US government increases use of cloud computing

It has been revealed that the US government’s use of cloud computing is on the rise.

The Amazon Public Sector Symposium took place recently and the National Security Authority (NSA) used the event to announce that some of its IT systems will be moving over to Amazon Web Services (AWS). A number of other federal agencies have already made this move, including the Department of Defense, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the CIA.

Alex Voultepsis, the chief of engineering for the NSA’s Intelligence Community Special Operations Group, said that the services provided by Amazon offer “significant IT efficiencies”. He has estimated that the agency will be able to save as much as 50% on the cost of infrastructure by making this move.

It was in 2010 that Vivek Kundra, the CIO of the US government, decided that the government would have a ‘cloud first’ policy. Moving to cloud computing services has taken five years and there is still a great deal of work to be done. In 2014 it was estimated that around 2% of IT spending went towards cloud services, with some of the largest federal agencies not even considering using the cloud for more than two-thirds of their projects.

The Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group (CCCAG) often meets with government IT managers to discuss the use of cloud computing and has heard that there are concerns about security, that the technologies are not proven and that the cost savings are not realistic; however, it is believed that this is now turning around, with more investment in cloud computing still to come.