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Should governments take to the cloud? (part 2)

by Dave Hannon

November 5, 2010

By Dave Hannon

In September I posed this question in a blog after reading about a meeting U.S. government officials had with the Business Software Alliance. Well, last month, the Technology CEO Council released a report that suggests, among other things, the U.S. government could reduce its IT costs by as much as 30% by implementing could computing and data center reduction and cut $1 trillion from its budget from a variety of IT-focused initiatives.

“Government agencies that have moved to cloud computing have generally achieved between 25 and 50 percent in savings associated with information technology operations, according to a Brookings Institution report,” the Council’s report said. It also points out that based on the United Kingdom’s prediction that it can save $4.8 billion by moving to the cloud, the U.S. stands to save more like $16 billion.

Is cloud computing an effective solution for reducing government spending, from both a security perspective as well as an ROI perspective? Or are these reports just the software and hardware vendors hoping to get some big government contracts?

And would you want your tax returns floating around in the cloud? Sure, you’re confident that cloud computing is secure when you implement it at your company (and you’re on the team testing and securing the data), but would you be so confident with a project in the government's hands? No one knows better than IT folks how difficult it can be to keep a project like this on budget. Do you think the government could achieve legitimate savings through virtualization or is this a prime candidate for scope creep and massive cost overruns? 

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