Public GovCloud Computing – Assessing the requirements

As more and more large enterprises start to make public adoptions of cloud and service providers figuring out the role they play in the market, one of the biggest potential cloud adopters has been watching and looking for signs that the market can support one of the most public facing cloud deployments.

Yes, Governments have started to look at both private and public cloud offerings as potential solutions to address the changing needs of internal and external applications and processes. From a provider perspective, Governments are looking for services both for computing power and storage, as well as applications such as collaboration, CRM and email that can be used for public facing tools.

A big force behind the cloud adoption in the US comes from the White House, which gave agencies the mandate to prioritize cloud applications and services when looking at building new projects. It is a part of a large pool of initiatives to develop standards for cloud adoption, creating policies for new technologies such as adoption of BYOD and Big Data, but also to address the security concerns that come along with cloud.

Luckily, cloud isn’t that hard a sell to government agencies, as they already understand the benefits that come from cloud such as cost savings, flexibility and streamlining business processes -traits that private sector companies are already enjoying. But federal agencies are mainly looking to cloud to deliver self-service so that they can become increasingly responsive and agile in their infrastructure approach when it comes to taking on projects.

As one can imagine, due to the differences between agencies, it is impossible to create a one-model-fits-all approach when delivering services for the Federal Government. The information between agencies can vary significantly from public consumption to top secret. But even so, security isn’t necessarily the top reason for agencies to drag their feet when it comes to adoption. It’s the providers themselves.

The way that business has been done historically between providers and government agencies includes lots of contracts that are often written with private sector companies in mind. Unfortunately these contracts might not meet the unique requirements of each individual agency as they relate to security and compliance. This factor alone means that the adoption process requires lots of sitting down with providers to map out the right terms and conditions to ensure that there is flexibility in the offerings so that if they need to change providers, they are not locked in, and more importantly that they can take everything with them when they leave. The result of this is actually good for the cloud market as a whole, as the concerns that arise from these meetings can be translated into better cloud SLAs for all customers regardless of if they are in the public or private sector.

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