A group of leading U.S. technology executives released a road map and a set of recommendations today designed to assist government agencies in speeding up their adoption of cloud computing technologies.

A commission assembled by the Washington-based TechAmerica Foundation, drew together 14 major recommendations for developing and deploying cloud computing services in government.

“Faster adoption of cloud computing will strengthen the United States’ leadership position in the global marketplace and ignite creation of jobs that will be in high demand over the next decade,” said Michael Capellas, chairman and CEO of VCE. Capellas, along with Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff co-chaired the group, the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in the U.S. Deployment of the Cloud.

The group’s recommendations revolved around four overarching themes that the commission said were essential for government agencies to advance efforts toward highly scalable, web-based computing: trust, transnational data flows, transparency and transformation.

The commission, made up of 71 executives from industry and academia, also issued a “Buyers Guide” that provides guidance to the Federal agencies on issues to consider in evaluating and implementing cloud services.

The recommendations focus on how the U.S. government, in cooperation with industry, academia, and other nations, can:

(1) adopt policies that will foster the development and growth of the cloud and
(2) deploy the cloud effectively, making government work better, cheaper, and smarter.

The goal of the buyers guide is to help agencies with a step-by-step guide, said Capellas, and offer a series of best practices, designed for acquisition managers, program managers and chief financial officers.

The group attempted to extend the work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said Michael Nelson, visiting professor, Georgetown University, and the Commission’s Academic co-chair.

“The commission built upon the foundation work of NIST,” he said. “What we’re doing is providing policy and recommendations…and the political push on where to go.”

The four major areas of focus by the commission include:

Trust in the cloud -enabling individuals and organizations consuming cloud services to be confident that the services are meeting their computing needs, including security, privacy, and availability.

Transnational Data Flows – recognizing that globalization of business and trade and the ability to operate cloud-based services in any location around the world has led to an exploding volume of data sources and stakeholders and the constant flow of data across national borders. This creates new opportunities but also adds complexity to cloud adoption, with data, process, and people residing on multiple continents with different laws and cultures.

Transparency – Industry should publicly disclose information about relevant operational aspects of their cloud services, including portability, interoperability, security, certifications, performance and reliability. Industry and Government should support development of metrics designed to meet the needs of different user groups. These metrics should be developed in an open and transparent environment, taking into account the global nature of cloud use.

Transformation – Agencies should demonstrate flexibility in adapting existing procurement models to facilitate acquisition of cloud services and solutions. Congress and OMB should demonstrate flexibility in changing budget models to help agencies acquire cloud services and solutions. And Government should establish policies and processes for providing fiscal incentives, rewards and support for agencies as they take steps towards implementing cloud deployments.