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i-Government : Trusted Services Cloud infrastructure

Governments can greatly reduce costs and improve citizen engagement through one exercise of moving to Open Source Clouds

Governments moving to Cloud will be such a major stimulant for the market not just because their spending can act as an ‘anchor client’ for helping new local start-up businesses, those creating local “Green Data-centres”, but because they literally have to play an essential role in creating the Cloud itself.

To explain this consider the concept of “i-Government”, rather than e-Government, simply to reflect the role Identity technologies will play. Universal adoption of standards like OpenID will enable ‘single sign-on’ across all web applications, including those of government.

This will streamline access for users and the Web 2.0 software that uses it and provides web site features will most likely run in the Cloud.

Identity-enabled Open Government

Barak Obama announced the Whitehouse ‘Open Government‘ initiative to improve transparency throughout American politics but it can also refer to Open Source software and also open standards.

Plone is one example of Web 2.0 software that can enable these types of citizen engagement portals, it supports OpenID, and it can run on Cloud systems. Furthermore these Cloud platforms themselves can also be FOSS, Rackspace working with NASA being one example, so this can all be fully Open, top to bottom.

This means it presents a very powerful ROI business case: Governments can greatly reduce costs and improve citizen engagement through one exercise of moving to Open Source Clouds.

Open Identity systems can play a key catalyst role because they can streamline bureaucracy, one of the biggest headaches and costs of government process, and they are also being baked into the specifications for Cloud service providers. It’s also these areas that are the sweet spots for business venture development.

For example in the UK where they recently announced funding for projects to establish a “trusted identities infrastructure”, with the USA doing a similar initiative. These same systems are being called for in Cloud design best practices and so will be the common infrastructure to each.

For example in the recent DMTF Cloud Architecture documents they describe ’Cloud Management Interface Security’ in section 7.6 which features:

The Cloud service provider should provide identity services that permit customers to provision and manage identities that can be authenticated and authorized to access cloud services using standardized mechanisms

The Cloud service provider should provide services that establish trust relationships between itself and customers or other service providers using standarized techniques.

They list a number of other specifications for identity management facilities, and as this Terremark case study illustrates it is these types of features that are key to government cloud outsourcing.

It explains how the mega-busy has been outsourced to Terremark’s Enterprise Cloud service to liquify their cost cash flow through ’Cloud Bursting Efficiency’, but also to adopt enhanced multi-factor authentication for identity-enablement too.

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