With emerging technologies, like cloud computing, and trends, like the use of mobile devices for work, government organizations are becoming eager to reshape their operations and services. Cloud computing can facilitate this process, creating a connected, modernized and innovative government. Unfortunately, many are still hesitant to see the government and cloud computing hand-in-hand, as there is still false perception surrounding the technology.
Well, we think the cloud might surprise these people.
Federal Cloud Computing Strategy
Also known as the “Cloud First Policy,” this US strategy was implemented in 2011 to accelerate the pace of cloud adoption by government agencies. It aimed to do this by requiring the agencies to default to cloud solutions when secure, reliable and cost-effective options were available. A notable agency that has made the move is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It is using the cloud to meet needs for infrastructure on demand. Other organizations include the US Army, Air Force, Navy and the Department of Education.
The Cloud First Policy has certainly pushed the government sector in the right direction, motivating some organizations to move to the cloud. While there is certainly an increase in government cloud adoption, the pace of adoption is still relatively slow. Many government organizations still fear the cloud, not completely understanding the benefits.
Efficiency and Innovation
Cloud computing is simply the most efficient way for government agencies to respond to operational requirements and the quickly evolving worlds of business and technology. Cloud technology provides extreme performance, scalability and availability benefits as agencies can streamline their processes in all areas. Government organizations are becoming more and more eager to introduce technology like the cloud into how they function. This will help them move into the modern business world and provide services and information more effectively. With the cloud, agencies can improve their personal business processes, share services with other departments and make public data easier for the public to access. Additionally, the cloud has the potential to slash IT costs, reduce energy use and consolidate server usage with the help of virtualization. It truly changes the way that business is done.
Scalability and Cost
The cloud is known for it’s extreme scalability. What does that mean? Well, it’s the ability for the cloud network to handle fluctuating amounts of data. Therefore, when an organization needs more storage space to accommodate increases in data, it’s an easy transition. On the other end of the spectrum, if an organization finds it is not utilizing the service fully, it can scale its usage down. This quality is especially beneficial for government agencies, as they often have rapid and urgent needs to address – with the cloud, they can respond in a timely and effective manner.
This ease of scalability is linked to the lower costs of the cloud. Organizations are able to measure and pay for the exact cloud resources they used, and nothing more. This allows government agencies to both scale up or down according to their organizational needs, as well as according to their budgets.
The major barrier between the government and the cloud is the perception surrounding cloud security. As agencies decide to move mission-critical applications and confidential data to the cloud, they need to be sure it’s safe. While this is obviously a valid concern to have, cloud security cannot be generalized. It depends solely on the cloud provider and what they have in place.
As cloud providers have grown more eager to work with government businesses, many have boosted the quality of their security and disaster recovery services to accommodate this sector. It’s obviously beneficial to work with a provider that has past experience with the government. Additionally, providers should demonstrate strict and accurate Service Level Agreements. Compliance is extremely important, as is the physical and network security a provider implements. All of these things factor into an agency’s decision to make the move, and in many cases, cloud providers are stepping up and proving themselves.