Cloud Computing and 508 ComplianceIt’s a well known fact that Cloud computing is transforming businesses all over the world. As a matter of fact, transitioning to the Cloud is on the minds of many federal CIOs. This transition brings many challenges for the CIO, including maintaining privacy and security compliance. What may not be at the forefront, however, is accessibility for everyone, including those who are disabled.

Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, mandates that all software, hardware, websites, and other electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. Cloud computing, a technology used to store, access, and process information on the web, has the potential to enhance web participation by people with disabilities by providing an infrastructure that better supports accessibility. Therefore, maintaining accessibility when moving to the cloud has to remain a top priority for federal CIOs.

From her years of experience as the federal CIO of OMB, Karen S. Evans has seen first-hand the importance of prioritizing Section 508 compliance. In a recent Federal Times article, she writes:

“In my experience, it is clear that the legacy players in the tech marketplace understand the importance of accessibility. However, this requirement has been a challenge for later entrants that grew after these laws were in place. Looking forward, it is critically important that the administration’s strategic plan becomes a reality. Procurement must keep these standards in mind to ensure all users are able to produce, use, and collaborate on documents.

The federal shift to cloud must not come at the expense of accessibility. Federal accessibility compliance has made noticeable strides since the OMB issued its strategic guidance, but as the landscape continues to evolve, it’s of critical importance to focus on and prioritize accessibility. The first potential solution is to activate federal CIOs in conjunction with the General Services Administration on this issue to ensure that the products they are procuring provide the necessary capabilities for accessibility. Document accessibility is not only about enhancing productivity and protecting reputations. It is ultimately about offering a computing experience without barriers.”

For more information about accessibility and The Cloud, read Karen Evan’s article.



APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT: Blue Mountain Data Systems approaches development with the knowledge that there is no single language, tool, framework, or paradigm that can solve all problems. We propose to examine and understand the requirements, always asking, “What problem are we trying to solve?” prior to commencement of all other stages of our development processes. Additionally, we propose to use our software development experience to approach each problem with a “right tools for the job” mentality. We are not wedded to any specific commercial development languages or libraries, open source solutions, or COTS tools. We propose the right languages, tools and paradigms that best help us to solve your problems. We further propose to avoid investing our time and federal agency resources with niche languages and frameworks. Call Paul Vesely today at 703-502-3416 to discuss your next project.


Section 508: Take It with You to the Cloud

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