Even before Vivek Kundra’s “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management,” federal agencies were abuzz with the thought of cloud computing as a way to better deliver services at a fraction of the cost.
When Kundra coined the phrase “cloud first” in 2010, it gave federal IT leaders a license to bring the emerging technology into government. Today, government leaders aren’t just looking at how to get to the cloud, but also how to get the most out of it, a trend that spans public- and private-sector organizations.
CDW interviewed more than 1,200 IT managers across many different industries for its Cloud 401 Report, and found that more than a third of all computing services today are delivered via the cloud. The survey also found that organizations don’t plan to stop there: Thirty-five percent of respondents say they plan to shift new IT services to the cloud.
“Cloud services have such great appeal that departments outside of IT often source them independently. But rather than diminish IT’s role, the data suggests that IT has a more critical role than ever: to integrate cloud with traditional services and build for reliability and continuity of service, regardless of delivery mode,” says Stephen Braat, vice president of cloud and managed solutions at CDW.
The survey’s respondents say they most frequently implement those services or tools that are simpler to transition. Storage, email and web hosting services are most widely delivered via the cloud, according to the survey, and perceived as the easiest to transition. Respondents also say they find cloud-based services easier to implement as more services are shifted there.
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At the other end of the spectrum, organizations identify enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management/marketing automation services as more difficult to deploy within the cloud.
Organizations report that their initial cloud implementation took an average of 14 weeks to complete. Subsequent implementations took 10 weeks, on average, and more than half of the organizations responding say they now complete typical implementations in six weeks or less. Perhaps it’s taking that first step that’s the hardest: More than 59 percent of respondents point to migration and integration as the greatest hurdles to cloud technology adoption.
Ensuring security in the cloud remains a top priority; however, only 28 percent of respondents already in the cloud identify security as the greatest source of problems with their current cloud services.
“Security is always going to be a top concern for IT, with any service,” Braat said, “but securing IT assets in the cloud doesn’t have to be a dramatic departure from securing assets locally. Security is not a point solution that you buy, implement and forget. It is an ongoing process.”
When it comes to choosing a provider, the respondents name reliability as their most important selection criterion, even ahead of the technical implementation.
“Our customers realize the value of cloud computing, and work together every day to make it succeed — addressing security, performance and integration along the way,” Braat says.
As the survey shows, cloud is here to stay. The federal government is now a leader in its use, and further federal agency adoption of cloud-based resources is only expected to grow in the future.