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Cloud Computing’s Benefit: Agility, Not Money

September 14, 2010 – Eric Chabrow, Executive Editor,

Michigan Chief Information Office Kenneth Theis doesn’t see the main benefit of secure, cloud computing as saving the state money.

“Everybody talks about cloud computing and about saving a ton of money,” Theis said in an interview with (transcript below). “I don’t think it saves the amount of money that most people think it does.”

But cloud computing can address a major complaint an IT organization hears from its customers: speed to deploy new applications. “The greatest advantage of cloud computing is the agility, our ability to meet their needs, put solutions in place in a timelier fashion that meets their needs.”

Though it provides agility, Theis said the state has created a cloud computing framework aimed, in part, to assure providers furnish the security necessary to safeguard data and systems. “What we have with our cloud computing framework is actually a formal document so when we go to cloud, we’re going to the cloud consistently,” Theis said. “We’re asking those providers to meet our requirements, not the other way around.”

In the interview, the second of two parts, Theis also addressed Michigan’s deployment of Einstein 2. Michigan is the first state to implement the federal Department of Homeland Security’s intrusion detection system. “What Einstein has taught us is that even if you think you’re good, there are always opportunities to get a lot better, and I think Einstein has taken us up a couple of notches because it’s really providing us with a vision into a whole other level of threats that current processes in our current systems aren’t capable,” Theis said.

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