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Survey: Government IT Workers Prefer Hybrid, Private Clouds

Support for private clouds is stronger in the federal sector, according to a survey sponsored by Quest Software Public Sector.

Top 20 Government Cloud Service Providers
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Slideshow: Top 20 Government Cloud Service Providers
Government and public-sector IT professionals think hybrid or private clouds will be a better option for use in their agencies over than next five years than public clouds, a new survey has found.

More than 36% of IT professionals in federal, state, and local governments believe that a hybrid cloud model--some combination of private and public cloud use--will be the best fit for their organizations in the near term, according the recently released study "Pulse on Virtualization and Cloud Computing" (PDF).

Moreover, 28% said they prefer a private cloud, while only 7% thought public clouds were a good idea. Sixteen percent showed interest in a community option, 3% preferred none of the options presented in the survey, and 9% said they didn't know which cloud option would serve their organization best over the next five years.

Quest Software Public Sector, a subsidiary of Quest Software, commissioned the survey, which was conducted by the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Norwich University. Norwich is a private military college that is also a National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

Norwich polled 646 government IT professionals from federal civilian, federal defense, and intelligence agencies, as well as professionals from state, local, and municipal government. State higher-education agency professionals also responded to the survey.

Not surprisingly, support for private clouds at the federal level was even higher than at the state or local level, with 37 percent of federal IT professionals preferring a private cloud to either a hybrid or public model, according to the survey.

The federal government has high security standards for its networks and has prioritized cybersecurity over the past several years. However, federal agencies so far have chosen both public and private options for their cloud deployments.

The General Services Administration and the Department of Agriculture, for instance, both used public clouds for migrating in-house email to the cloud, whereas the Army is using a private cloud hosted by DISA for its own email migration.

Still, the survey found that vulnerability to security breaches remains the chief barrier to public cloud adoption among government customers, with federal professionals again having more consternation about public clouds.

More than 62% of federal professionals polled were concerned about security versus more than 42% of state and local respondents, according to the survey.

Even as the feds said they preferred private clouds, not many of them thought their organizations would be deploying one themselves. Only 16% said they their organization would set up and operate a private cloud as part of the federal government's cloud-first mandated ordered by U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra in December.

In fact, nearly half of federal IT professionals surveyed, or 48%, weren't sure how their agencies would meet the requirements of the cloud-first policy, according to the survey.

Security concerns give many companies pause as they consider migrating portions of their IT operations to cloud-based services. But you can stay safe in the cloud, as this Tech Center report explains. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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