New report predicts surge in government cloud adoption

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 27 May 2015
New report predicts surge in government cloud adoption

A new report has predicted a surge in the rate of government cloud adoption.

The report from Forbes Insight in association with Microsoft – entitled From Promise to Reality: How Local, State and Federal Government Agencies Achieve Results in the Cloud – includes interviews with a number of government executives that are leading the charge in cloud adoption, as well as with various analysts and technology providers, including Microsoft and its partners.

Government cloud adoption has not seen significant growth in the time since 2010 when Vivek Khundra, former CIO of the US federal government, announced the country’s ‘cloud first’ policy. This policy stated that no new federal IT project of significance would move forward without first evaluating a cloud strategy.

The pace of implementation seems slow, and a report from GAO in September 2014 covered the progress of seven key federal agencies and their total spending on cloud-based services. A figure of only 2% of total IT spending was given to cloud-based services according to this report’s findings.

Shawn P. McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights, believes the figure of spending on cloud-based services for public sector IT spending to be around 4%, but is disappointed at the overall pace of growth.

“I would have expected this to weigh in around 5% or 5.5% by now,” McCarthy said in the new report’s abstract. “(However) I think what we’re seeing in this 4% is this initial thrust of activity where agencies were moving on the simple things like web-hosting and e-mail. And if you think about it, we actually moved pretty far, pretty fast.”

McCarthy says that the industry is moving past the low-hanging fruit towards more mission-critical areas, and that the brief lull that is currently happening indicates a slowdown in the rate of growth, but not in growth in general.

One non-profit advisory group, Cloud Computing Caucus (CCC), interacts regularly with government officials to discuss cloud issues and hears any concerns first hand. These often include a lack of cost savings, little data security, and non-proven technologies.

“None of that is true – not at all,” said David Hantman, general manager of CCC. “The cost savings are real. The technologies are proven, and if anything, all of the experience shows that data security can actually be significantly enhanced by the cloud.”

Hantman believes a surge in cloud adoption will soon take place. One good example is the Department of Defense (DOD), an agency with vast amounts of sensitive and mission critical data. The DOD recently migrated over around 10 pilot programmes to the cloud.

“Like other agencies with this kind of data, up until now, they’ve been very hesitant to move to the cloud,” Hantman explained. “But they’re out there today, offering an active dialogue with technology providers, sharing more information about the sorts of applications needed and the associated essential levels of data security.”

The full report from Forbes Insight in association with Microsoft can be found here.

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