California Launches Integrated Cloud Platform for State and Local Agencies

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State and local government agencies across the nation’s most-populous state will now have access to a new cloud platform that’s being touted as the first such system to be deployed in the United States at the state level.

CalCloud, developed and managed by IBM through a private-public partnership and administered through the California Department of Technology, is available to all state and local government agencies in the Golden State on a subscription basis.

According to the CalCloud announcement, released Thursday:

Instead of separate IT systems for each department, the CalCloud service model allows government entities to share a common pool of computing resources and operate much more efficiently than they do today. Immediate access to modern back-end services frees up state departments to focus on projects with direct impact on the public.

“CalCloud is an important step towards providing faster and more cost effective IT services to California state departments and ultimately to the citizens of California,” Marybel Batjer, secretary of California’s Government Operations Agency, said in the official announcement.

More than 20 state agencies have already requested IT services through CalCloud, according to the announcement.

“Transforming how the State of California delivers technology services is not only more efficient and cost effective, it will spur innovation with cloud capabilities that are open and secure,” Erich Clementi, senior vice president at IBM Global Technology Services, said in a statement. “California is setting an example for other states on how to use cloud technology to improve coordination across agencies and municipalities while reducing the barriers and duplication that can impede the delivery of government services.”

As Jerry Mechling, research vice president at Gartner Inc., wrote earlier this year at Governing, governments have been slow to embrace cloud computing, especially at the state and local level:

The problem is that the national, regional and local entities are working on their own cloud applications and, by and large, ignoring the benefits of working together. As a result, we're much slower than we ought to be in mobilizing movement to the cloud. This is particularly true of local governments, which, though smaller individually, are huge in their needs for better IT services.

CalCloud’s integrated state-local structure changes the legacy model of separate IT systems that many states and local governments have relied on for years. And as Information Week pointed out Thursday, that will lead to one major improvement for California residents who interact with state agencies: a single sign-on system that “will authenticate users to access services that usually require individual registrations.”

CalCloud meets security standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and FedRAMP. Other CalCloud partners include AT&T, and consulting firms Alexan International, and KPMG, which will help with migration issues and helping agencies migrate to the new cloud platform.

(Image via Lyudmila Suvorova/Shutterstock.com)

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