The United States government set up a scheme a while ago, I believe, called Cloud First. I understand that the agency that started this offer – the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – has been pleased so far with the benefits.
However, I gather that the GAO has also suggested that there are issues for the future that need to be addressed, especially with regards to federal government. These issues include the need to improve security around public cloud systems. This coincides with Google’s own security issues.
The GAO also points out that the current guidelines are not sufficient or complete, while at the same time they believe that agencies implementing cloud-based solutions don’t have sufficient knowledge or expertise.
Similarly, the GAO is worried that suppliers of IaaS, SaaS and so on, may not have specific necessary certification that ensures what they provide to government (and elsewhere presumably) is secure.
Another area that the Government Accountability Office is concerned about is ensuring that vendors do not lock customers into certain products. Cloud computing is supposed to be open, so forcing customers to use particular online software, for instance, goes against this idea. What’s more, it takes the whole thing back to the idea of licence fees, so common with traditional computer programs.
The GAO is also concerned that US-based agencies may themselves be an obstacle to cloud’s future.
Last, but not least there are concerns about costs relating to implementing the new technologies. Cloud is basically an on demand service. So whether this fits into government philosophy is something that the GAO feels needs exploring.