Report: State, local governments should adopt cloud technology

February 17, 2012

Federal agencies continue to adopt cloud technologies as part of the United States' Cloud First initiative, but most state and local governments have yet to transition IT functions to the cloud and are missing out on several advantages.

According to InformationWeek, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom recently criticized state and local governments in California for failing to migrate to the cloud, a movement he said is inevitable. Newsom's comments occurred at a press conference for the launch of the TechAmerica Foundation's "The Cloud Imperative," a report that explains how organizations can leverage the cloud to improve collaboration and reduce costs.

"Cloud computing is a win-win for governments, for citizens, and for the economy as a whole. It takes the technical complexity out of the hands of an already overworked government IT department while at the same time improving services for citizens," Newsom said.

While enterprises in various industries are leading the widespread adoption of cloud services like Software-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Newsom said governments at the federal, state and local levels are falling behind.

TechAmerica's report provides government officials and IT leaders with a greater understanding of implementing, managing and benefiting from the cloud. According to the foundation's press release, the report educates state and local government leaders about selecting the proper cloud-based service models, ensuring security in the cloud and migrating traditional IT tasks to the cloud environment.

"What these commissioners, these government advisors and the Foundation hope to achieve is to provide a forum for ongoing dialogue about how cloud computing can help governments respond to the needs of citizens," said Jennifer Kerber, president of the TechAmerica Foundation.

The report also provides readers with examples regarding how some governments have successfully adopted cloud services and are realizing the technology's cost-saving, efficiency-boosting advantages.

Federal agencies have been slower to add cloud systems than many business sectors, but universal cloud usage is still one of the top IT priorities for the U.S. government, including President Barack Obama and his administration.

According to IDC Government Insights, many state and local governments will soon begin using "regional cloud hubs," a service model where one government organization provides other agencies with cloud computing solutions.

-McAfee Cloud Security