Federal Agencies are Finding their way to Cloud Services in increasing Numbers

Federal agencies are finding their way to cloud services in increasing numbers, and through a variety of mission-specific motivations. Far from a one-size-fits-all mindset, agency decisions to undertake cloud migrations need to be evaluated through multiple project outcome priorities. Here’s a rundown of some recent agency moves to the cloud, with some advice from solutions provider Force 3 about steps that may make the move easier.

Dropbox Benefited from Strong Customer Growth in Most Recent Quarter

Dropbox, which provides a cloud-based file storage platform that’s popular with enterprises, said it benefited from strong customer growth in the most recent quarter. It said it now counts 15.48 million paying users, versus 14.31 million in the same quarter a year ago. Average revenue per paying user was also up, from $125 per user last year to $130.17 now. Thanks to that, Dropbox said, its annual recurring revenue hit $2.022 billion, up 11% from a year ago. “Dropbox’s results, especially topping $2 billion in annual recurring revenue, offer a snapshot of a company that’s well on its way to delivering sustainably solid enterprise-class performance,” said analyst Charles King of Pund-IT Inc. “The growth in both customer acquisition and revenue per user suggests the company and its executive leadership are on the right path.”

Cloud computing has become Amazon’s biggest moneymaker and funds Amazon’s efforts in other areas

Amazon shocked investors last week when the company announced that CEO Jeff Bezos would step down and transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter. What wasn’t nearly as surprising was the company’s decision to draft Andy Jassy, chief of Amazon Web Services (AWS), to assume the role of CEO. Cloud computing has become the company’s biggest moneymaker and funds Amazon’s efforts in other areas. On this clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on Feb. 3, “The Wrap” host Jason Hall discusses the move and what it says about the company’s future.

The lens that Amazon’s management views the company is through AWS – Jason Hall

I’ve got three points. One is a reflection on yesterday. My biggest take from yesterday was, and it’s remained the case. I think I said that most people, even a lot of investors, view Amazon through the lens of Amazon.com, through that retail business. It drives most of the revenues and it’s how most people know about the company. The lens that Amazon’s management views the company is through AWS [Amazon Web Services]. I think that that’s largely the case because there is no doubt that that’s the most, in terms of cash flow generation, that’s the most important part of the business. It generates an enormous amount of the operating cash flows that carry through. That’s important.

United States: Department of Defense will Reassess its Cloud-Computing Options

The Department of Defense will reassess its cloud-computing options if a federal court does not dismiss allegations of improper influence in the contract process for the project worth billions, a new DoD memo said. The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, awarded to Microsoft in October 2019, would provide a department-wide platform needed to develop artificial intelligence and computing capabilities for war fighters at the tactical edge. But if the U.S Court of Federal Claims clears the way for Amazon Web Service’s interference allegations against former President Donald Trump over the JEDI project, the Pentagon warned that “the prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI cloud procurement into question,” according to the memo from the DoD CIO office to Congress.

Aggressive Cloud Strategy Proved its Mettle During Pandemic – Brad Peterson, Nasdaq CIO & CTO

Nasdaq Inc.’s enterprise technology leader (Brad Peterson, the exchange operator’s executive vice president and chief technology and information officer) said an aggressive cloud strategy that proved its mettle during the pandemic helped gird the exchange operator’s systems for shocks like this week’s market turmoil. Brad Peterson, the exchange operator’s executive vice president and chief technology and information officer, said the company used prior peaks in trading activity as benchmarks to ensure it had enough computing capacity in its own data centers to handle sharp swings in demand. But the exchange operator also lightened the load by shifting data-intensive processing and storage apps onto the cloud, which can be scaled on demand.

Nasdaq’s Ongoing Investments in Cloud allow it to Quickly adjust to these Kinds of Events – Brad Peterson, Nasdaq CIO & CTO

Mr. Peterson said the company’s ongoing investments in the cloud allow it to quickly adjust to these kinds of events. Cloud systems and apps are hosted on data centers operated by third-party providers, including tech giants such as Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, that enable users to rapidly scale computing needs, based on demand, with far greater ease than in their data centers. Nasdaq’s 10-year plan to migrate its markets to the cloud predates the onset of Covid-19. Last year, that included shifting a key platform, where traders access its options markets, to Amazon Web Services. Among other services, Nasdaq provides customers with a set of cloud-based tools for performing computing-heavy data analytics, such as risk calculations.

Microsoft Fiscal 2nd Quarter Sales Up by 17%, Thanks to buoyant Demand for Corporate Cloud-Computing Services

Microsoft Corp. said fiscal second-quarter sales rose 17%, a faster clip than analysts projected, thanks to buoyant demand for corporate cloud-computing services and software tools that support at-home workers. Shares rose in late trading. Growth in the company’s Azure cloud-computing division jumped 50%. Microsoft has benefited as many corporate clients have accelerated a shift to the cloud, where they can store data and run applications via the internet, and as businesses set up work teams with online productivity tools and teleconferencing software.

Microsoft’s Cloud Business Shows no Signs of Slowing Down, with a Revenue Increase of 23% Compared to Last Year

Microsoft’s cloud business shows no signs of slowing down, with a revenue increase of 23 percent compared to last year, it’s also seeing strong growth when it comes to the PC market in general. Its More Personal Computing business, which includes Windows, Surface and Xbox, rose 14 percent over last year to reach $15.1 billion. Analysts expected that segment to earn $13.55 billion. Not surprisingly, the company also saw a 40 percent increase in Xbox content ands services, as well as an 86 percent increase in Xbox hardware sales, both thanks to the release of its next generation consoles.

