"All information is stored securely in the cloud," Dyson says. "So I know that there's some personal information there, but we have secure parameters around the information to ensure that it's secure at all times."
Cloud security and culture issues more perception than reality
Government officials have long cited security as one of the chief points of resistance about moving to the cloud in the public sector, though some observers suggest that the issue might be more a question of perception than of any legitimate vulnerabilities associated with the cloud.
"Protecting data in the cloud solutions is one of the core business functions for the public sector cloud provider, so they are expending an extraordinary amount of resources in data protection, data security, backup of data," Dyson says. "I can assure you that your data is safe."
In addition to security, one of the central challenges with effecting a cloud migration in the public sector can be overcoming the obstacles that can come from the organizational culture, where different units of an agency might be accustomed to managing their own narrow IT shop and reluctant to turn those processes over to an outside provider.
Moreover, some in the vendor community note that the perception of the cloud as a monolith persists in the public sector. Count among those Sarah Jackson, Oracle's vice president of public sector application sales consulting for North America, who says that service providers can help their cause if they take the time to assure prospective government clients that cloud deployments can be tailored to fit a given agency's business needs.
"Certainly when we talk about the cloud, you know, one size does not fit all," Jackson says. "So the way that you combat these concerns and the kind of hesitance that maybe some of your business units might have about the cloud is to convince them to change that cultural stigma that the cloud is vanilla, that if you go to the cloud you have to be exactly like your other peers who might be in that same cloud. And that is just simply not true."
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