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Government Still Wary of Cloud Computing

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Government Still Wary of Cloud Computing

July 16, 2014
By Clayton Hamshar
Contributing Writer

As more companies shift their operations to the cloud, it is somewhat strange how not many government operations have done the same. The FBI is one of the only agencies to embrace the new technology, demonstrating that they recognize the clear benefits of the transition without being subject to many of the factors that slow down other branches.

One of the most tantalizing points for the government is the low cost of cloud operations, often as much as four times less than usual methods. Many of the current tools used by the government are antiquated, and maintenance on these “legacy systems” are an immense money sink- accounting for about 70% of all technology costs. Adapting a new system would greatly reduce the amount spent on technology and free up the budget for more pressing matters.

Still a cause for skepticism is the apparent lack of transparency that seems to come with cloud-based operations run through a proprietary data center. In addition to qualms that the data would not be readily accessible in times of need, government officials fear that locking the information into one cloud company will keep it there forever. However, negotiators have counter-argued this point by including “transition-out clauses” that account for future problems that may arise. Cloud systems must also convince government officials that the data would be accessible at all times without security risk from the enterprise, adversaries and the public.

Essentially, these cloud operators must continue to present their reasoning for why a switch would be beneficial and prepare for a heavy amount of scrutiny on their current practices.

One of the best solutions for counteracting this issue and transitioning to this method of data storage would be a standardized and well-tested certificate system, as demonstrated in the CIO. This would enable a company to back up and prove its claims and have a veritable defense against any government questions.

None of this takes into account the problems a wary public would probably have with this kind of move, fearing for their personal data as well as the stability of government operations. The public is the last group that must be convinced, showing how proper levels of transparency and security will be maintained or even improved upon.

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