The Real Benefit of Switching to the Cloud, According to this Intelligence Community Tech Official

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For the past several years, the terms “cost savings” and “efficiency improvements” have frequently popped up when discussing the benefits of cloud computing.

Whether that’s the result of fancy marketing by a growing number of cloud service providers or the result of a years-long hype, those two common phrases aren’t really the biggest benefits for federal agencies -- at least not in the short term.

And definitely not in the intelligence community, composed by17 agencies with national security-based missions.

“We have lifted and shifted,” said Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Innovation Officer Dan Doney. “There hasn’t been a substantial cost savings."

Doney spoke Thursday at the ATARC Federal Cloud Computing Summit.

Rather, Doney suggested the test and development environments enabled by cloud computing were far more important than short-term cost metrics, especially within the intelligence community, which necessarily moves quickly to handle national security dilemmas.

Applications can be brought into operation much faster using the cloud than internal systems, Doney said. In addition, the cloud makes for a scalable environment that allows better data science and an improved avenue to test IT tools.

“The biggest benefits have been DevOps, data science and tool evaluation,” Doney said. “Those three things are the real benefits of cloud if you choose to do it that way.”

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