Virtual Anxiety Virtual Anxiety Internally Created

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.

Cloudiness Ahead

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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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.