According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the US government will spend $1.7 billion on private cloudsin 2014, with a projected estimate of $7.7 billion for the year 2017. This is not surprising based on the government’s keen interest in the cloud space dating back to the Nebula cloud computing project from NASA in 2008. A string of government bodies such as the US Army, Air Force, Navy, USDA, Department of Justice, Department of Education and more have now joined in.
While the US government may have been a pioneer in the cloud space, other governments have been quick to recognize and embrace the benefits of this new technological paradigm for conducting business.
Among those now utilizing the cloud is the government of Singapore, with its G-Cloud initiative, which is designed to take advantage of cost-competitive public cloud offerings and resources while also providing increased security and compliance. In subsequent phases, Singapore plans to take advantage of big data and to explore software as a service options for business analytics and web content management.
The United Kingdom has also come up with an initiative dubbed G-Cloud that is designed to provide a range of cloud services for government bodies and to facilitate the procurement process.
Because of this recent rise of governmental initiatives using the cloud space, vendors are moving in to address issues of data security, risk exposure, scalability and regulatory compliance.
IBM, for example, has increased its worldwide network of data centers that are built on the IBM SoftLayer platform and specifically designed to address governmental business. Two of these data centers located within the continental US address certification programs such as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).
While cloud technology can provide a multitude of solutions that address a wide range of requirements, governments still have to deal with nontechnical issues such as:
• Privacy and service-level agreements that address the liability, accountability and responsibilities of the different parties involved
• Security that ensures stored data is properly protected and enforcement measures for the service provider to address security breaches and compromised data
• Data jurisdiction regulations that may apply to the data storage location and the location of the service provider
• Regulatory compliance and legislation that govern the storage of information
Governments are constantly exploring innovative ways to deliver core services to their communities, and cloud computing can address many of their challenges.
Do you know of other governmental initiatives that capitalize on the cloud? Leave a comment here or connect with me on Twitter at @MaAsiaPacific to continue the conversation.