No longer just private clouds in public sector

Federal agencies that are migrating critical applications and information to the cloud need to consider the ongoing transformations happening within the IT landscape. While implementing cloud computing will be important for firms in the coming years, the hosted services should not be the only solutions that come to mind, as organizations will also need to embrace social, mobile and big data strategies.

A recent CIO Magazine report highlighted these needs, noting that federal agencies need to tap into these separate markets simultaneously to achieve the true benefits of the cloud and other emerging technologies.

"Make no mistake. It's not cloud in isolation. It's cloud in the mix of a series of disruptive trends that you really have to address," said David Cearley, vice president at Gartner Research, according to the news source.

Organizations in the public sector also need to be aware of the diluted definition of the cloud due to the overuse of the term. Rather than taking the cloud for granted, decision-makers need to implement the hosted services to improve application use, infrastructure and other critical components of the agency.

The tables are turning
In the past, federal agencies were only comfortable with using the private cloud, as executives appreciated the ability to manage their own resources, even if they maintained in an external environment. As the cloud matured, however, decision-makers began to recognize the benefits of using the public cloud, which can introduce a new wave of benefits, CIO Magazine noted. At the same time, however, agencies should not only be interested in money.

"Don't just assume cloud is cheaper," Cearley said, according to CIO Magazine. "You've got to have mechanisms to evaluate the life cycle cost over time, and sometimes even if it isn't cheaper, it makes sense to do it anyway because the number one issue with cloud is agility."

Market Research Media forecast the federal cloud computing market to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 16 percent between 2013 and 2018. This rapid increase is due to a broader awareness of the technology and the inherent benefits that come along with implementing the cloud in the public sector.

As federal agencies make their way to the cloud it will be important that executives work with a trusted provider that can make the transition to the proper cloud easier. By understanding which cloud model and service is most appropriate for their organization, government decision-makers can be sure their use of the cloud is effective.

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