Overview and Issues for Implementation of the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management [February 3, 2014] [open pdf - 460KB]
"Cloud computing is a new name for an old concept: the delivery of computing services from a remote location, analogous to the way electricity, water, and other utilities are provided to most customers. […] Since 2009, the federal government has been shifting its data storage needs to cloud-based services and away from agency-owned data centers. This shift is intended to reduce the total investment by the federal government in information technology (IT) (data centers), as well as realize other stated advantages of cloud adoption: efficiency, accessibility, collaboration, rapidity of innovation, reliability, and security. In December 2010, the U.S. Chief Information Officer (CIO) released 'A 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management' as part of a comprehensive effort to increase the operational efficiency of federal technology assets. One element of the 25-Point Plan is for agencies to shift to a 'Cloud First' policy, which is being implemented through the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. […] However, there are challenges facing agencies as they make this shift. […] Congress has a number of means to monitor the status of the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative (FCCI). Individual committees may wish to monitor agencies under their jurisdiction by holding hearings; requesting review of an agency's status through the agency itself or a GAO study; and/or assessing an agency's progress and projected goals against the stated goals of the FCCI."
CRS Report for Congress, R42887