Cloud Computing for Government
Government leaders today need to come to terms with cloud computing as a growing aspect of the IT landscape. It will affect how agencies develop and manage IT strategies, control information and invest in technology.
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The top three benefits of moving to cloud services from the traditional approach of organizations buying and maintaining their own hardware include the following:
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COST: Savings come from reducing or eliminating the cost of servers, software licenses, maintenance fees, data center space, electricity and IT labor. In some cases, large up-front capital expenses can be replaced with low pay-for-use operating expenses.
FLEXIBILITY: Cloud resources such as storage and computing power can be added or reduced as needed.
SPEED: Programmers are empowered to create software services using free or low-cost development tools, enabling government to become more agile and responsive.
Before deploying cloud computing, government executives must first assess both their legacy IT investments and the benefits offered by public cloud services. For instance, cloud computing may offer rapid cost reductions for storing and sharing nonsensitive data and for software development and testing. In other areas, however, specific needs, data sensitivity and security may require certain IT resources to be kept in the data center. This hybrid approach will be appropriate for many government agencies.
Cloud services can be the key to helping governments make operational leaps. This technology can facilitate cross-governmental shared services, government-citizen data sharing, analysis for agency performance management, and error and fraud detection.
Though many public and private sector organizations are concerned about cloud security, they should keep in mind that it is not new or untested. In fact, there are potentially large benefits for some areas of government to move toward a more cloud-standardized approach to data security from the fragmented security protocols and systems that already exist in many large organizations.
Andrew Greenway leads Accenture’s cloud computing program.