Study Reveals Federal IT Professionals are Leary about Migrating IT Services to Cloud

By Frank Griffin

The introduction of cloud technology has forever changed the IT environment by delivering computing as a service. Software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and more can be obtained over a network giving organizations of all sizes greater flexibility and scalability at lower price points than on-premises infrastructure. While the technology is being adopted widely, there are organizations still taking precautions before migrating to the cloud.

 According to a new report by CloudMeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, 89 percent of federal IT professional are apprehensive about migrating IT services to the cloud.

This apprehension comes from IT professionals that understand fully the many risks cloud still poses. The new report titled, “Cloud Control: Moving to the Comfort Zone” underwritten by NetApp and Arrow, points out Federal agencies want to double their cloud use, but the federal IT professionals are not yet fully on board to migrate to the cloud. The online survey was conducted in June 2014 of 153 Federal IT professionals who have implemented cloud computing as part of their IT strategy.

The U.S. Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, announced the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy in 2011 with a mandate to make Cloud First requiring federal agencies to consider cloud-based IT services for certain systems. According to a report by Accenture, three years on the federal public service continues to struggle with cloud implementations.

That is not to say federal agencies are not using cloud technology, but concerns about data security and management can slow or stop the migration.

The CloudMeriTalk survey revealed:

  • Only 44 percent of agencies have "mature" data governance practices in the cloud
  • Fifty-six percent are currently in the process of implementing data stewardship or a more formal data governance program for their cloud services or vendors
  • Fifty-three percent are actively improving these programs and are more likely to be comfortable turning over their IT services to cloud vendors, while 32 percent are not
  • Fifty-five percent of Federal IT professionals say that cloud makes data management/stewardship easier
  • Fifty-four percent of respondents cite security as their top concern, only one in five feels that the security offered by their cloud vendors is completely sufficient.,
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents note that their agencies do not have quality, documented metadata

CloudMeriTalk also pointed out 52 percent do not have well-understood data integration, 50 percent have not defined/identified data owners, and 49 percent do not have known systems of record.

“Why are grown adults afraid of the dark?" asked Stephen O'Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. "Cloud solution providers need to turn on the lights so Feds can see if there are monsters behind the door and under the bed!”

Even though federal agencies are responsible for massive amounts of data and the existing infrastructure can provide some level of security, recent data breaches have pointed out no one is 100 percent safe. So these agencies have to educate themselves on the many benefits cloud provides and establish enterprise-wide governance practices to ensure security protocols are followed to the letter.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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