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Getting Our Arms Around the Cloud: A Review of Cloud Roundtable Polling Data

During the course of our Executive Roundtable on government cloud initiatives last week, we polled the audience with three questions designed to provide some perspective on how government contractors view the cloud today.

Poll Question 1: NIST’s Definition of the Cloud

Our first poll was fueled by the discussion around what the cloud meant to the government and government contractors. To help answer the question “What is it?”, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had defined the “cloud” as:

“…a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e g , networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”


NIST went on to identify five essential characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service.

Of course – the question we asked everyone was: “Do you agree with the NIST definition?”

According to the results (see chart below), a vast majority of those attending the Executive Roundtable believed the government got it right. Only a few thought the definition was either too narrow or too broad.

NIST Definition Cloud
Poll Question 1: Do you agree with the NIST Definition of the cloud?

Poll Question 2: Deploying Cloud Solutions

With a clear understanding of the cloud established, we launched a second poll designed to get an idea of what government contractors participating in the Webinar had done in terms of deploying cloud solutions.

According to the results, a large percentage had deployed a cloud solution – but only in the private sector. Just a small number had experience delivering a cloud environment to a government customer:

Cloud Deployment Poll
Poll Question 2: Have you conducted a cloud deployment?

Poll Question 3: Cloud Security:

Finally, we decided to ask the audience whether or not they felt moving to the cloud was going to make the data our government collects and stores — as well as the services it provides — more secure, less secure or about the same it is today.

The results were nearly even across the board. While a slight majority thought there would be no difference (a throwback to Bill Perlowitz’s comment during the Webinar that a bad app outside the cloud will be a bad app inside the cloud), about one-third of respondents thought the cloud would make government IT more secure, and one-third less secure.

Will moving to the cloud make us more secure?
Poll Question 3: Cloud Security

What Do the Results Mean?

Based on the polls and the discussion during the Roundtable, a few points seem apparent:

  • Cloud specialists all know what the cloud is. If a government contractor is confused about what a cloud platform ultimately looks like and how it operates, they should start learning by examining key cloud resources.
  • The government may be a slow adopter of cloud solutions / technology, but that does not mean the playing field is completely level. Companies with experience deploying solutions in the private sector will have an edge over those who are still working towards their first deployments.
  • Lastly, despite the advances in technology – security remains a hot-button issue. Close to a third of all Webinar attendees believe that the cloud will be less secure than current security options. An even larger number see no real tangible security benefits at all. One thing to keep in mind as the cloud debate continues is that the longer security remains a concern, the longer cloud adoption will continue progressing slowly.

If you didn’t have a chance to view the Executive Roundtable Webinar, or want a refresher, watch the full, archived video on-demand.

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