“Security is mostly a superstition” said author Helen Keller. When it comes to cybersecurity, governments have a near-superstitious distrust of one technology in particular, the cloud.

Data security concerns are the biggest barrier to cloud adoption according to a poll of public sector officials in the UK, reports Huddle. But advanced tech tools are making the cloud secure, and even boosting its use of big data.

Remus Lim, Managing Director for ASEAN & India, Cloudera shares how enterprise data cloud platforms are giving governments confidence in the cloud. He shares how open-source tools give agencies greater control over their security.

Protecting the cloud

The U.S. Census Bureau adopted the cloud to help digitise and upgrade its use of data.

The system was designed to store and analyse the personal information of around 330 million citizens, reports Cloudera’s website.

Cloudera’s data management tool allows the bureau to securely manage these sensitive datasets on the cloud by tagging sensitive information. This enables the organisation to define its authorisation policies, which dictate who can access this data.

This is useful for when data scientists share insights within the bureau and across agencies. The data platform also allows for information sharing without copies needing to be made, so the bureau stays the sole owner of the data for more control.

It can not only provide security, but also boost the analytical capabilities of the bureau. Cloudera’s data platform “will support the processing of big datasets quickly and easily”, says Kevin Smith, Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Census Bureau.

This will help citizens as they can spend less time and effort filling out census forms, like duplicating information to reduce repetitive data input. The platform can even correct the information based on previously collected records, Smith adds.

This use of cloud and data tools support the bureau’s “long-standing leadership in data analytics and technology”, Smith shares.

The risks in cloud adoption

Government agencies are looking to businesses to provide cloud services, and in some cases provide the IT infrastructure which hosts the network. This can create some security risks, highlights Lim.

As this infrastructure is managed by a service provider, there is a lack of visibility for the agency regarding security. This is a problem for government IT teams, as they are more familiar with securing on-premises data centres, he explains.

Another challenge is securely transferring and analysing data on a cloud provider’s network, Lim adds. These risks leave government agencies wanting more control over their sensitive data.

Addressing these challenges

One way to address these security issues is to adopt a hybrid cloud, he shares. It allows governments to keep sensitive data on premises where they have control over its security, while other workloads can be in the cloud for greater speed and flexibility.

Reducing their dependence on a particular cloud provider is another way governments can address these risks. Ensuring that applications and data are developed with no dependency on a provider is one way to do this, he explains.

Developing their systems this way enables governments to conveniently migrate to the cloud, or change their cloud provider, Lim adds.

Adopting Cloudera’s open source platforms prevent agencies from “being locked in to specific vendors”. Its publicly available code encourages an open ecosystem, where the community can provide new improvements and software.

Cloudera’s enterprise data cloud platform is specifically designed to offer this freedom of choice. Adopting this tool provides organisations with the flexibility to use any cloud, be it hybrid or multi cloud; run any analytics- at any time without compromising on performance or security, he continues.

When it comes to cybersecurity, private companies and governments are intertwined for the foreseeable future. Adopting open source platforms can help ensure the government’s use of the cloud is secure and flexible.