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Government Technology Featured Article

October 09, 2012

To What Extent Have Federal Agencies Adopted Cloud Computing?

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

In February 2011, the Office of Management and Budget introduced the Federal Cloud Computing strategy that puts federal agencies at the forefront in the adoption of cloud computing. As from that time, federal IT experts have been evaluating, planning and implementing cloud services, which will in the near future be an important part in IT planning processes.

A survey to gauge how well the vision of the strategy compared with the proposed timeframe was published and with the most current document being the Federal Cloud Computing Survey , third manual. The survey was conducted in September and involved 103 federal IT professionals.

Like most surveys, this also had a main fueling question which was, ‘how much progress has been made?’ The survey sought to identify whether federal agencies are willing to resort to the cloud whenever new IT requirements arise, the setbacks they find in the quest to actualize the dream and whether they opt for public clouds or private ones.

The survey findings show that a good number of respondents have incubated plans that will hatch into improved cloud strategies for their agencies. The good news is that more than half of the survey participants hinted that their agencies are either progressing with the cloud computing implementation or are in early adoption stages, which is an improvement from last year’s 40 percent.

For the case of public or private clouds, the survey findings show that 18 percent are using public clouds and a mere 14 percent using private clouds. However, the demands for constructing private clouds remains high with a good deal of the IT experts (39 percent) expressing interest in the adoption of private clouds.

More than half of the respondents acknowledged the fact that their firms have performed cost analysis tests that yield uniform results vouching the move to the cloud. This is crucial since lowering the cost of operations and cutting down on equipment investment also ranked high in the priority lists of most of the IT experts.

True to our expectations, securing data stored in the cloud remains a major concern for most agencies. In bid to do away with the fear, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program rolled out in June to help improve the level of confidence experts have on the cloud. Apparently, its effects are yet to take root.

Other minor and scattered hindrances to the adoption of cloud computing for federal agencies include inadequate cloud expertise, dynamicity of evolving standards and lack of governance frameworks. Cloud adoption by government agencies will thus take time.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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