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How Governmental Entities Are Embracing the Cloud

Since interest in cloud computing continues to grow into the 21st century, it’s easy to understand the U.S. government’s desire to adapt to the new trend. While recent industry studies prove that more and more governmental agencies are taking advantage of cloud services on a daily basis, the same studies also show that many governmental organizations are still lacking in proper cloud protocol. Moreover, it seems that some of U.S. government entities are looking to state-specific service providers in order to fulfill their own cloud computing needs.

According to a recent report published by the U.S. Government Accounting Office, many organizations are still allocating more funds to non-cloud services – despite the fact that cloud-oriented spending has actually increased. The report concluded: "Even though the agencies collectively and individually increased the percentage of their IT budgets allocated to cloud services, our analysis showed that the agencies are still devoting a large portion of their IT budgets to non-cloud computing expenditures. Specifically, the agencies in 2014 were collectively budgeting 2 percent of their IT budgets to cloud services, while the remaining 98 percent were dedicated to non-cloud expenditures."

The report went on to disseminate an increase in the total number of cloud services that are currently in use by federal agencies in the U.S. today, as well as an increase of $222 million on cloud-based spending. Despite such excellent numbers, there are still many governmental entities within the U.S. that have yet to adapt a cloud environment of any kind whatsoever. To date, the largest governmental cloud contract comes in at $600 million, which involves AWS’ partnership with the CIA.

Federal Shortcomings

Several reasons have been cited for the U.S. government’s shortcomings regarding cloud computing. For starters, many governmental officials – even those positioned in the IT sector – lack proper knowledge and in-depth expertise of today’s cloud services. Other governmental entities have been scared away from the cloud due to the catastrophe with healthcare.gov, a site that used cloud computing as a means of enrollment for healthcare services. The site was regarded as a massive failure by many.

State-By-State Results

While governmental entities continue to lag behind in the race to implement cloud computing, many state governments have already established their cloud connections. The state of California, for example, has already reduced its data storage footprint by 30% while simultaneously bolstering their available storage space by 300% - all a result of today’s cloud computing capabilities. Perhaps even more importantly, California’s local government was able to cut spending by 35% throughout a total of 29 different governmental agencies.

The state of Kentucky has also expressed a large amount of interest in cloud computing. In fact, Kent Fowler, chief information officer for the state of Kentucky, predicts that more than 80% of their own infrastructure will be cloud-based or otherwise off-premises in the very near future. While this number may seem high, similar forecasts have been echoed throughout the states of North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and more.

In Closing

Although some governmental entities still have a long way to go in the world of cloud computing, they could easily use the frameworks adopted by individual states in order to formulate their own strategy for cloud implementation. Given the success and dedication that some states have already shown, it’s safe to assume that we will see more federal agencies using the cloud in the near future.

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