Does Moving to the Cloud work for the US Federal Government?

Does Moving to the Cloud work for the US Federal Government?

The Federal government’s relationship with cloud computing have always been a topic of interest on this website. Over the last months, I have covered this area in considerable detail. However, but for the slight hint of skepticism, the articles have been largely positive about cloud computing and the Federal government’s efforts to embrace this new technology. However, today, I adopt a slightly critical tone and discuss some issues that have been raised, issues that say cloud computing’s benefits have been largely exaggerated.

Most of the Federal government’s enthusiasm about cloud computing have largely been an outcome of recently-departed Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra’s faith in the technology (The Architect of the Official Cloud Computing Revolution – CIO Vivek Kundra ). It was under his stewardship that the government released the official Federal Cloud Computing Strategy in February 2011 that stated “Cloud computing can significantly improve public sector IT”, and outlined the way to go about it.

However, the fact that not all government officials were in agreement was brought forth by a survey conducted by research firm Ovum that found that about 46% of government officials believed that cloud computing will not save their agencies enough money to make using it worthwhile. In other words, the very people tasked with implementing the cloud strategy in government seem to doubt its efficacy (See: Update: What Do Government Officials Think Of Cloud Computing? ). Now, it would be easy to dismiss such opinions as typical bureaucratic resistance to change; however, it makes sense to examine them in detail before dismissing them outright.

Now, these concerns can be broadly classified under the following two categories – cost and security. I will analyze these categorized concerns one by one:

Cost: Projected cost savings have been the main driving point of the Federal cloud initiative (See: How Much Can the US Government Save by Going to the Cloud? ). However, many believe that the cost of transitioning from the current IT infrastructure to the cloud will entail costs now that would far outweigh any savings that may result in the future. Teri Takai, former CIO of the state of California and present CIO of the Defense Department, has gone on record as saying, “The community that feels that moving to cloud computing is cheaper hasn’t fully explored what the costs of cloud computing are and what the challenges of cloud computing are.”

Security: Now, security has always been a major bugbear for cloud computing, and multiple incidents in the recent past haven’t improved the situation (See: Should You Be Concerned? A List of Recent Cloud Computing Failures – Intuit goes down ). In July, the Pentagon suffered its largest breach, in which hackers obtained 24,000 confidential files, an operation suspected to be carried out by foreign intelligence. In this regard, several government departments, especially those like Defense, State and Homeland Security that deal with confidential information, have found themselves hesitant to place their faith in cloud computing. As Ms. Takai pointed out, “with the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks on defense systems, we are concerned with any new approaches that can introduce new risks.” While she did believe in the possibilities of cloud computing, she would rather have the chinks worked out before supporting its adoption in departments dealing with critical data. That is why other departments can help by embracing cloud computing and helping to remove its shortcomings.

In conclusion, these issues definitely need to be addressed. The mechanism of government is quite different from industry, and hence, a customized solution is required. Until that is available, official reluctance is not only expected, but to some extent, justified.

By Sourya Biswas

sourya

Sourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a freelance journalist with several articles published online. After 6 years of work, he has decided to pursue further studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has completed his MBA. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. He is also a member of high-IQ organizations Mensa and Triple Nine Society and has been a prolific writer to CloudTweaks over the years... http://www.cloudtweaks.com/author/sourya/
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

0 Responses to Does Moving to the Cloud work for the US Federal Government?

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Advertising Programs

Click To Find Out!

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored Posts

CloudTweaks has enjoyed a great relationship with many businesses, influencers and readers over the years, and it is one that we are interested in continuing. When we meet up with prospective clients, our intent is to establish a more solid relationship in which our clients invest in a campaign that consists of a number of

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Many people have heard of cloud computing. There is however a tremendous number of people who still cannot differentiate between Public, Private & Hybrid cloud offerings.  Here is an excellent infographic provided by the group at iWeb which goes into greater detail on this subject. Infographic source: iWeb About Latest Posts souryaSourya Biswas is a

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Whitepapers

Top Research Assets

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

Explore how cloud computing is a solution to the problems facing data centers today and highlights the cutting-edge technology (including OpenStack cloud computing) that HP is bringing to the current stage. If you are a CTO, data center administrator, systems architect, or an IT professional looking for an enterprise-grade, hybrid delivery cloud computing solution that’s open,

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security Cloud applications are a priority for every business – the technology is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers compelling economic benefits to the enterprise. The challenge is that cloud applications increase the potential for corporate data to leak, raising compliance and security concerns for IT. A primary security concern facing organizations moving