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How the Cloud is Changing Everything for Government IT

More governments are doing big data analytics, high-performance computing, collaborative applications and disaster recovery in the cloud.

by / August 6, 2014
Miguel Gamiño Jr., acting CIO for the city and county of San Francisco, said the jurisdiction is investigating how best to apply private and hybrid cloud environments for the scalability and flexibility they offer. “Cloud is a very broad term," he said. "It is a philosophy, not a product." Jessica Mulholland

Interested in cloud services?

Here's a list of nearly 60 companies that provide almost anything as a service for public-sector customers. 

ACCELA: A longtime provider of self-service permitting and licensing applications for the public sector, civic cloud platform veteran Accela made a conscious shift in focus to hosted services in recent years, making its products more accessible to smaller jurisdictions. Cities like Palo Alto, Calif., and El Paso, Texas, now use Accela’s platform to develop citizen-facing apps tracking services like permits and garbage pickup. HQ: San Ramon, California 

AINS: A member of the Amazon Partner Network, AINS provides cloud-based infrastructure and software services. Now authorized to operate under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), AINS counts the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Fairfax County, Va., among its public-sector cloud clients. HQ: Gaithersburg, Maryland

AIRWATCH: AirWatch's Enterprise Mobility Management platform in the cloud is used by government agencies to simplify the process of deploying mobile devices. Pierce County, Wash., for example, used AirWatch to wirelessly configure hundreds of tablets for its employees. In 2013, the company acquired Motorola's mobility services platform, allowing it to work with ruggedized devices used by government employees who work outside of a typical office environment. HQ: Atlanta, Georgia      

AKAMAI: Akamai’s cloud services are used by 13 out of 15 cabinet-level agencies in the federal government, all branches of the U.S. military and various other state and local governments. An Internet content delivery network recognized as one of the world's largest distributed computing platforms, Akamai's worldwide servers are rented by customers who wants their websites to work faster by having content distributed from a location closer to the user accessing it. HQ: Cambridge, Massachusetts 

AMAZON: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leader in the infrastructure-as-a-service market, and has a strong presence in the public sector. The company was among the first major cloud providers to comply with the federal government’s FedRAMP cloud security standards. AWS also is the platform behind a number of innovative state and local government deployments, including an open source, cloud-based unemployment application launching this summer in Iowa. HQ: Seattle, Washington  

AUTONOMIC RESOURCES: Now partnered with Akamai Technologies, Autonomic was founded in 2001 to provide IT services to federal agencies. The company's cloud platform has lined up several certifications in recent years, starting with FISMA-moderate in December 2011. Today, the company runs IaaS for both government community and private cloud networks, with all offerings either having received, or  being processed for, FedRAMP accreditation. Among its major clients is the U.S Department of Defense. HQ: Cary, North Carolina  

AT&T: Used by public-sector agencies like Detroit’s Department of Water and Sewerage, AT&T touts its ability to secure agency resources and citizen data in the cloud. The company also has a hand in several major state contracts, including multi-year outsourcing agreements with  the Texas Department of Information Resources and the state of Georgia, alongside IBM. HQ: Dallas, Texas 

CA TECHNOLOGIES: Software giant CA offers a suite of IT management software systems via the cloud. Services include planning, implementation, and identity and access management. The company says its solutions have been used by public-sector agencies for more than 35 years. For instance, the Mount Isa City Council in Australia used CA technologies to create a private cloud infrastructure last year to simplify IT management and reduce cost. HQ: New York City  

CARBONITE: Carbonite asserts that its centralized management solution and automated backup can compensate for limited in-house IT staff, as is the case for Edgartown, Mass. The company also serves the K-12 education market. HQ: Boston, Massachusetts 

CENTURYLINK: Previously known as Savvis, CenturyLink has one of the largest global service networks, with public-sector cloud offerings that include IaaS and PaaS solutions. In 2013, CenturyLink (Savvis) won a three-year cloud hosting contract with the FCC, worth an estimated $1.1 million.  HQ: Monroe, Louisiana

CGI: Famously involved in the 2013 rollout of, CGI's heft as the fifth-largest independent IT services provider in the world is felt throughout the U.S. government marketplace. With authority to operate under GSA’s Blanket Purchase Agreement for its hosted infrastructure services, CGI is used by more than 180 public- and private-sector CIOs, as well as 50 federal agencies. HQ: Montreal, Quebec

