Police departments increasingly embracing cloud integration

Cloud integration is progressing rapidly among a huge number federal, state and local government agencies. These organizations' leaders now realize that the cloud can deliver superior cost-efficiency and effectiveness, all while maintaining or even upgrading their cybersecurity capabilities. 

One group of government agencies that is increasingly embracing the cloud trend is law enforcement. As Government Technology recently reported, police departments are becoming more interested in cloud integration efforts, with many having already deployed the technology in a variety of ways.

Cloud acceptance
As evidence of the growing prevalence of cloud computing among U.S. law enforcement, the source pointed to a survey from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This survey found that nearly half of IACP members were either leveraging cloud solutions (16 percent) or considering doing so in the near future (38 percent). 

While these numbers are fairly low compared to some other government agencies' cloud efforts, they are higher than many might have guessed. David Roberts, senior program manager for the IACP, noted that there is a widespread belief that law enforcement agencies are generally opposed to cloud computing technology. This survey runs counter to that notion.

Cloud benefits
Roberts told the news source that the cloud can deliver significant advantages for law enforcement agencies. As is frequently the case, cost-savings is among the most obvious benefits. By replacing legacy on-premise hardware and software solutions with cloud offerings, these agencies can reduce maintenance and improve costs while taking advantage of more powerful technology.

The survey highlighted the most popular cloud applications for law enforcement agencies. Generally, these aligned with the most commonly leveraged aspects of cloud computing for most organizations. For example, email applications were the most frequent cloud options for survey participants, the news source reported. These were followed by cloud-based storage solutions, which are universally seen as providing one of the most powerful improvements offered by cloud solutions.

Agencies also highlighted the fact that cloud solutions allow them to access the FBI's Criminal Justice Information System and better crime reporting options. Finally, respondents noted the superior disaster recovery, data backup and records management capabilities of cloud systems.

"The cloud opens up sophisticated technology tools and services to smaller agencies that don't have the funds to purchase an entire application on their own," Roberts said, the news source reported.

Security concerns
As has been the case for many organizations, public and private, the biggest factor holding back law enforcement agencies from embracing cloud solutions to a greater degree is cybersecurity. For example, the source noted that in 2009, Los Angeles revealed plans to move its city employees to cloud solutions, but the LAPD resisted this idea for fear of the cybersecurity implications.

As the survey showed, these fears are less common today, but still a factor. Law enforcement agencies eager to take advantage of the cloud but worried about the cybersecurity implications should look for third-party assistance. By partnering with a cloud integration services provider, one with robust experience in the public sector, these departments can effectively leverage the cloud without putting their sensitive data at risk of exposure.