cloud money

Cloud gaining traction as state and local cost-cutter

Almost half of U.S. state and local governments in a recent survey by the Unisys Corp. are planning or are already involved in cloud computing projects, according to the firm, which found that hardware and software cost savings were top drivers moving agencies to the cloud.

The research, conducted for Unisys by the Center for Digital Government, surveyed 109 IT managers from 18 states between July and August 2013.

In addition to cost savings, about one-fifth of the respondents said the ability to meet the demands of a growing mobile workforce was a top incentive for cloud adoption. Forty-six percent of all respondents reported they have or are planning to launch mobility or bring-your-own-device programs.

For IT managers who have, or are planning to implement a cloud offering, 70 percent said they would migrate Web applications to the cloud, 60 percent identified plans for data storage and 40 percent said they would use the cloud for email. Hybrid clouds, which combine private and public clouds, are the preferred platforms for 44 percent of the IT managers, while 36 percent have adopted private clouds. 

But while cloud momentum is growing at the state and local level, the survey found 42 percent of the respondents said their jurisdictions had not started a cloud offering and were not planning to, while 12 percent said they did not know if their agencies plan to migrate to the cloud, according to the survey.

Security remains an overwhelming concern for governments contemplating a move to the cloud. When asked about the key barriers to adopting the cloud, 71 percent cited data security, according to the survey.

The other two most cited barriers were “integration with existing systems” and “regulatory compliance,” cited by 42 percent and 40 percent of respondents, respectively, according to the report.

Crystal Cooper, vice president of public sector solutions at Unisys, said state and local governments are looking to cloud as a way to face a multitude of challenges, such as citizen expectation for better services despite shrinking budgets and resources. 

"Despite continued concerns about cloud security, agencies are recognizing that the cloud can help them reduce costs, adopt mobile devices into their organizations, and modernize old legacy software applications,” she said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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