Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama and his administration have pushed hard to modernize the government's IT infrastructure. From the consolidation of data centers to creating the position of federal CIO and the cloud-first policy that came next, technology has been at the forefront of several government initiatives.
However, many of these efforts have been focused at the federal level of government, as Obama tries to shave down the behemoth program's $80 billion annual spending. Lost in the shuffle have been agencies and organizations at lower levels of the public sector, many of which could use a technology boost in their own right.
The time is now for such changes to take place, according to the recommendations recently handed down by the TechAmerica Foundation's State and Local Government Commission. An IT industry nonprofit, TechAmerica is among the most serious supporters of cloud computing.
"Businesses and institutions across the nation have transformed their IT using the cloud, improving their ability to communicate, deliver value and be competitive," said commission chairman Tarkan Maner. "Now is the time for these benefits to accrue to state and local governments as well."
State and local government organizations can no longer afford to ignore the benefits of cloud computing, the commission's report stated. Of course, cloud security must be a priority when embarking on any sort of migration, the experts added.
Many of the commission's suggestions were centered on the need for enhanced data security measures within government cloud environments. For example, all uses of the cloud should be accompanied by some form of authentication. And all hosted services and systems should be equipped with identity management capabilities to restrict access to confidential information.
"Cloud computing is a win-win for governments, for citizens and for the economy as a whole. It takes the technical complexity out of the hands of an already overworked government IT department while at the same time improving services for citizens," California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said, according to the TechAmerica report.
Many of Obama's efforts at the federal level are also primed to pay off during the next several years, according to comments made by David McClure, the associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. CIO magazine reported that McClure has pointed to mounting budget pressures and technological maturation as reason's for the government's embrace of the cloud.
Cloud Computing News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro