Tech-based companies tend to get the most press for making inroads in cloud computing, but they're not the only organizations benefiting from the many advantages the cloud offers. The cloud is also increasingly being harnessed by governmental services including healthcare and adult literacy programs.

Cloud pushing healthcare to new frontiers
The healthcare industry understandably wants its primary focus to be patient care, not managing data. For that reason, the cloud is becoming an increasingly lucrative platform on which to store healthcare operations, according to Tech Page One contributor Larry Seltzer. There are several reasons for this. First, one of the key tenets of the cloud is accessibility – the cloud can be accessed anywhere with Internet and a computing device. That potential for mobility promises to improve provider-patient relations by creating a cohesive system where patients can remotely access their health records without having to go through other channels. Greater patient agency will not only instill confidence in patients that they have control over their health information, but also has the potential to speed up healthcare processes by providing a faster channel through which appointments can be made and prescriptions filled. Of course, with the advantage of greater mobility comes an understandable concern about security. If patients can access health records anywhere, what's stopping a malicious third party from doing the same thing? That's where the enterprise cloud emerges as the best choice for storing healthcare information, because it comes equipped with encryption services that ensure data is only visible to the people who are meant to see it.

For these reasons, the U.S. healthcare IT market is growing at a rapid rate, with a 20 percent annual growth rate projected between 2014 and 2018, an RNCOS study reported. These growth statistics can largely be attributed to the mounting popularity of the cloud in healthcare infrastructure. According to the report, the enterprise cloud will create changes within healthcare that will fundamentally change the way it operates.

Appealing to adult literacy
The cloud is also paving a path into adult literacy services, according to the Department of Education. In a recent solicitation document, the agency says it is searching for a cloud platform to support and regulate operations for the Literacy Information and Communication System Online Portal, a service that offers interactive resources for educators and learners in adult literacy programs. Moving the service to the cloud would help consolidate the portal's operations as well as provide a more accessible experience for users, the document stated.

The Department of Education is looking to find a cloud service provider in the near future and prepare its LICS portal for a move to the cloud. Because the agency is looking for prospective vendors to submit their credentials by Feb. 21, it is evident that the cloud switch is being handled in a time-sensitive manner. Like healthcare providers, the Department of Education is clearly excited about the opportunities for growth the cloud offers and is hoping to find the best cloud to meet its needs.