Arizona may force CIOs to adopt the cloud

Go cloud or go to jail? A law sent to the governor of Arizona would force a review every two years of systems not using cloud technology

Move to the cloud -- or else! That's the basic thrust of a proposed Arizona state law, S.B. 1434, now awaiting Governor Doug Ducey's approval or veto. This law would require state agencies to shift their IT resources and operations to the cloud (public and/or private).

Here how it reads:

The department shall adopt a policy that establishes a two-year hardware, platform, and software refresh evaluation cycle for budget units that requires each budget unit to evaluate and progressively migrate the budget unit's information technology assets to use a commercial cloud computing model or cloud model as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The policy must direct budget units to consider purchasing and using cloud computing services before making any new information technology or telecommunications investment.

If adopted, this law would put an end to anticloud foot-dragging by Arizona state agencies. CIOs could risk jail time for noncompliance.

If the proposal becomes law and is successful, count on other states to follow the same path. That would be a good development because state agencies have built a whole lot of planet-heating data centers over the last 20 years and are planning to build many more.

State agencies' IT leaders have claimed they can't use the cloud due to security and privacy issues (the usual objections), but in the last few years these arguments have proven untrue. Indeed, if done right, state agencies will enjoy better security than they now get from traditional data centers and platforms.

The endless hand-wringing over the use of the cloud needs to end. It may take laws such as this to get at least the public sector moving in the right direction. It might even save them -- and thus all of us -- money.


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