As more states are taking advantage of StateRAMP, officials from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) say that state CIOs no longer view cloud as a priority, but as an expectation.

StateRAMP – modeled in part on the FedRAMP program – is a public-private partnership advocating for consistent approaches to cybersecurity standards from cloud providers in the state and local government IT marketplace. The program launched in 2021.

Doug Robinson, the executive director of NASCIO, explained that StateRAMP’s “timing was good,” because states were already looking to accelerate their IT modernization efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We saw accelerated cloud adoption during the pandemic because there was a compelling need because states needed a ‘speed the solution’ kind of market adjustment,” Robinson said during Federal News Network’s StateRAMP Exchange event on April 24.

“The states are definitely invested in cloud solutions, whether it’s on-prem or off. And one of the things they need is that confidence that they meet the security demands and StateRAMP can provide that as an independent, neutral, kind of third-party arbitrator of doing that,” he said.

In doing so, Robinson said states can focus more on their digital transformation efforts – something that is a top priority for CIOs in 2024.

Digital government services and cybersecurity tied for the top priority spot in NASCIO’s survey of state CIOs’ top priorities in 2024. However, over a decade ago, Robinson said that cloud would have been near the top of that list.

“We now see interestingly enough that cloud is less of a priority because it’s simply become part of the standard operating procedures,” Robinson said. “As one of the CIOs said in our survey, ‘It’s just the water we’re swimming in today.’ So, it is clearly a significant part of their modernization efforts.”

Jim Weaver, the president of NASCIO and CIO for the state of North Carolina, added that cloud often underpins many other digital transformation efforts.

“What stops us a lot of times from being able to enable digital transformation opportunities is the back-end systems that are basically at the forefront of supporting constituent services,” Weaver explained. “So, the best way for us to be able to move forward is to look at those opportunities, to rearchitect the application, and take advantage of what the cloud has to offer.”

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