Experts in data rights, intellectual property, information law and contracting met in Howell Auditorium Wednesday, July 25 to offer insights on navigating cloud computing acquisitions. The panel was moderated by Vicki Allums, Learning Director for Intellectual Property at the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).
There has been a lack of properly defined categorization of data in cloud computing. Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) Procurement Services Technical Director, Scott Stewart mentioned how there is often a problem during this process that involves all purchases getting unrealistically categorized as either supplies or services. But the process is more nuanced than an “either/or” scenario. To better explain this idea, Stewart listed the Three Primary Service Models of Cloud Computing: infrastructure as a service; platform as a service; and software as a service. Essentially, these models comprise a pyramid that provides data space accessibility to users and the ability to create and collaborate while ensuring the cost remains at a fixed-rate price.
Speaking further on this matter, Carrie Ross, Mobility Section Chief for DISA's Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, said, “The problem in today’s cloud computing is: how does the government capture the innovations of the commercial cloud into a successful government contract? Innovation involves a team.”
“One of the things we ask programmers during their process is to identify the data-level,” explained Jodi Cramer, Senior Air Staff Counsel in the Office of the Judge Advocate General's Information Law Administrative Law Directorate. Once this data-level is identified, any additional needs for the project can be determined up front rather than in the midst of the action.
Another important component in cloud computing lies in acquisition planning. Ultimately, teams have an obligation to “know your requirements,” Vera Strebel, Deputy Legal Counsel for Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization at DISA stressed. Understanding any potential legal issues that may arise during the process and knowing how to incorporate these issues into the requirements is a necessity. Strebel added, “Communication is really key.”
Overall, communication is imperative in establishing safe handling of intellectual property and data rights. In closing, Allums said, “The bottom line is, really, to know what content you’re putting in the cloud and whether it raises any intellectual property issues.”
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