MeriTalk Study Sees Federal IT Managers Predicting Cloud Uptick

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The hype around cloud services in the Federal government could lead to substantial increases in adoption over the next year, according to new research conducted by MeriTalk.

The MeriTalk survey of 150 Federal IT managers familiar with their agencies’ cloud migration plans reveals that 77 percent of respondents expect cloud adoption to increase in the next year. Some feel it will happen in a big way–27 percent expect it to “increase significantly.”

It also appears that those agency IT leaders are generally satisfied with the breadth of options available to them in the current cloud marketplace. Sixty-eight percent said that they believe their agency has access to the best cloud service providers in the marketplace, compared to just 21 percent who said they do not. Eleven percent remain unsure if they’re getting the best the industry has to offer.

The Federal facilitator for cloud adoption remains the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. FedRAMP is the government-wide program that standardizes security assessments and authorization for cloud providers to collaborate with Federal agencies. A FedRAMP authorization means that providers meet stringent security baselines and can immediately step in to assist government missions.

Despite wide satisfaction with the current marketplace, 93 percent of survey respondents still do believe that FedRAMP could be improved. Among the top wishes from govies include reducing redundant processes around assessment (45 percent), increasing standardization (43 percent), and increasing the overall speed and efficiency (42 percent)–allowing cloud providers to get into the game faster.

Other government decisionmakers cited better transparency, education around roles and responsibilities, and better process-tracking metrics as ways to make FedRAMP even more successful.

The new Federal Cloud Smart strategy has also keyed in on the importance of FedRAMP. The Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration are acknowledging that certain cloud offerings may not need to be subject to a cumbersome vetting process.

FedRAMP introduced a new FedRAMP Tailored baseline that expedites the process to authorize “industry solutions that are low risk, and many times, low cost for agencies to deploy and use.” Adobe received the first FedRAMP Tailored authorization in May, and OMB and GSA have now set a goal to better implement the Tailored baseline “to expand adoption” within the next six months and onward.

These efforts could do well to ensure that cloud software-as-a-service makes its way into agency IT even quicker, and bring about the more expansive use of cloud that the MeriTalk research participants are forecasting in the new fiscal year.

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