Cloud Infrastructure Markets are Primarily Focused in North America and Western European Regions

The cloud infrastructure market is growing at a CAGR of 11.3% during the forecast period 2015–2020. The market growth is mainly due to the growing deployment of new cloud infrastructure setups as well as upgrading of existing cloud infrastructure setups to meet the increasing demand. The cloud infrastructure markets are primarily focused in North America and Western European regions. There has been a rapid growth to some extent in Asia Pacific region in the last two to three years. One of the major trends in the market is the need to fulfil customer demands and reach the customer expectations. The majority of the projects in the Western Europe region are adopting IaaS service to build the ecosystem faster and offer better services to their clients. However, legal and regulatory issues are concerning the majority of the vendors present in the market. Some of the vendors for cloud infrastructure are AT&T, AWS, Bluelock, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, RackSpace, Red Hat, and VMware.

Executive order from Donald Trump will require Infrastructure-as-a-Service Providers to Log Identity of Foreign Clients

An eleventh-hour executive order from then-president Donald Trump will require infrastructure-as-a-service providers to log the identity of foreign clients. By decree, the Department of Commerce has 180 days to instate regulations requiring IaaS services, defined as cloud services that allow users to run software that is not predefined, to verify the identity of all foreign customers. The secretary of Commerce is also directed to establish which, if any, foreign countries or persons should be universally denied service. Similar “know your customer” rules exist in the financial sector. The order was signed Tuesday, Trump’s last day in office.

Standards Set for the App not Applied to Twitter or Facebook – Parler CEO John Matze

After Google and Apple dropped Parler app from Play Store and App Store respectively for allegedly instigating violence in US Capitol, Parler Chief Executive John Matze claimed that standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler. Matze, who describes himself as a libertarian, founded Parler in 2018 as a “free-speech driven” alternative to mainstream platforms but began courting right-leaning users as prominent supporters of Trump moved there. “Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user-generated content on Parler,” Matze said.

Amazon Kicked Social Media Platform Parler off its Web Hosting Services Over US Capitol Siege

Amazon has kicked Parler off its Web hosting services. Parler, a social network favored by conservative politicians and extremists, was used to help plan and coordinate the January 6 attempted coup on Washington D.C. It has recently been overrun with messages encouraging “Patriots” to march on Washington D.C. with weapons on January 19. Amazon’s suspension of Parler’s account means that unless it can find another host, once the ban takes effect on Sunday Parler will go offline.

North America is Estimated to Account for Largest Share of Global Cloud VPN Market

North America is estimated to account for the largest share of the global cloud VPN market, whereas Asia Pacific is projected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to technological advancements and increased adoption of cloud VPN applications across various industry verticals such as BFSI, healthcare, manufacturing and IT and telecommunication among others. The expansion of the ecommerce sector and increasing investments in the IT sector can provide a stimulus to the market. Machine-to-machine communications and analytics platforms can facilitate the growth of the North America cloud VPN market.

Cloud Software Solutions Company LogicGate Announced it Raised $8.75 Million in Growth Capital from Greenspring Associates & Silicon Valley Bank

LogicGate — a cloud software solutions for automating governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) processes through its Risk Cloud platform — announced it raised $8.75 million in growth capital from Greenspring Associates and Silicon Valley Bank. This round of funding will fuel LogicGate’s growth trajectory as the company revenue grew by over 100% in the past year driven by significant customer demand for the Risk Cloud product.

US would Prohibit Chinese Cloud Companies from Storing & Processing Data on US Citizens & Businesses

The United States is beginning to advance its own version of digital sovereignty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Clean Network Initiative would prohibit Chinese cloud companies from storing and processing data on US citizens and businesses. And while the Biden administration will likely roll back many actions taken under President Trump, the prospect of compelling ByteDance to sell TikTok to Oracle or run its US operations through a local partner remains on the table. This could set a dangerous precedent: the US government would be mirroring and legitimizing China’s cloud regulations, which require foreign providers to enter the market only through joint ventures with Chinese companies that own majority shares.

With an Eye Towards Cloud Migration, Federal Election Commission (FEC) US issued a Request for Information (RFI)

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued a request for information (RFI) to gather information about support for legacy applications, with an eye towards cloud migration. In the Dec. 17 RFI, the FEC said it wants information about services to provide support and development for legacy applications. The FEC said this effort also includes helping the Commission move to a “modern, state of the art, cloud-based, secure, platform-independent environment.”

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) US is Looking for Cloud-Based Patient Check-In App

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is looking to streamline healthcare delivery for the roughly nine million veterans it serves through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). As part of its modernization efforts, the VA is seeking a cloud-based Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) mobile app for patient check-in. In a Dec. 15 solicitation posted on Beta.Sam.gov, the VA said it is looking for an app that is designed especially for the healthcare industry. To help modernize the VA to a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model, the VA said that the VHA is seeking a viable solution that easily allows for the transferability of data from one commercial vendor to another.

Appetize Technologies selected by Hale & Hearty Soups Gourmet Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain to upgrade Point of Sale Operations in New York City

Appetize Technologies, Inc. was selected by Hale & Hearty Soups gourmet fast-casual restaurant chain to upgrade point of sale operations at all 20 locations in New York City, Long Island, and Boston. Following a successful October pilot at the Herald Square location in Manhattan, Hale & Hearty systematically rolled out Appetize’s advanced cloud technology at over half its restaurants and will continue the full, chain-wide deployment that concludes end of January 2021.