CIENA: Known primarily for telecommunications networking, Ciena offers its customers a “Data Center Without Walls,” virtualizing data storage in the cloud. In addition, its encrypted virtual computing platforms and wide-area networks that focus on transparency and the security of sensitive data. HQ: Hanover, Maryland

CISCO: Networking goliath Cisco integrates cloud applications into its Unified Data Center and Cloud Intelligent Network, promising its customers consistent security polices and up-to-date threat intelligence. Beyond applications, the company's full spectrum of cloud offerings also includes infrastructure and services across private, public, hybrid and community clouds. Involved in many smart city deployments across the globe, New Mexico's IT Department has a private cloud that uses Cisco's Unified Computing System. 

CITRIX SYSTEMS: Virtualization powerhouse Citrix has a significant presence in the public sector, helping agencies manage mobility, telework and BYOD strategies, while satisfying government mandates. A recent partnership with the California Department of Justice has Citrix linking field-based law enforcement agents with criminal justice databases via mobile devices in a secure environment, while the North Carolina state Board of Elections uses XenApp for virtual server backup to ensure a seamless voting experience. HQ: Fort Lauderdale, Florida   

CONCURRENT TECHNOLOGIES CORP: Concurrent Technologies Corp., offers software-as-a-service, including virtual desktops, workspaces and app hosting, as well as mobile app technologies, including app development and content management. Customers include a variety of military-related agencies, such as the Office of Naval Research and the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. HQ: Johnstown, Pennsylvania      

CSC: System integrator CSC offers multiple cloud service options, including its private cloud, CSC BizCloud for Government, which can operate either at an on-premises government data center or a CSC hosted data center. The company recently announced some upgrades to its big-data-platform-as-a-service offering, targeted to verticals in the public sector including health care and finance, which it promises can offer big data insights in less than 30 days.  HQ: Falls Church, Virginia 

DELL: Launched in 2013, the Dell Cloud for U.S. Government offers infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and SaaS cloud services, designed to allow easy transition to FedRAMP, FISMA and DIACAP (Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process)-approved environments. The company also offers an on-premises cloud delivery model, which it announced last February it will deploy for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. HQ: Plano, Texas

DELPHIX: Data virtualization company Delphix has private-sector clients like Facebook and Comcast, and is looking to make its mark on the public sector. Helping expedite the software application development process and speed migration to the cloud, the company expects government agencies will take advantage of its Compliance Engine, a recently released software tool that copies and masks sensitive data en route to its destination, helping clients address security and compliance concerns. HQ: Menlo Park, California 

DROPBOX: One of the first stand-alone cloud storage services in the market, Dropbox rolled out new features in July, including collaborative functions, security upgrades and full text search capabilities. The service is one option the GSA recommends for federal employees who telework. HQ: San Francisco, California

EMC: EMC cloud storage is aimed at meeting government's high-volume data-sharing needs, both within and across agencies. The multi-petabyte cloud storage solution EMC Atmos allows large-scale data assets to be "consolidated, managed, secured, stored and shared as a single entity," according to the company. EMC also builds cloud-based e-government platforms, like the one deployed in Qingdao, China, where the city benefits from the agility, scalability and disaster recovery of the cloud. HQ: Hopkinton, Massachusetts

ESRI: GIS provider Esri began making its ArcGIS technology available via Amazon Web Services GovCloud in 2012. The partnership offers “virtually unlimited computing power” and facilitates data sharing among government agencies and other users, the company says. For example, Salem, Ore., uses Esri's ArcGIS Online to support GIS staff and users in 11 city departments. HQ: Redlands, California

GENERAL DYNAMICS: General Dynamics Information Technology says its CloudBroker portal gives state and local agencies a single point of contact to procure, manage and integrate public, private and hybrid cloud services and resources. The company was selected in January as a cloud services broker by the state of Texas Department of Information Resources. General Dynamics also provides cloud solutions for a number of federal agencies including the Department of Defense. HQ: Fairfax, Virginia 

GOGRID: Infrastructure-as-a-service provider GoGrid offers cloud-based servers, storage and network capabilities. In addition, the company provides hosted big data services designed to let organizations easily launch analytics projects. Earlier this year, GoGrid announced its Orchestration Engine Service that lets users deploy applications across multiple clouds with the touch of a single button, the company says. HQ: San Francisco  

