Agencies want to double cloud use, but federal IT is hesitant

The benefits of cloud computing are clear in many circumstances. The main hurdle when migrating to cloud services is often fear of the unknown. It can be hard to determine the effects of cloud integration without witnessing it firsthand. A recent report from MeriTalk confirms this as it found that 89 percent of federal IT professionals are hesitant to migrate IT services and applications to the cloud. Despite this, agencies want to double their use of the cloud.

The MeriTalk survey of 153 government IT executives discovered that 43 percent of federal IT professionals compare cloud integration with giving their son keys to a brand new convertible. The report explains that this may be the reason why 71 percent of agencies perform their own data management rather than allowing a cloud vendor manage information.

Do not fear the cloud
The reasons for apprehension seem to be misguided. InformationWeek reported that challenges with data governance can be met by documenting metadata, identifying data users and defining the specifics of the cloud integration process. However, the MeriTalk report found that 52 percent of respondents do not understand integration as well as they should. By working with vendors and management services, these staff members could become more informed and perhaps more willing to move applications and data storage to the cloud.

Some government agencies are working with cloud vendors and experiencing the benefits of data management already. The report discovered that 53 percent of federal IT professionals would be comfortable allowing a cloud vendor to run their IT services, which is more than those who do not like that idea. Additionally, 55 percent of respondents said that cloud integration has made data management and stewardship easier. Specifically, they noted that virtual staff support is stronger, data can be accessed at a faster rate and systems can be monitored with increased simplicity.

Kirk Kern, chief technology officer of the U.S. public sector at NetApp, said in a statement that federal agencies will benefit from establishing enterprise-wide governance practices and they can streamline data mobility. Data management is crucial to success with cloud integration, but that should not stop the government from adopting services that are beneficial on all other accounts.

Working closely with IT service vendors can make the transition to the cloud much smoother than trying to do it alone. Data burdens can be mitigated and proper solutions can be implemented.