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Cloud Services in the United States

US government, oblivious of cloud benefits. How much does that cost?

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According to a study published this month, nearly three in every four US federal government agencies are using at least one cloud service. However, regardless of this fact, most federal government IT staff see a very limited role for cloud services in their overall strategy.

The two firms that commissioned the survey, MeriTalk and AT&T, are claiming that this attitude may prevent the feds from saving over 19 billions of dollars. The study questioned 159 senior US federal government IT decision makers asking for their views on cloud services.

Only 41 percent of respondents said their agency is considering cloud as part of their overall IT strategy. Several years ago, the US federal government announced a “cloud-first” policy for federal agencies to consider. However, the system changed in some agencies, but the IT experts didn’t also change their strategies.

According to the study quoted by Business Cloud News website, „On a grading scale of A to F scale (with A being the best), about 51 per cent of respondents graded their agencies C or below in relation to their implementation of ‘cloud-first’ in practice. The research suggests most (56 per cent) agencies are looking primarily at private cloud platforms, followed by public cloud (18 per cent) and community cloud (11 per cent). When respondents were asked about what led federal agencies to invest more in private cloud over other cloud models, most (55 per cent) said perceptions of greater security, compliance with privacy regulations (38 per cent) and more reliable data loss management (36 per cent).

Nearly all respondents (94 per cent) said their agencies are being held back from investing more in cloud platforms due to security concerns, though 41 per cent said FedRAMP approval would make their agencies more likely to select a public or community cloud platform”.

“While cloud is not appropriate for every agency, in every instance, there’s no question it can deliver compelling efficiencies for many, if not most, applications and we’re seeing increased appetite from government customers for cloud conversion strategies,” said AT&T government solutions vice president-technology Chris Smith.

“While cloud computing delivers a variety of efficiencies, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cloud solution. Every organization has its own unique mission, security requirements, data sensitivities, and operational parameters. Helping agencies address those considerations is critical to the federal government, realizing the full benefits and potential of cloud,” Smith said.