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GCN : February 2014
22 GCN FEBRUARY 2014 • GCN.COM After taking a wait-and-see approach to cloud, cities are coming around to some of its clear advantages. Here are 5 ways to help jumpstart your city's move to the cloud. By Brian Robinson CITIES ON THE SIDELINES Among city government IT managers, cloud computing has drawn a lot of interest, as well as suspicion. Along with the touted advantages of the cloud has come considerable caution over its drawbacks, not least for its potential security and privacy hazards. Consequently, cities have been slow to adopt cloud- based services. At least, that used to be the story. But the financial squeeze that has encircled all governments over the past few years, coupled with a drive to use IT to provide better services to citizens, has caused a major reappraisal. If you are the IT manager of a small city that's been on the cloud sidelines, it may be time to consider moving cloud computing up your list of options as a way to both limit costs and provide the technology needed for innovation. "A couple of years ago most cities still had a theoretical and tentative approach to cloud," said Eric Woods, research director of Navigant Research. "What does it mean, what are the strategic implications and so on. But I think that's now all gone." In its place is an acceptance that cloud is the modern way of delivering services. "There's been a transformation over the past 12-18 months in the way people look at this," he said. Cloud providers certainly see the need. IBM, for example, in January announced it would spend around $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud footprint to take advantage of a market that some estimates put at around $200 billion by 2020, driven in part by demand from government agencies. So, if nearly every city will to go the cloud, sooner or later, what do you need to know to get started?