As cloud computing has become mainstream in government, it’s easy to lose perspective on how much things have changed. Over the past three years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in cloud adoption, as more and more governments embrace the technology to operate more cost effectively, enhance services, and embrace more flexible computing models.
But the road to widespread adoption has had its challenges and barriers to overcome, ranging from security concerns to cultural changes. Now that agencies involved in healthcare, defense, and finance—historically slower to adopt new technologies due to the sensitive nature of their work—are embracing the cloud, I often take a step back to think: What’s changed to arrive at this point?
I believe there are three factors that have catalyzed cloud’s momentum in government:
- Security: As my colleague Kellie Ann Chainier wrote in a recent blog post, a cloud solution is only as good as its promise of security and data privacy. In recent years, there have been great strides made, both in industry and within the public sector, to ensure that cloud technologies meet appropriate levels of security for government. In the United States, for example, the federal government launched the FedRAMP program, which serves as a security clearing house for cloud solutions, helping streamline the security certification process for federal agencies and speed their adoption of cloud solutions. Similarly, Microsoft and other companies are offering resources to government organizations to help them quickly assess the privacy, regulatory compliance, security, and transparency of cloud services. One example is our Office 365 Trust Center. In addition, there has been a significant expansion in the various cloud models offered to government organizations (public, private, hybrid, government-only, etc.), helping meet the unique needs and risk tolerances of diverse agencies.