Agencies look to cloud computing to help with compliance and sensitive workloads and as a platform for emerging technologies and maintaining data sovereignty.
Five cloud providers brought the most value to the government market in the past 12 months, according to a new study.
Avasant’s “Government Cloud Platforms 2021–2022 RadarView,” released Nov. 19, evaluated 15 providers based on product maturity, enterprise adaptability and future readiness. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft emerged as leaders, Google and IBM as innovators and Oracle as a disruptor.
The report identifies four trends that are shaping the market. The first is the increasing compliance needs that are accelerating the shift to cloud. The cloud helps agencies address sensitive workloads, such as those involving health care data, while complying with requirements. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used AWS GovCloud to manage sensitive data.
State and local governments are increasingly adopting cloud to lower IT and licensing costs, the report also notes. Cloud can help city councils manage and organize resources and foster communication and collaboration. It can help them securely store, analyze and process sensitive economic data, and they can more easily capture and process data from the internet of things and edge computing, the report states.
For example, Chattanooga, Tenn., used Google’s Government Cloud and Workspace to make documents, calendars and forms readily available across form factors and devices, doubling productivity. Maine’s state government used Oracle Analytics Cloud to create an autonomous data warehouse that gives leaders access to real-time data and the ability to create reports and dashboards.
The second trend is the emergence of tailored cloud regions for communities such as defense and intelligence. Such regions can address the level of sensitive data that these communities work with, and these users can look to these isolated cloud resources to deploy workloads securely and compliantly.
The third trend is the fact that convergence with emerging technologies is driving change.
“Modern governments are working toward improving services by leveraging emerging technologies like 5G networks, blockchain and edge computing for greater speed, low-latency, and high availability of verifiable data to enable use cases such as congestion monitoring and smart waste management,” according to the report summary. “Additionally, cloud platform providers are helping government agencies and departments in streamlining collaboration tools.”
Specifically, cloud-based blockchain helps agencies move away from siloed systems, while ensuring that any copy of data will be available, verifiable and trustworthy. The report points to the Health and Human Services Department’s Accelerate app for managing contract billing. It uses blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and process automation.
Additionally, 5G lets agencies send and receive information faster than other networks and with lower latency, and edge computing lets them process at or near the data source, which reduces latency. The U.S. Freight Transportation System uses Verizon’s multi-access edge computing solution to boost supply-chain efficiency and provide end-to-end near-real-time logistic controls, the report summary states.
Fourth, government cloud providers are expanding their influence by growing into new regions and helping the public sector shift to cloud while maintaining data governance and sovereignty.
Moves toward modernization, smart cities and a digital economy are driving governments to upgrade their IT infrastructure, and cloud is the best way to ensure that data is securely and readily available, according to a press statement about the report. In the past, strict data sovereignty requirements often complicated governments’ cloud adoption, but now providers are filling the need by setting up data centers to employ local workers in the countries they plan to serve, the release states.
“The emergence of government cloud platforms finally allow governments to take advantage of the cost and technology benefits of the cloud. However, compliance in this area is still important,” said Henry Guapo, partner with Avasant. “Choosing the right government cloud is imperative.”