Federal agencies encounter challenges during cloud migration

Similar to businesses in the private sector, the federal government also has a plan to ease the adoption of cloud computing services throughout the public sector. During the process, however, agencies are experiencing a number of challenges associated with migrating to the hosted environment, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

GAO noted that meeting federal data security requirements is one of the most complicated tasks encountered when attempting to migrate IT processes to cloud-based environments. In many cases, cloud service providers are unaware of government regulations, which require decision-makers to continually monitor and inventory their systems.

Choosing the right vendor is also a common issue with federal agencies moving to the cloud, GAO said. Sometimes organizations simply don't have the means to certify that service providers are meeting data security demands. More importantly, many agencies have trouble avoiding getting locked in, which eliminates the department's ability to remain flexible when switching between vendors or products down the line.

Additionally, GAO revealed that many agencies have problems when trying to overcome cultural barriers. Since the cloud is a relatively new concept to many decision-makers, they often have concerns in regard to how well the service can protect sensitive information. Meanwhile, executives often have trouble trying to put a monetary value to the cloud, as the technology uses a pay-per-use model. As a result, it is often difficult to definitively integrate the cloud into their IT budgets.

Despite these challenges, the government will continue to invest in the cloud. According to Deltek, the federal cloud computing budget will increase from $734 million in 2012 to $3.2 billion in 2017. The majority of organizations will likely invest in the private cloud, choosing to host mission-critical data on-site.

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