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Commentary: California’s Journey from ‘Cloud Chaos’ to ‘Cloud Smart’

“Now, in one of our largest policy updates in a decade, CDT has aligned the state’s cloud strategy with the federal government’s Cloud Smart approach,” writes state Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Porat.

The following commentary first appeared in Wednesday's edition of CDT Connect, the tech blog of the California Department of Technology. It has been edited lightly for style.

Ten years ago, the California Department of Technology (CDT) released its last major cloud computing policy. CDT’s last cloud policy relied on a “Cloud First” mindset. Back then “The Cloud” was an exciting alternative to outmoded infrastructure solutions. State entities were excited about the possibilities of this generally new technology, and focus was on moving to the cloud. Since then, much has changed. Technology became more complicated as we shifted from “The Cloud” to many cloud offerings. Tech leaders moved workloads and applications to a variety of different cloud environments without a centralized approach, clear digital road map, or documented architecture. State entities took advantage of the wide variety of cloud-based options, further individualizing the state’s technology infrastructure and creating even more complexity. By embracing Cloud First, the state came to find itself in the middle of Cloud Chaos.

Now, in one of our largest policy updates in a decade, CDT has aligned the state’s cloud strategy with the federal government’s Cloud Smart approach. These changes allow for the state to take a more sophisticated approach to cloud computing, to embrace enhanced security measures and deliver an improved, collaborative approach for our state partners.

California Cloud Smart focuses on five key components of successful cloud adoption:
  • State partnerships
  • Security
  • Architecture
  • Procurement
  • State workforce

The California Cloud Services Program offers access to the various cloud services provided by CDT, which give customers the ability to use highly flexible, well-tested, and secure cloud infrastructure while taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies and reducing up-front costs. CDT Managed Cloud Services provides several platform options, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and both on-premises and off-premises solutions.

New with Cloud Smart, CDT has implemented the California Cloud Services Assessment (CCSA) process for state partners looking to integrate off-premises cloud services into their technology portfolio. The CCSA requires state entities to collaborate with CDT on their cloud design and planning documentation, which allows CDT to ensure alignment with IT security, architecture, procurement, and workforce requirements and best practices to meet service and business objectives. State partners can review the 3 Steps to Success for a quick guide on how the CCSA works.

California Cloud Smart and the California Cloud Services Program provide a path for agencies and state entities to collaborate on the most safe and secure cloud infrastructure and will provide support to achieve consistent, maintainable, cost-efficient delivery of services. With CDT’s updated cloud policies, we are excited to get our partners out of cloud chaos and toward cloud success.
Jonathan Porat was named California's state chief technology officer in June. Previously, he has served as a policy analyst in the federal Office of Management and Budget, as an economist for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and as the city of Seattle's technology client engagement manager.