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Hawaii Adopts ‘Cloud-First’ Policy for IT Projects

Hawaii is prioritizing cloud-based technology for all new state government IT projects.

Hawaii has formally adopted a cloud-first mandate for all new information technology projects in the state.

The policy requires state departments to use the Hawaii Government Private Cloud (GPC) for new ventures and the migration of existing applications when applicable, according to a statement released by the Hawaii Office of Information Management & Technology. Hawaii follows in the footsteps of the federal government and other states such as California that have institutionalized a preference for cloud-based services.

“Governments around the world are becoming more efficient and cutting costs by reducing duplication and pursing consolidation of resources and processes through shared-service capability,” said newly elected Gov. David Ige in the press release. “This is core to Hawaii’s cloud computing and IT consolidation initiatives and will help our state conduct businesses in a more modern and efficient, business-like way.”

State departments have been asked to develop formal plans to use the GPC for their future and existing applications by March 2015.

In an email to Government Technology, Hawaii CIO Keone Kali said it was encouraging to see Ige recognizing the value of IT modernization through shared services. He explained that the cloud-first policy gives Hawaii’s executive branch departments “clear direction” for implementing new apps on the GPC.

But Kali admitted that the effort will still require a lot of work.

“The challenge will be migrating existing applications from legacy systems, since in some cases that will involve accessing and backing them up via the wire while rebuilding and upgrading them – all at the same time,” Kali said.

Hawaii’s private cloud is vendor agnostic and was developed as a part of Hawaii’s technology transformation plan. The GPC provides infrastructure-as-a-service to state users, and will help departments address statutory and policy requirements associated with their IT systems, including state and federal IT security and privacy mandates.

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines from 2011 to mid-2015.