State and local governments can’t bet on luck when it comes to the cloud, but smart helps, specifically OMB’s Cloud Smart policy, according to MeriTalk’s newly released “Smart > Lucky: Pillars to Fed and SLED Cloud Success” report.

The report, underwritten by Dell Technologies and Microsoft, found that 75 percent of public sector IT managers believe their agencies aren’t moving to cloud services aggressively enough.

OMB’s Cloud Smart policy, initially released in September 2018, is intended to help Federal agencies improve IT service delivery and increase flexibility in IT procurement.

This said, state and local IT leaders are also starting to focus on the recommendations.  More than half of state, local and education IT leaders surveyed – 57 percent – say the Federal Cloud Smart policy is helping their organizations accelerate cloud adoption.

In terms of the policies three pillars – security, workforce, and procurement – 39 percent of SLED respondents feel most prepared when it comes to security, 33 percent said workforce, 14 percent said procurement, and another 14 percent said they were unsure.

The report identified three hurdles SLED organizations face on the road to cloud adoption:

  • Only 47 percent of respondents said that know who is responsible for each cloud security measure;
  • The majority (55 percent) said their workforce “is not ready to take full advantage of cloud”; and
  • Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of respondents said they want more guidance on “how to efficiently and effectively procure cloud solutions.”

Agencies who are rapidly moving to the cloud don’t just have “the luck of the Irish” on their side; instead, the report found they are following the Federal Cloud Smart policy’s advice. Respondents who ranked themselves as “advanced” cloud organizations are more likely to have implemented identity, credential, and access management guidelines, established talent development guidelines, and created cloud procurement guidance.

Fed and SLED IT leaders agree that a hybrid IT model is the most effective approach –one cloud does not fit all. Agencies need to evaluate workloads and match to the best option – on-premises, off-premises, or in a co-location facility, survey respondents said.

In addition, the research identifies gaps in risk management across hybrid environments. Sixty-seven percent of IT managers are not performing continual risk prevention assessments across all environments and 66 percent say they are not improving consistency between on-premises and cloud security.

In terms of what steps SLED leaders have taken to prepare for the move to the cloud, 43 percent have improved their data encryption, 45 percent have provided cloud education for their IT workforce, and 31 percent have developed “comprehensive guidance” for cloud service procurement.

“The findings in this research from MeriTalk provide a concise roadmap for public sector CIOs to drive innovation via cloud adoption while minimizing risk and activating the organizational culture changes to make this transformation a reality,” says Craig Orgeron, CIO, State of Mississippi.

To read the full report, please click here.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs