Jul 11 2023

Accelerate Digital Transformation with Smart Multicloud Management

State and local agencies must carefully consider the right cloud resources to support citizen services.

In the rush to move quickly and keep applications up and running, government agencies accelerated cloud adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to remote work and demand for virtual services were catalysts for this move. But amid a world health crisis, state and local governments didn’t have time for planning.

A 2022 survey by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers asked what the major challenges were in meeting demand for digital services. Sixty-three percent indicated that a lack of workforce skills was preventing progress, while 43 percent said that lack of organizational agility and flexibility added to the challenge. With CIOs reporting an average of nearly 22 cloud service providers per state, it’s not surprising that those state and local governments that did adopt cloud did so without adequate skilled resources and planning.

What’s more, public cloud does not serve all workloads equally. For example, the importance of data sovereignty considering the amount of personally identifiable information that public institutions collect, such as home addresses and Social Security numbers, can be better controlled and secured on-premises. A cloud smart approach would evaluate each business case to deploy the right cloud solution.

As a result of the multicloud sprawl common in most organizations, infrastructure is unplanned, siloed and lacking personnel with the skills and bandwidth to manage it. As the demands of public agencies evolve, they must orchestrate public cloud, private cloud and edge locations. Differing toolsets among each platform can result in separate and inconsistent environments. The burden on IT is heavy. Policy enforcement, security, cost control and service levels are at risk.

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Multicloud Facilitates Innovative Citizen Services

Multicloud use is the new normal for 77 percent of enterprises, and IDC predicts that by 2025, 55 percent of the Forbes Global 2000 companies will adopt multicloud platforms. But an ungainly mix of public and private clouds is not the answer. Cloud sprawl prevents public institutions from harnessing the value of data and providing innovative services to citizens. There must be a framework in place to determine the right cloud service model for each workload.  

By adopting a well-planned multicloud strategy, organizations take advantage of public, private and edge clouds while enjoying the simplicity of integrated orchestration, automation and management. Using two or more clouds (at least one public and one private) with cloud-adjacent data access allows government agencies to perform various tasks and share workloads between each. Better utilization of cloud resources provides predictability, improves the speed of response to IT incidents and reduces downtime.

We call this approach multicloud by design. Organizations have the flexibility to place workloads exactly where they need to be without the risk of getting locked into one specific vendor. The clouds — public, private or even edge — remain separate entities with different purposes and advantages, but the same operating model connects them. Agencies improve costs, augment resources and benefit from scalable infrastructure.

READ MORE: How to manage multicloud cost environments the smart way.

Cloud Strategy Must Keep Focus on Cybersecurity

Security and risk management are top priorities for government IT leaders. In state and local governments, security must go beyond a provider’s commitment to adhere to guidelines. Security policies must run through the entire ecosystem. Public institutions are under a lot of scrutiny, as citizens expect their private information to be safe and secure.

A multicloud by design approach reduces risk by using a single automated cloud management platform for workloads across all clouds. Organizations control everything with a single point of view and curated security policies instead of having different systems and opportunities for breaches.

When it comes to backup and disaster recovery, having a consolidated approach ensures business continuity. Since there are fewer layers of programs and control points, it’s easier to make decisions in real time during cyber disasters. Teams can ensure that data and applications continue to be available, even if they are in transit through multiple networks and locations.

DISCOVER: How local agencies can improve citizen services with edge computing.

Save Time and Resources with a Strategic Approach

Using multicloud to modernize legacy systems frees up time and budget for governments. Delivering cloud services with a selection of service and deployment models continues to rank as a top 10 priority for 2023.

The flexibility to run applications anywhere allows state and local governments to improve their processing power, share large data sets and improve workload resources. In turn, agencies experience an increase in IT efficiency, storage capacity and bandwidth. Teams can focus on their core tasks and move forward with digital transformation projects, such as building solutions to analyze data from Internet of Things devices in support of smart cities and public safety.

The public’s expectations have never been higher for digital services. Adopting multicloud services to modernize legacy systems accelerates digital transformation, but success requires a strategic approach. It’s important to ask how technology can help governments achieve their goals, including speed, agility and cost optimization. Supporting states and citizens in the years to come depends on how organizations face these questions as a guide to deliver impact.

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