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How well is the U.S. government adapting to cloud computing? Although many agencies have been adapting cloud at a fairly consistent pace, new research gathered by MeriTalk and ATandT found that adaption hasn’t been happening at a pace quick enough to save the country potentially billions of dollars.

Currently, about 75% of federal government agencies use at least one cloud platform. However, most of the time, cloud technology is playing a fairly limited role within overall IT strategy in these departments. The study found that, in not further incorporating cloud technology, the federal government was missing out on saving nearly $19 billion in IT costs.

In conducting the survey, the researchers surveyed 159 IT decision makers for the U.S. government, and asked them what their views were regarding how their agencies would be using cloud computing solutions in the future. Even though many reported having adopted cloud, just 41% said that their agency was considering using the cloud as a part of their overall, more expansive IT strategy. It’s this that will cost the government millions each month.

The findings are also interesting because, several years ago, the federal government tried launching a “cloud first” policy which was intended to mandate that agencies use cloud solutions rather than more traditional premise software, at least for certain services.

What was the problem? Many — 94%, in fact — reported that security concerns were the primary reasons their agencies were not yet investing more in cloud platforms. The findings suggest that it is important for cloud server hosting companies to educate both potential customers and the public about what is being done to address safety and security concerns as far as the technology is concerned. It’s not surprising, after all, that the federal government would be concerned about the safety of sensitive data.

“Helping agencies address those considerations is critical to the federal government realizing the full benefits and potential of cloud,” said ATandT government solutions VP of technology, Chris Smith.

What is your experience with cloud hosting? Do you think it could save the government money? Let us know in the comments.
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