The Chief Information Officer of the Federal Government recently released a new plant to shift the majority of government IT into the “cloud” in the near future. This means a decrease in local IT personnel and servers by concentrating government data in larger centers that can be accessed remotely. http://it.slashdot.org/story/10/12/11/1940252/Feds-To-Adopt-Cloud-First-IT-Policy?from=rss Considering the fact that I’m thinking about future IT employment with the federal government, I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. Interestingly, the US Department of Agriculture decided to contract with Microsoft to shift its communications and productivity software to the cloud. The Microsoft data center is located locally in Chicago and will handle all of these services for the Department. The quote about sums it up: “Basically, the car we owned was getting ready for a major engine overhaul,” he said. “All our servers were at least three years old. We’re going from owning the car and paying for the tires, the oil, and the upkeep to basically buying a Zip car that’s wherever we need it, whenever we need it.” (http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/Features/2010/dec10/12-08USDA.mspx). This is a major advance for cloud computing, which will likely have a major impact in how companies handle their IT needs. I’ll be interested to see how the government works to ensure information security when working so heavily with private companies.