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GPO First Legislative Agency to Move to the Cloud

The GPO produces all government documents (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

The U.S. Government Printing Office became the first legislative branch agency to transition to "cloud" technology, announcing Tuesday that the agency's email system will move to the cloud by January.  

“Moving the agency’s email services to the cloud will simplify our IT infrastructure enabling us to use those resources more effectively," GPO Chief Information Officer Chuck Riddle said in a statement.  

Riddle told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview that the GPO has been planning to transition to the cloud for the past year and a half and data security was a key consideration. "Everything we do we obviously approach it from a security mindset first and foremost,” said Riddle. He noted the cloud was not public, but for government use only. The GPO cloud was certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, an agency that ensures security of government data clouds. Riddle said, "It's completely locked down." FedRAMP launched in 2012 after the White House directed dozens of executive agencies to move to the cloud. The administration's "Cloud First Initiative" aimed "to reap savings and service improvements."  

Riddle noted that while executive agencies have made the switch, the GPO was the first legislative agency to do so, though he suspected other legislative agencies were planning on transitioning to the cloud as well. The CIO said email was "a good first step" in the transition, which could include other GPO services, though he did not specify which services would switch.  

Riddle said transitioning email will allow for faster messaging, video collaboration and enhanced file-sharing capabilities. The GOP release announcing the move also noted the new email system would provide larger mailboxes and archives, anti-spam and malware services, and technology for online meetings.  

GPO employees and contractors will utilize the new email, which is run through Microsoft Office. Riddle said the GPO looked at a number of different options for the email system, but said using Microsoft would be a smoother transition since the agency is already familiar with it.  

Riddle also said the switch is part of the agency's transition to providing more digital services.  

“It’s about trying to do more with less and to continue to deliver new services faster,” Riddle said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to do things better.”  

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