Adopting cloud services within federal agencies

As cloud computing gains momentum in the business world, federal agencies are beginning to recognize how they can also use the hosted services to improve operations. At the same time, however, administrators need to be on the lookout for several procurement errors associated with using the cloud in government.

A recent report by the research firm Ovum highlighted how federal decision-makers must understand that they should only migrate resources to the cloud when it is beneficial to their organization. Executives must also find the appropriate cloud service, as selecting the wrong vendor can effectively negate any of the advantages that would have come along with moving operations to the hosted environment.

Fortunately, developing a robust cloud usage policy and strong governance stance will ensure that cloud use in the public sector is as efficient as possible.

"Ovum recommends that a government cloud services policy should aim to fairly state the potential transformational benefits of cloud services and create a level playing field for agency adoption, mindful of the practical and long-term costs to government of both type I and type II procurement errors," said Steve Hodgkinson, research director at Ovum.

Cloud governance fundamentals
Ovum analysts stated that federal executives need to overcome any initial perceptions of managing a cloud infrastructure and come to grips with the fact that "there is no cloud." Rather than attempting to develop a strategy for every possible use of the cloud, decision-makers should narrow down their policies and address "cloud services," which are more realistic and easier to understand.

A CIO report highlighted how using cloud solutions where applicable can introduce a number of benefits to federal agencies that are looking to innovate and stay on the cutting edge of technology. By being ruthlessly selective and implementing a well-rounded governance strategy, organizations can find the tools that enable them to reduce costs and improve performance, without worrying about unnecessary risk. Experiencing these benefits in the public sector is becoming increasingly important, especially as the economy continues to send mixed signals.

Executives who plan ahead will find it easier to adopt the cloud computing technologies that are picking up speed within federal organizations. If administrators fail to think with a long-term perspective, they will likely encounter more complications when trying to implement the tools they need to survive.

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