It's official: Cloud computing has arrived -- and it appears to be the hit of the party. The Pew Internet & American Life Project released survey results in September 2008 reporting that 69 percent of Americans who are online use Web-based e-mail, store data or use software applications over the Internet. In October 2008, the market research firm IDC forecast that spending on IT cloud services would reach $42 billion by 2012.
Government agencies are starting to use cloud computing for storage, applications or development; these services are hosted on a remote server in order to save money on implementation and management. Cloud services are increasingly pervasive and may forever transform how government employees access and manage digital information.
But with so many clouds on the horizon for IT, some people worry about potential storms ahead.
"What tends to worry people [about cloud computing] are issues like security and privacy of data -- that's definitely what we often hear from our customers," said Chris Willey, interim chief technology officer of Washington, D.C.
Willey's office provides an internal, government-held, private cloud service to other city agencies, which allows them to rent processing, storage and other computing resources. The city government also uses applications hosted by Google in an external, public cloud model for e-mail and document creation capabilities.
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