Into the cloud with federal IT [infographic]

Many would agree that cloud computing is the single most important technology to appear in the past decade. Since they first emerged, cloud solutions have evolved from cutting-edge tools used exclusively by tech-savvy firms to standard resources for organizations of all kinds. It's easy to see why the cloud's popularity has grown so quickly and to such a degree: With the cloud, organizations can cut down on expenses while gaining new capabilities and becoming more efficient and productive.

The cloud's growing influence and value isn't limited to the private sector. Increasingly, the federal government is investing in cloud-based IT solutions, making agencies more agile and effective. By 2020, the federal cloud market is likely to be worth $10 billion, according to Market Research Media. This represents a 16.2 percent compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020.

To further put the government's cloud IT commitment into perspective, consider the fact that federal agencies spent approximately $1 billion on cloud-based productivity software alone in FY2014, according to Govini research. Additionally, it's worth noting that the Federal Aviation Administration signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with a cloud services provider earlier this year. This follows similar moves by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, all of which goes to show that even the most security-conscious federal groups now recognize that moving IT infrastructure into the cloud is a safe and savvy strategy.

That being said, it's also true that the federal government has a long way to go to fully take advantage of the cloud's potential. Most notably, 80 percent of federal IT spending – $60 billion – continues to go toward legacy solutions, which are both less cost-efficient and more limiting than cloud alternatives. Furthermore, almost four-fifths of federal IT professionals believe that decision-makers' concerns regarding cloud security are preventing broader adoption – even though many, if not most, of these worries are unjustified, Dimensional Research and Dell found. 

The ultimate takeaway here is that the cloud is going to play a major role in all federal IT decisions going forward, but agency leaders need to take an active role in ensuring that cloud integration occurs as quickly and effectively as possible.

Into the cloud with federal ITInto the cloud with federal IT

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