GOOGLE: Google Apps for Government, the global search engine’s cloud-based public-sector productivity suite, has taken hold in many government agencies, who cite cost, scalability and the company’s reputation for innovation as factors in their decision. Among the states in its portfolio are Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. The greatest number of Google Apps users in state and local government to date comes from Maryland, which made the switch earlier this year for its 54,000 employees. Local deployments include the city of Boston, which finished its migration in early 2014, and Omaha and Douglas County, Neb., which made the switch in a joint move affecting 5,000 employees across 70 departments. HQ: Mountain View, California  

GRANICUS: The Granicus Cloud Platform for government delivers hosted applications for transparency, citizen participation, legislation management and meeting efficiency. The company says it has 1,200 government clients, including the cities of Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. A newly launched app store cuts procurement cost and deployment time for government customers, the company says. HQ: San Francisco 

HP: In May, HP Enterprise Services launched a secure private cloud solution designed for public-sector agencies. The company describes its new HP Helion Managed Private Cloud for Public Sector as a "pre-engineered, pre-integrated, pre-automated, pre-tested private cloud" that can be deployed across a hybrid environment of data centers owned by governments, HP and commercial cloud providers. Customers include the U.S. Postal Service. HQ: Palo Alto, California  

IBM: IBM targets the federal market with its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure enhanced for FedRAMP and FISMA compliance. Big Blue also offers a suite of cloud solutions for the local and regional governments. In state government, the company is involved in a number of major initiatives, including a long-running contract — along with AT&T — to operate IT infrastructure in Georgia. Earlier this year, IBM won a $37 million contract to operate California’s CalCloud, and initiative to provide cloud services to state and local agencies through the state’s data center. HQ: Armonk, New York  

INFOR: Infor’s Lawson ERP suite is widely used in local government, and the company is expanding its cloud-based offerings. Earlier this year, the company announced Infor CloudSuite, a group of applications for specific industries — including public sector — that are available on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Infor’s cloud customers include Corpus Christi, Texas, which inked a deal for the hosted Lawson ERP suite last year. HQ: New York City  

INGRAM MICRO: Long-time technology wholesaler Ingram Micro acquired Canadian cloud services provider SoftCom in 2013. The company offers cloud infrastructure services, domain name management and Web hosting targeted at small to medium-sized customers. In addition, Ingram has a portfolio of cloud solutions to support cloud services brokers and cloud services providers.  HQ: Santa Ana, Calif. 

INSIGHT ENTERPRISES: Insight provides cloud-based email, collaboration, security and infrastructure for public agencies. The company also offers a range of services that help public-sector organizations transition to the cloud. HQ: Tempe, Arizona 

INTERMEDIA: Intermedia's Business Cloud offers hosted email, voice, file collaboration and identity management tools on a single platform for small to medium-size organizations. The company also provides cloud-based servers and Web hosting. HQ: Mountain View, California 

JOYENT: Joyent says its high-performance cloud computing infrastructure is designed to support real-time Web and mobile applications. Earlier this year, the company released software that lets users create private clouds using its infrastructure, adding to the firm's existing range of public-cloud services. HQ: San Francisco  

KRONOS: Kronos offers its popular workforce management software via the cloud. In May, the company announced that more than 11,000 organizations now run their workforce management solutions in the Kronos Cloud. In a procurement led by the Harford County (Md.) Public Schools, Kronos was awarded a contract in March from the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance,  a national purchasing cooperative that provides technology solutions to state and local government agencies. HQ: Chelmsford, Massachusetts   

LIAISON TECHNOLOGIES: Liaison Technologies provides cloud integration and data management for health care and other industries. Earlier this year, Liaison announced that EMR-Link, its cloud-based lab/EHR interoperability solution, had been updated to ease compliance with federal health-care IT requirements. HQ: Alpharetta, Georgia  

LOCKHEED MARTIN: Federal contracting giant Lockheed Martin won FedRAMP provisional approval — the program's most rigorous level of approval — last year to provide secure community cloud services to federal, state and local agencies. The company's SolaS Community Cloud is a secure, multi-tenant environment for government agencies and regulated industries. SolaS is used by a number of public agencies and energy/utility organizations, according to Lockheed Martin. HQ: Bethesda, Maryland 

LOGMEIN: LogMeIn provides cloud-based remote access, remote desktop and related services. In May the company announced a move to strengthen its offerings for the emerging Internet of Things market by acquiring Ionia Corp., a system integrator specializing in connected solutions. HQ: Boston, Massachusetts 

