To support a growing remote workforce, the public sector turned to the cloud

Nutanix announced the global public sector industry findings of its report, measuring organizations’ plans for adopting a private, hybrid and public cloud.

public sector cloud

The findings point to a concentrated modernization effort throughout the sector over the past few months, with 70% of respondents saying COVID-19 has caused IT to be viewed more strategically in their organizations. This COVID-19-spurred push is especially notable, given that the public sector has struggled with IT modernization efforts.

While public sector organizations have historically grappled with regulations that deter telework, the pandemic forced them to take necessary steps to securely support a remote workforce.

48% of global public sector respondents, and 71% of U.S. Federal Government respondents, said their organizations had no employees working remotely one year ago.

However, since the onset of the pandemic, the sector has scaled its number of remote workers, with only 15% and 11% of respondents reporting employing zero remote workers today.

In order to effectively support this growing remote workforce, organizations have begun strategically evaluating their cloud models – with more 82% of global public sector respondents identifying hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model for their organization.

Modernization is dependent on decommissioning legacy architectures

In 2019, 53% of global public sector organizations exclusively ran traditional, non-cloud-enabled data centers. In 2020, that percentage dropped to 22%. Organizations are choosing to invest in private and public clouds instead, which will be integrated into a cohesively managed hybrid environment.

Over the next five years, the public sector expects a 20-percentage-point drop in legacy datacenter installations and a substantial 43-point increase in hybrid cloud deployments.

Telework remains top-of-mind

43% of public sector respondents reported a direct increase in their public cloud investments as a direct result of the pandemic – eight points higher than the global average.

These moves likely reflect an effort to quickly provide for teleworking employees, as past restrictions made them less capable of providing work-from-home solutions than other industries.

Moreover, most entities in this sector are planning to maintain support for telework, with only 4% planning to go back to their pre-pandemic approach.

The U.S. Federal Government is especially bullish on hybrid cloud

87% identified hybrid cloud as their ideal IT operating model, and they’re evolving their infrastructures to get there.

Federal Government respondents’ plans call for more than doubling their hybrid cloud usage within one year and growing deployments to about 74% penetration within five years, up from about 14% penetration today.

These plans exceed the stated hybrid cloud growth expectations of respondents in all other vertical markets included in this year’s study and may be driven by the sector’s overarching IT overhaul to meet modern demands.

53% of U.S. Federal Government respondents reported being focused on better supporting customers, while 48% are hoping to better support remote workers through their IT models.

Security plays a large factor in deployment decisions

All respondents cited security as a significant concern affecting hybrid cloud management. This is especially true for U.S. Federal Government respondents, who ranked security as the greatest challenge with maintaining a hybrid cloud environment (66%) – 15 points higher than the global average.

Growing maturity of government community clouds and security programs like FedRAMP can help mitigate these concerns.

“The public sector has struggled with IT modernization efforts, due in part to the regulatory and security challenges in the industry,” said Chip George, VP Public Sector of U.S. sales at Nutanix.

“However, the rapid IT changes that were implemented in order to maintain seamless operations at the onset of the pandemic proved that modernization could be accomplished in a cost-effective and streamlined manner, all while keeping regulations in mind. Looking ahead, I believe the public sector will continue to expand its reliance on hybrid cloud models to support increasingly digitized workplace operations.”

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