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Trends Shaping Government Cloud Use in the U.S.

A report titled “Government Cloud Platforms 2021–2022 RadarView” evaluated 15 providers based on product maturity, enterprise adaptability and future-readiness. The report identifies four trends that are shaping the market. The first is the increasing compliance needs that are accelerating the shift to the cloud. The cloud helps agencies address sensitive workloads, such as those involving health care data while complying with requirements.

State and local governments are increasingly adopting cloud to lower IT and licensing costs. Cloud can help city councils manage and organise resources and foster communication and collaboration. It can help them securely store, analyse and process sensitive economic data, and they can more easily capture and process data from the internet of things and edge computing.

The second trend is the emergence of tailored cloud regions for communities such as defence and intelligence. Such regions can address the level of sensitive data that these communities work with, and these users can look to these isolated cloud resources to deploy workloads securely and compliantly.

The third trend is the fact that convergence with emerging technologies is driving change. Modern governments are working toward improving services by leveraging emerging technologies like 5G networks, blockchain and edge computing for greater speed, low latency, and high availability of verifiable data to enable use cases such as congestion monitoring and smart waste management. Additionally, cloud platform providers are helping government agencies and departments to streamline collaboration tools.

Specifically, cloud-based blockchain helps agencies move away from siloed systems while ensuring that any copy of data will be available, verifiable and trustworthy. The report points to the Health and Human Services Department’s Accelerate app for managing contract billing. It uses blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and process automation.

Additionally, 5G lets agencies send and receive information faster than other networks and with lower latency, and edge computing lets them process at or near the data source, which reduces latency. The U.S. Freight Transportation System uses Verizon’s multi-access edge computing solution to boost supply-chain efficiency and provide end-to-end near-real-time logistic controls, the report summary states.

Fourth, government cloud providers are expanding their influence by growing into new regions and helping the public sector shift to cloud while maintaining data governance and sovereignty. Moves toward modernisation, smart cities and a digital economy are driving governments to upgrade their IT infrastructure, and cloud is the best way to ensure that data is securely and readily available. In the past, strict data sovereignty requirements often complicated governments’ cloud adoption, but now providers are filling the need by setting up data centres to employ local workers in the countries they plan to serve.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the U.S. Department of Defence (DOD) outlined its goals that would help support service members outside of the U.S. by way of cloud computing. The agency establishes the vision and goals for enabling a dominant all-domain advantage through cloud innovation at the tactical edge. It identifies areas requiring modernisation to realise the potential of cloud computing, specifically: security, redundancy, reliability and availability.

The strategy is broken down into three parts: resilient connectivity, providing the right computing power, and training members to utilise the technology. Regarding the first goal, the agency is committed to providing robust and resilient connectivity all the way to the tactical edge. Right now, network connectivity is a problem when it comes to connecting to the cloud and getting people the information they need to carry out their missions.

The goals can be achieved, but some will take much longer than others, and accomplishing all three will require more than just the efforts of the Defence Department. The approach needs to be holistic that involves a whole government, members of Congressfederal partners, internal to DOD, also with the cloud service providers and developing a cohesive strategy that works for the department to be able to deliver these much-needed services, to where they are needed.

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