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The Cloud Conundrum

Posted by Milo Speranzo on Nov 20, 2017 12:00:00 PM

It’s no secret that government agencies need help modernizing their IT systems. Feds have entered a data-driven era, and modern mission demands are pushing them to rethink their operational approaches.  As several Federal IT modernization mandates move full steam ahead, the pressure is on.  Agencies can no longer afford to sink money into life support for geriatric IT systems. Feds are getting closer and closer to enjoying the benefits of universal cloud adoption, but is it a long haul? What’s holding them back?

Let Go of the Past

A more efficient government requires cloud adoption – there’s no way around it. Cloud computing is the change agent that will spur a new era of government. Many agencies are embracing the cloud to optimize slow speeds, minimize security risks and decrease the overall high cost of legacy IT. But fear of the unknown and adherence to long-standing bureaucratic processes stand in the way of universal cloud adoption. This resistance combined with a lack of funding and the loss of data center jobs casts a shadow over the benefits to the point where agencies are thinking twice about the deployment of cloud solutions.

Along these lines, a MeriTalk survey of 153 federal IT executives found that agencies want to double their cloud use, but 89 percent of IT pros feel some apprehension about migrating IT services/apps to the cloud. The lack of clarity on cloud migration paths along with questions on data governance and data stewardship is making it harder for agencies to let go of the past. 

Why Cloud?

While some agencies are struggling to make the shift, other federal IT teams are focused on advancing their agency missions by capitalizing on the benefits of cloud computing. 

As an example, NASA saw financial benefits from moving to the cloud. “One of the most important advantages I’ve found is automation. You can do so much more automation in the cloud, and that has saved us a lot,” said Roopangi Kadakia, web services executive at NASA.  

In addition to saving money, cloud computing improves security, something that’s especially important in the wake of WannaCry and the OPM data breach. But just how secure is the cloud? It turns out two federal agencies housing the most classified data in the country – the CIA and Department of Homeland Security -- are deploying cloud solutions behind the scenes to provide quicker, more efficient and innovative services to the public.  

Even more importantly, cloud is enabling citizens to access information wherever and whenever they want it. Informing and empowering citizens has been the flagship of government since the last administration initiated the Open Government Initiative

The benefits of cloud are known:

  • Reduce cost – save more than $18.9 billion annually
  • Eliminate the risk of cyber threats with fortified security
  • Transform government into a more citizen-centric arena
  • Better serve citizens through innovative means – including consolidating data centers and faster delivery of services
  • Increase productivity – forget hardware set up and software patching chores

Accelerating Change

In a move meant to spur faster cloud adoption, GSA’s security certification program FedRAMP looks to expand cloud service providers from 72 to 150 and increase authorizations from 345 to 750 by the end of 2017. Like FedRAMP, the Cloud First policy aims to improve government service by accelerating cloud migration within all agencies. These modernization initiatives are helping retire old data centers while prioritizing cloud computing.  

Ready or not, cloud computing is a part of our future in one way or another. Feds are not immune. And here at Tech Data, we’re committed to accelerating cloud adoption for a faster and more efficient government. Our technology experts provide the necessary cloud strategy solutions to advance IT modernization.     

To learn more about Tech Data’s cloud solutions click here, or reach out to your Tech Data Government Solutions account representative. We’re here to help you navigate the cloud era with ease.

 

About the author

Milo Speranzo, director of strategy and compliance, Government Solutions, Tech Data

Milo serves as the director of strategy and compliance for Tech Data Government Solutions. In this role, Milo is responsible for driving the vision, strategy, revenue and profitability, as well as ensuring the compliance of the Tech Data public sector business.

Tags: Cloud, IT modernization, FedRAMP

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