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States Double Down On Cloud Computing – Don’t Miss The Train

“Cloud computing has changed the way that CIOs procure goods and services in the government. The cloud computing train left the station a long time ago, it is more than past time for governments to fully jump on board.” – Meredith Ward.

More than 74% of state CIOs say they have at least one application in the cloud. That’s up from just 33% who answered the question in 2010. These numbers are from a recently released National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) research brief that looked at the evolution of cloud computing.

Doug Robinson is NASCIO’s executive director and Meredith Ward is a policy advisor at NASCIO. They both sat down with me for GovLoop’s State and Local Spotlight interview to look at how cloud computing has transformed over the last 10 years.

Q. 74% of state CIOs say they are implementing cloud now, is this a significant number?

  • A.“In 2010 we asked CIOs if they were implementing cloud, and we’ve kept asking that question for the past three years. In 2010, that number was 33%. At the time more than 54% said they were just investigating cloud services, but had not taken any action to implement. We have gone from 33% to 74% in three short years,” said Robinson. “I think at this point next year I would argue that cloud adoption will be close to 100%, primarily in what I would call private clouds. Private clouds are owned and operated by the CIO or other official at the agency.”

Q. Are security concerns in the cloud a thing of the past?

  • A. “Our evidence shows that security has become less of an issue and the procurement and legal concerns have become paramount,” said Robinson. “In the past there was a hesitancy to have state data in the public cloud or a hybrid environment, but data has shown the environments to be very secure. Our survey also found a very resounding response for the need for common templates and streamlined procurements. Certainly part of that is the cultural shift has taken place in the technology space but not so much in the procurement, budgeting and auditing space.”

Q. Why have laws and regulations not been able to keep pace with technology?

  • A. “In the grand scheme of the things, cloud is a relatively new concept,” said Ward. “The new way of procurement and IT has really caused legislators to take a step back and figure out what they need to change so that they can go forward to provide the best services to citizens, that takes time.”

Q. What will the cloud implementation look like next year?

  • A. “The cloud does set up some challenges, but it also sets up the opportunity to further educate state procurement officials and state budget officials that cloud is certainly the trend and they need to understand and assist in the movement,” said Robinson. “Ultimately the cloud is going to provide the state benefits of efficiency, effectiveness, scalability and adaptability that they have not had in the past when they were required to buy a fixed asset infrastructure and then be presented with declining use of that environment.”

If you enjoyed our GovLoop’s State and Local Spotlight interview, you can find more interviews under keyword “Emily’s Corner.”

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