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Federal Agencies Using Open Source Solutions More Satisfied with Cloud Security: MeriTalk

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Seventy-five percent of federal IT workers want to move more services to the cloud, but are held back by data control concerns, according to a survey released this week by MeriTalk. According to “Cloud Without the Commitment,” only 53 percent of federal IT workers rate their cloud experience as very successful, the same number as are being held back by fear of long-term contracts.

MeriTalk surveyed 150 federal IT professionals in December for Cisco and Red Hat, and found serious interest and serious concerns about committing to cloud.

Those agencies using open source solutions are reporting much higher levels of satisfaction with cloud data security and agility, with over 20 percent higher satisfaction levels for both among open source users.

“Open source is not only driving much of the technology innovation in cloud, it is also enabling government agencies to answer their questions about cloud portability and integration,” says Mike Byrd, senior director, Government Channel Sales, Red Hat. “In this way, it is not surprising to me that the survey respondents who have embraced open source reported greater cloud success.”

The survey also strongly indicates the most successful path to federal cloud adoption. Sixty-five percent are not completing an appropriate workload analysis, and 60 percent are not developing a cost model, while 56 percent have worked with a consultant and found the experience “very helpful.”

The top barriers to further migration are integration concerns at 58 percent, followed by the inability to actually migrate the data from existing legacy systems (57 percent), and data mobility once it is in the cloud (54 percent).

Additionally, an estimated 32 percent of data cannot be moved to the cloud because of security or data sovereignty issues, and 23 percent are not comfortable storing sensitive data with even FedRAMP-certified providers.

Federal workers concerned about cloud security already have a higher standard to refer to, developed for the Department of Defense and released last week.

Cloud adoption has continued at federal agencies despite the misgivings, supported by Cloud First and FedRAMP. Nineteen percent said their agency delivers a quarter or more of its services from the cloud, led by email and web hosting.

The survey authors conclude that federal IT workers should start small, and build successful cloud use models, and that they should carefully consider provider options and explore open source options that deliver the needed flexibility.

An August MeriTalk survey showed a lack of confidence in federal data center reliability among federal IT workers.

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