AWS Public Sector Blog

Cloud procurement best practices for US federal government agencies

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At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we want to help organizations modernize IT infrastructure and create scalable mechanisms to manage growing datasets, take advantage of emerging technologies like machine learning, improve citizen services, and innovate for the long-term.

Buying cloud computing services requires different skills than buying traditional IT, particularly given cloud’s ability to adjust technology resources dynamically and how this may impact contract solicitations and, more broadly, acquisition strategies.

Are you ready to move to the cloud but need some guidance on where to start? Here are some best practices for government customers and procurement teams looking to build a culture of innovation and begin their cloud acquisition journey.

  1. Maximize the benefits of cloud with your contract structures. Cloud computing offers agencies the opportunity to replace fixed (often rigid and wasteful) costs or physical assets with flexible, on-demand services that align to IT resource needs. For cloud procurements to be successful, they should base metrics on performance requirements and include a flexible contract line item number (CLIN) structure that allows for new services and features, without contract modifications. Learn how to buy the cloud.
  2. Understand the security responsibilities between you and your cloud services provider. When defining data security responsibility, customers need to understand who is responsible for what. AWS makes it easy with a shared responsibility model, where AWS is responsible for protecting the core infrastructure that runs all AWS services (including the hardware, software, networking, and physical data center facilities), and a customer’s responsibility is determined by the selected services. This means the IT architecture(s) your organization wants to build and deploy can impact the line of delineation with respect to who is responsible for what.
  3. Determine if you want to buy the cloud directly or indirectly. The cloud can be bought in different ways: either directly or indirectly. Depending on your goals (like whether you want to buy cloud services directly from a provider, leverage managed services, partner with system integrators, or buy software from the AWS Marketplace), you may want to buy directly from AWS or indirectly through a partner provider or reseller. Regardless of your preferred buying method, start the procurement process by working backwards from your end users’ needs and what services they want to use.
  4. Use tools and mechanisms to budget and monitor costs: Moving to the cloud can save taxpayer dollars. As part of your procurement, make sure to monitor spend closely to avoid unplanned costs with optimization, budgeting, and monitoring tools. AWS offers the AWS Pricing Calculator, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Budgets, and AWS Cost Explorer for budgeting and monitoring. AWS also supports multi-year discount programs and different pricing plans to help economize. AWS Trusted Advisor can also help provide guidance to your agency on ways to optimize costs.

To learn more tips for cloud procurement, check out the webinar, “Cloud procurement best practices for US federal government.” If you’re looking for sample procurement best practices or have a question for our team of experts, please reach out to

Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is the US federal civilian and financial services business development and capture leader at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Greg joined AWS in 2015 supporting a broad array of US federal agencies in their acquisition of cloud technologies. He led AWS's responses to a myriad of government requests for information, and he consults regularly with customers regarding cloud procurement considerations. Prior to joining AWS, Greg served in various roles leading federal programs, proposal responses, and technology initiatives.

Gabriela Feibel

Gabriela Feibel

Gabriela Feibel is a US federal civilian business development and capture manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this role, Gabriela focuses on increasing awareness and adoption of cloud computing by engaging with US federal civilian agency customers to transform IT through cloud. She helps guide customers on successful cloud procurements based on best practices gathered from AWS's experience being a cloud service provider leader in public sector. Prior to AWS, Gabriela served in various business development, capture management, capture operations, and program operations roles supporting agencies across US federal.