Cloud computing has come a long way since its early iterations, and virtual machines can now be found in both on- and off-premise data centers across the enterprise. With such widespread adoption in the private sector, however, why does the cloud still carry negative connotations when considered by IT leaders in federal agencies?
Even if you've experimented with hosted services in the past, chances are that you still rely primarily on legacy assets to perform daily compute, memory and storage operations. Many organizations have not even migrated a single shred of their tech resources to the cloud. What accounts for this hesitation across the public arena and what can you do to set your cloud fears aside?
A matter of comfort
For a large contingent of federal IT decision-makers, apprehension surrounding cloud migration is simply a result of habit and comfort. Legacy systems are named so for a reason - for many IT admins, these assets are all they have ever known, resulting in a feeling of familiarity and expertise. This is enough of a reason to shun the cloud for some organizations, despite the saturation of positive testimonials coming from every corner of the private sector.
InformationWeek pointed out that a loss of control constitutes much of the cloud skepticism seen in federal agencies, especially those handling sensitive citizen and government data. With growing fears of data breaches and cybercriminal attacks, this sentiment may be warranted, but is cloud avoidance the only answer?
The source examined a recent report from MeriTalk titled "Cloud Control: Moving to the Comfort Zone," revealed the findings from a survey of 153 government IT executives. MeriTalk's report showed that 89 percent of respondents were concerned about losing command over their data by moving it to the cloud, while only 44 percent of the organizations using the technology believe they are "mature" in their operations. You certainly have your work cut out for you, and the source recommended starting with hybrid deployments to ease your organization into the cloud.
"With the introduction of new hybrid cloud architectures, data stewardship becomes even more complex, as data must be managed and accessed across any cloud," Kirk Kern, chief technology officer of the US public sector at NetApp, stated, according to the news source. NetApp, a provider of network data storage and management, co-sponsored the report with Arrow Electronics.
Getting the ball rolling
If you find yourself in negotiation gridlock when it comes to cloud procurement for your organization, support from a third-party service provider may be the missing component in your boardroom argument. While InformationWeek pointed out that most agencies are looking to build trust with their providers, there is no substitute for expertise when it comes to cultivating positive IT alliances.
According to Government Technology, cloud vendors specializing in public sector operations are better equipped to assist federal agencies in large-scale migrations, as they understand the unique concerns of the decision-makers in the arena. Former Colorado CIO Kristin Russell, now director of Deloitte Digital, recounted her experience of high-level cloud discussions with the source.
"What we typically find is that although at times we start from positions that are 180 degrees apart from one another, we usually can get to a mutually agreeable position," Russell told the news provider. "This allows us to perhaps shorten the time necessary to get to that position where interests are aligned between both parties."
There are plenty of ways to securely and swiftly migrate your infrastructure to the cloud - you only need to align yourself with the right partners and build a blueprint as a team.