Sunday, April 21

Arizona Heads for the Clouds

A new bill in Arizona could require all state-run departments to move their information data into the cloud — or else face jail time.

Senate Bill 1434 stipulates that all Arizona state IT services must “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.” Each unit will be assessed and evaluated every two years to ensure that all materials are properly cloud-stored; information officers who fail to comply may face charges. The bill currently awaits approval from Governor Doug Ducey.

The new bill is the brainchild of Arizona’s chief information officer Morgan Reed, a former director of data center services for Expedia. “Governor Ducey has a vision for Arizona to move at the speed of business. So the question should be, why not the cloud?” Reed says.

“The private sector has been leveraging cloud technologies to securely deliver some of the most trusted services we all use on a daily basis. Government needs the same benefits that the cloud provides to the private sector: agility, scalability and reliability, as well as an operational expense model that allows us to only pay for what we are using every month.”

The bill is intended as incentive for branches of the state legislature to update and maintain their technology systems rather than as a punitive measure. The mandatory implementation of cloud services promises to save money, increase efficiency, and improve security for state operations.

If the bill succeeds, it could brand Arizona as the most cloud-oriented state in the nation and set a tech-driven example for other legislatures. Federal-level government IT services likewise plan to reduce data center infrastructure costs by 30% by switching to cloud-based computing.

S.B. 1434 might be a rare instance where government bureaucracy actually helps the public realm keep up with the private sector. Arizona’s government may not be Silicon Valley, but its history as a frontier state continues to lead the country into new territory.

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