you pay for cloud services. For example, per user? per hour agencywide? Is there an initial startup fee for the agency? For each user as he or she is added?

KH: [For] federal – start up costs, operations and maintenance recurring fees, and per user fees. [For] Google – no startup, only per user fees. [For] hosting – startup and recurring fixed annual fee.

FCB: Is your cloud coming from a commercial entity, another agency, or your own agency?

KH: The only one of the above that is truly cloud computing is Google (a commercial entity).

FCB: Were there any unexpected issues that arose when you initialized your cloud arrangement? If so, please describe it/them.

KH: No

FCB: Who (by position, not individual) was part of the decision to move to the cloud model?

KH: Our e-mail administrators and CIO.

FCB: Please describe the non-technical issues you had to work through for cloud. For example, agency culture, skepticism from the technology shop or other contractors.

KH: We invited speakers to brief technical staff and managers about cloud computing so they could develop a basic understanding.

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