Cloud computing offers several advantages to local governments, just as it does to corporations. Among other benefits, it reduces the number of servers and the need for data storage capacity. Perhaps the most familiar form of cloud computing is web-based e-mail service, such as Gmail and Yahoo!® mail. Cloud computing offers an opportunity for employees to be able to access applications from any location as long as they have an Internet connection. Cloud computing can reduce the need for software applications and licensing. By storing data in the “cloud,” the cost of servers is reduced. A usage fee could be charged for software application access in the cloud, instead of paying for individual licenses.
Results of an ICMA E-Government Survey, show that almost 340 local governments reported use of cloud computing. Five of the six top users, based on survey responses, have ICMA member CAOs and report using all of the cloud computing options covered in the survey:
- Main storage
- Offsite storage
- Software applications
- Desktop office tools
- Computing power.
These five local governments are:
- Venice, Florida – Edward Lavallee, city manager
- Union County, North Carolina – Cynthia Coto, county manager
- Panama City, Florida – Kenneth Hammons, city manager
- Grandview, Missouri – Cory Smith, city administrator
- Mountlake Terrace, Washington – John Caulfield, city manager.
A summary of the 2011 E-Government Survey results can be downloaded from the Knowledge Network.
 Conducted by ICMA in collaboration with Dr. Donald F. Norris and Dr. Christopher Reddick.