One would think that the government saving approximately $5.5 billion annually by using cloud computing tools would be good news. However, according to a recent survey conducted by the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Exchange, the federal government could be doing much better.
An April 27, 2012 Federal Computer Week article highlighted the results of a survey conducted by MeriTalk which estimates that by using cloud computing tools, federal agencies have saved approximately $5.5 billion annually. The article also suggests that based on the survey results, had there been broader adoption of cloud computing tools by the federal government, it could have potentially saved $12 billion per year.
The survey of 108 federal Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Information Technology (IT) managers, published in “Cloudy with a Chance of Savings,” seeks to evaluate from their perspective how well the federal government is integrating cloud computing services into its IT infrastructure. With the administration’s “cloud first” strategy for making new IT purchases, this survey, along with a September 5, 2011 study conducted by the Poneman Institute, provides an interesting look at cloud acceptance among the federal IT workforce.
In a May 1, 2012 Talkin’ Cloud article, the survey results were broken down by categories of obstacles to cloud adoption. According to this article, eighty-five percent of respondents cited security concerns as the largest obstacle to cloud implementation followed by thirty-eight percent citing cultural roadblocks to implementation within federal organizations. Other obstacles listed in the article included department leadership opposition to cloud adoption (twenty percent); program managers (eighteen percent); and legal counsel (seventeen percent).
Some of these findings correlate with those from the Poneman Institute’s study, which also highlighted potential obstacles to cloud adoption including lack of suitable applications, concerns about safety and security, and the speed in which they were expected to move three services to the cloud under the administration’s “cloud first” strategy. While safety and security concerns are understandable with the current cyberthreats against our nation’s infrastructure, without wider acceptance of cloud computing solutions by an organization’s workforce, agency CIOs and IT managers will continue to have difficulty in making that transition.
Until IT security concerns are addressed and the federal workforce becomes more open to transitioning to the cloud, it will be difficult for the federal government to realize the full savings potential that can be achieved by using cloud computing.