Cloud integration progressing in US government, but slowly

Cloud computing is undoubtedly one of the most significant technologies to arrive in recent years. In a relatively short period of time, these solutions have radically transformed countless organizations, enabling them to expand their capabilities and greatly improve efficiency.

While not as fast to adapt as the private sector, the U.S. government has also made significant strides toward achieving cloud integration. As Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services' global public sector, recently explained to NextGov, the government has progressed through several aspects of cloud adoption, but two of the most challenging phases still remain.

Making progress
Carlson told the news source that there are six phases to federal cloud adoption. First, the government needed to develop a stated policy, which took the form of U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra's "cloud-first policy." This was followed by the need to actually define the cloud, which the National Institute of Standards and Technology ultimately accomplished.

According to Carlson, the third stage was security and compliance, and this phase was accomplished via the development of the FedRAMP standardized approach to cloud security. Next came the acquisitions phase, which the government is currently addressing, the news source reported.

This leaves two final phases: culture and broad adoption. Carlson asserted that these may be the most difficult phases to complete. These demand more widespread effort, and cultural change comes slow to government bodies. To fully achieve cloud integration, agencies' personnel will need to seriously change the way they approach their positions and daily responsibilities.

Yet there is reason to believe that this change is occurring. Already, countless government employees utilize cloud services regularly in both their professional and private lives. Agency leaders can and should expand their educational efforts to better train government workers to understand the benefits that cloud computing can offer, as well as ensure that workers always follow best practices.