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Virginia Gov. Northam Pushes State to the Cloud

On Monday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Nineteen, which directs the use of cloud technologies in the Commonwealth’s IT services. The executive order says Virginia must “keep pace with the marketplace” and that the order is designed to ensure the Commonwealth “aggressively incorporates the use of cloud technologies.” The order also stresses that cloud services must be deployed in a way that protects the privacy and security of Commonwealth and citizen data.

“Virginia must continuously evaluate and evolve how information technology (IT) services are used by state agencies to deliver services to our citizens,” Gov. Northam said in a statement. “By incorporating the use of cloud technology, we can continue to make strides on modernizing the Commonwealth’s technology infrastructure and provide Virginians with the rapid and efficient delivery of government services they deserve.”

The executive order comes with extensive measurement and reporting requirements to ensure that cloud technologies are deployed throughout the state government. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) has 60 days after the issuance of the executive order to adopt a model for evaluating and incorporating cloud services where appropriate to support IT services. The executive order also tasks VITA with reporting to the Secretary of Administration on the “status of identifying cloud-ready systems within the Commonwealth” by June 1, 2019. By Sept. 1 of next year, VITA will begin reporting annually to the Secretary of Administration on the progress of migrating systems identified as appropriate for cloud solutions.

According to the executive order, Gov. Northam believes that moving to the cloud will enable the Commonwealth to:

  • “Speed up delivery of business solutions through faster paths to production;
  • Provide flexible solutions capable of quickly adapting to new and changing business solutions;
  • Reduce operations and maintenance requirements for basic needs such as power and space;
  • Provide transparency so that customers are more aware of what they get for their money;
  • Provide service elasticity to support increased citizen needs at peak times; and
  • Provide a structure that allows for a more resilient environment in the case of a disaster or service outage.”

“Virginia is ranked among the best states for IT,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner in a statement. “To remain a leader, we must look at technology options that enhance our systems so state employees can serve our citizens well. Cloud services will provide several benefits, including reducing response time, reducing power and space requirements, and providing for better continuity of service in the event of a disaster or service outage.”

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