Cloud computing adoption rates are growing substantially. In many cases, the cloud has considerably reduced operating costs for private users and businesses. While some consider migration to the cloud to be somewhat of a “revolution” in information technology (IT), it is really just the natural progression of our digital landscape.
News of the cloud’s potential to innovate is so widespread, that many governments have integrated or are beginning to integrate cloud computing. Countries that are leading the way in cloud practices are Denmark, Italy and Australia. Others governments, however, still remain hesitant. A study conducted by KPMG cited that the biggest concern in regards to cloud implementation in the public sector is (unsurprisingly) security.
The US, however, is showing no fear. By 2018, the global government cloud industry is predicted to reach $18.48 billion, according to a recent report. A study, entitled ‘Cloud Adoption and Procurement Practices’, conducted by the Center for Digital Government, demonstrates that 46% of local government and US state IT leaders are planning to or are already using cloud computing services. These respondents site their primary reason for cloud use is its potential capital and cost savings. The cloud is expected to provide huge savings in software/hardware maintenance. Even among these cloud-supporters, security remained a high concern.
This is a topic, which piqued my interest- I head to learn more. I was recently fortunate enough to catch up with Majed Saadi, Director of Cloud Computing Practice at SRA. Majed provided insights into this topic based on his professional experiences. We spoke about the challenges and solutions of government adoption of cloud computing- Keep reading for the rest.
SA: Majed, Please tell us a bit about your work with SRA’s Cloud Computing Practice.
MS: I lead the Cloud Computing practice at the SRA Capability Centers. The Capability Centers is an internal SRA organization focused on researching cutting edge technologies to provide our customers with insight into their potentials as well as impact. We also concentrate on producing differentiating offerings that allow our customers to adopt technology in a more efficient and effective manner. An example of that is SRA’s Stratify ™ framework which allows federal agencies to migrate to public clouds rapidly while maintaining and improving their security posture.
SA: SRA’s SMEs are at the forefront of the federal government’s migration to cloud computing. What have you found are the challenges of cloud-enablement?
MS: There are many challenges especially when migrating to public or community clouds. Not surprisingly most of these challenges are not technical and are actually derived from procurement and change management concerns. Current government procurement processes and systems are limited in their ability to adapt to new utility-based cloud-centric pricing models. Additionally, migrating to the cloud presents a huge cultural change for government IT organizations. Internal Organizational Change Management (OCM) best practices must be applied to ensure better acceptance and wider adoption and SRA has established a practice to assist our customers with these challenges.
SA: What are governments doing to ensure they get the most from their cloud investments?
MS: There are multiple efforts that the government has started and that, in my opinion, will result in cloud investment realization. The primary one is the FedRAMP program that aims at providing consistent security accreditation for cloud environments. Other examples include the TechStat, PortfolioStat and IT Dashboard initiatives. These initiatives will help the government in managing their IT investments in general and cloud ones in particular. Many agencies are employing cloud migration as a method for increasing the visibility and transparency of investments as well as returns. After all, having “Measured” services is one of the main characteristics of cloud computing.