MICROSOFT:  Microsoft has built a large government customer base for its hosted email and collaboration platforms. In June, Los Angeles County announced that it would deploy Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 to more than 100,000 employees across 30 departments, marking one of the company’s biggest state and local government implementations for 2014. L.A. County joins a growing roster of high-profile Microsoft cloud clients, which also includes the states of Texas and New York, as well as the cities of Chicago and Seattle. HQ: Redmond, Washington  

NAVISITE: NaviSite, a Time Warner company, offers production-ready cloud computing infrastructure, complete with regularly evaluated U.S.-based data centers. The company was awarded a GSA Schedule contract in 2009 for managed hosting and infrastructure services. In addition, NaviSite's European subsidiary offers infrastructure, storage and desktop as a service through the UK government's G-Cloud III program. HQ: Andover, Massachusetts

NETAPP: NetApp provides public and private cloud-based data management and storage. The California Natural Resources Agency recently used NetApp technology to deploy a private cloud supporting 29 internal departments. Other public-sector customers include the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the city of Melrose, Mass. The company also offers services designed to help U.S. government agencies comply with the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. HQ: Sunnyvale, California  

NETSUITE: NetSuite offers popular cloud-based ERP suites for large and mid-size organizations. The company also provides hosted analytics, CRM and e-commerce solutions. In June, NetSuite announced a partnership with TechSoup Global — an international network that works to improve technology for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — designed to help nonprofits adopt the company's cloud business management applications. HQ: San Mateo, California  

NITC: The U.S. Department of Agriculture entered the cloud service market in 2013, announcing that its National Information Technology Center (NITC) would offer a range of PaaS and IaaS cloud services to other federal agency. The center's most popular cloud service offers 46 virtual guests to one virtual host, and its customers report numerous benefits, such as  enhanced and centralized security controls, improved energy conservation and reductions in hardware. HQ: Kansas City, Missouri  

NORTHROP GRUMMAN: Given Northrop Grumman’s experience in the intelligence community, the company entered the cloud service industry with a strong reputation. In 2012, Northrop Grumman was awarded a multimillion-dollar cybersecurity contract with the Maryland Procurement Office, and would deploy and sustain government cloud-based information for one year. HQ: Falls Church, Virginia  

ORACLE: While Oracle took some heat for its role in the troubled Oregon health insurance exchange, the company appears on solid ground in the cloud, promoting its status as the second-largest cloud software-as-a-service in the world, despite second-quarter earning analysts sounding the alarm. And in an effort to boost its customer service, the company recently announced that it will buy TOA Technologies, a cloud-based provider that manages the last mile of customer service. HQ: Redwood Shores, California 

RACKSPACE: Rackspace offers a set of cloud computing products, including Web application hosting or platform-as-a-service, cloud storage, virtual private servers, databases and monitoring. The company helps clients find the optimal combination of storage, network, computer and traffic management services. HQ: San Antonio, Texas

SALESFORCE: The fast-growing cloud-native firm recently was named America’s most innovative company by Forbes. The U.S. General Services Administration has used the Salesforce platform to develop more than 100 applications in the cloud, and the state of Colorado, the Texas Department of Information Resources, the New Jersey Transit agency, and the city and county of San Francisco have all deployed Salesforce. HQ: San Francisco, California  

SAP: While enterprise software giant SAP is working with governments around the world on big data projects, its HANA product powers applications that deliver real-time data and insights. In response to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s directive to create a central data-sharing and analysis platform for state-level agencies, the state purchased SAP HANA to do in-depth analytics, starting with analyzing infant mortality and child fatalities from various sources. HQ: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania  

SMARTCLOUD FOR GOVERNMENT: One of IBM’s multiple cloud endeavors, SmartCloud for Government is a private cloud solution that focuses on maximizing storage infrastructure capabilities. Though state and local government examples are hard to come by, the U.S. General Services Administration signed a contract with SmartCloud for Government for a new order management system; Vernon, British Columbia, uses a digital workspace solution that runs on the SmartCloud infrastructure; and Mairie de Clichy, France, deployed a centralized infrastructure with virtual desktops that includes SmartCloud. HQ: Armonk, New York 

