Social Security Administration will use cloud for low-risk applications

Frank Baitman is chief information officer at the Social Security Administration.

If you listened to last week’s Ask the CIO on Federal News Radio, you know that Baitman came from the private sector with extensive experience in e-business.

Now, he’s at SSA, and tells Fed Cloud Blog all about why he’s taking a look at cloud computing.

FB: As most federal agencies are, we’re looking at cloud computing and, initially, we’re going to look at using the cloud for low-risk applications, and we’ll be working with other federal agencies to make sure that we share our FISMA certifications on the cloud — whether or not we have that cloud hosted by the federal government or we look to industry to host it.

FCB: When you say ‘low risk’, can you give us an example, maybe, of what [that] is?

FB: We haven’t made any decisions yet, but something like our website. That’s something that might be better hosted outside where you can have scalability, reliability and lower costs, than if we host it internally.

FCB: We imagine even something like public affairs press releases — and stuff like that — stuff you want to get the word out to the public on?

FB: Something where there are probably going to be erratic hits. So, on particular days of the month, for instance, there are going to be a lot of hits on our website and it’s better if someone who can scale that with additional servers hosts that. They can probably do it for a lot less money than we can do it internally.

FCB: You have also talked about modernizing your Citizen Services. A lot of that contains, obviously, some sensitive information. If I want to log on to find out how much Social Security I get when I’m [older], I can do that, but that’s obviously sensitive. Is that something that you think could ever go into the cloud?

FB: That’s something for the distant future, I guess I’d say. There’s a lot we can do nearer term that’s lower risk. There’s no reason to put that out there. . . . If we properly architect [it], we can put the application out there, but keep the data secure within Social Security.

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