FEDweek

Report Lays Out IT Modernization Challenges

Federal agencies’ efforts to modernize their IT systems “have been stymied as a result of a variety of factors, including resource prioritization, ability to procure services quickly, and technical issues,” a study by the White House-convened American Technology Council has said.

A draft report posted on the CIO Council site is seeking comment on “how to modernize the security and functionality of federal IT, allow the federal government to improve service delivery, and focus effort and resources on what is most important to customers of government services.”

Common challenges for agencies, the draft says, include automating their manual processes, deploying patches both responsively and preventatively, and transitioning away from unsupported software.

It calls for a “modern federal IT architecture where agencies are able to maximize secure use of cloud computing, modernize government-hosted applications, and securely maintain legacy systems”; a “move from protection of their network perimeters and managing legacy physical deployments toward protection of federal data and cloud-optimized deployments”; “consolidating and improving acquisition of network services so that management of security services for networks are consolidated where possible and managed to high standards”; and a “risk-based approach that focuses agency resources on their highest value assets.”

It recommends steps including consolidating and standardizing network and security service acquisition, adopting centralized offerings for commodity IT, improving contract vehicles to help agencies acquire commercial cloud products that meet government standards, and accelerating adoption of cloud email and collaboration tools.