SOFTLAYER: SoftLayer, an IBM company, launched its FedRAMP and FISMA-compliant government cloud data centers this June. These data centers around the world share a single management system that lets users control their solution — server, virtual server, storage device — in one spot that's accessible online and via mobile app.  HQ: Dallas, Texas  

SOFTWARE AG: Software AG launched its cloud offering in May 2013. Called Software AG Live, it is a package of tools that runs on either a customer's own setup of servers or Software AG's external cloud, or both. The company offers its cloud solution for justice and public safety, health and human services, public utilities, and 311 information systems. In mid-February 2014, Hillsborough County, Fla., implemented a component of Software AG Live called AgileApps, a situational application and case management system. HQ: Reston, Virginia  

SPRINT: In August, Sprint began providing direct sales and support for Google's cloud services, such as Gmail and Drive, and Google Apps for Business became available to its business customers. The company already has partnerships with Microsoft for Office 365 and Cisco’s collaboration service, and announced in January the addition of Pogoplug's unlimited cloud storage service. HQ: Overland Park, Kansas  

SYMANTEC: Symantec offers three solutions: security for your own cloud, whether public or private; direct use of services from Symantec's secure cloud; and the safe use of third-party cloud services. In Detroit, Wayne State University began centralizing its IT operations, and chose Symantec's NetBackup for data protection. In all, the university reclaimed $135,000 in drive space with its solution. HQ: Mountain View, California 

VERIZON TERREMARK: Verizon Terremark provides federal government agencies with enterprise cloud solutions that offers a Web-based management interface that offers customers command and control over their pool of computers, story and networks. The company’s Enterprise Cloud infrastructure is the host for, and the General Services Administration credits Terremark with saving the agency 50 percent more compared to the previous non-cloud solution. HQ: Miami, Florida

UNISYS: Unisys’ cloud computing program is well-known in the public sector; it develops and supports solutions for immigration and border patrol, security, health and human services, and justice and public safety. The company recently entered into a contract with the state of Pennsylvania to  consolidate seven data centers into one hybrid cloud, and won a $28 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide data center support.  HQ: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania  

VIRTACORE: Virtacore is a cloud services provider that specializes in virtual infrastructure that uses VMware, and offers a user interface that allows customers to move workloads between public and private cloud platforms. Customers can manage their virtual servers using a single dashboard that lets them create or delete virtual machines; manage all of their cloud resources, CPU, bandwidth, storage and disaster recovery tasks; and move servers without toggling back and forth between platforms. Virtacore's cloud solutions disaster recovery services are built on Cisco architecture.  HQ: Sterling, Virginia 

VIRTUSTREAM: Not yet widely adopted in the United States, Virtustream’s xStream cloud management solution is used by the British Transport Police — in anticipation of the 2012 Olympic Games, the agency underwent an IT audit that ultimately led to the implementation of server and desktop virtualization in conjunction with a secure private cloud. The National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University also are Virtustream customers. And in June, xStream was selected by IBM to deliver SAP and SAP HANA globally via the SoftLayer cloud. HQ: Bethesda, Maryland

VMWARE: VMware's  private and hybrid cloud solutions help governments remain efficient, agile and reliable, while also maintaining clients' control over operations. Pennsylvania and Ohio state agencies used the company's IT-as-a-service cloud solution to help update existing networks, which the agencies say has increased storage capacity and productivity. HQ: Palo Alto, California 

WORKDAY: Workday’s cloud-based platform is geared toward human resources and finance, and several governments and universities have implemented its solution, including Yale and Carnegie Mellon universities; the city of Orlando, Fla.; Pierce County, Wash.; and the state of Nebraska. In early July, Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri was quoted by CNBC as saying that the company was actually four years ahead of legacy companies in recognizing cloud computing’s potential. HQ: Pleasanton, California 

XEROX: Xerox, a known provider of enterprise document services, also has cloud-based offerings for government that include hosted infrastructure and application management. The company provides cloud solutions to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pennsylvania Attorney General, and in 2012, Xerox won an eight-year contract to consolidate Texas state data centers and move them into the cloud. HQ: Norwalk, Connecticut  

ZOHO: Zoho's 25-plus cloud apps — which include word processing, accounting and meeting hosting, to name a few — work together to increase employee collaboration and maximize productivity. Zoho has more than 10 million users, including staff at the University of California at Berkeley Extension; the Maryland Transit Administration; Edgartown, Mass.; and North Carolina's Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. HQ: Pleasanton, California

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David Raths contributing writer
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