Public sector harnessing hybrid cloud to support remote workforce

82 percent of public sector organisations opt for hybrid cloud model

Posted 22 March 2021 by Christine Horton

COVID-19 has prompted 70 percent of public sector organisations to view IT more strategically, according to research by Nutanix.

The Enterprise Cloud Index for Public Sector report notes that while public sector organisations have historically grappled with regulations that deter home working, the pandemic forced them to take necessary steps to securely support a remote workforce. Nearly half (48 percent) of global public sector respondents said their organisations 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 percent and 11 percent of respondents reporting employing zero remote workers today.

To support this growing remote workforce, organisations have begun strategically evaluating their cloud models – with 82 percent of global public sector respondents identifying hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model for their organisation.

The report shows that in 2019, 53 percent of global public sector organisations exclusively ran traditional, non-cloud-enabled datacentres. In 2020, that percentage dropped to 22 percent. Over the next five years, the public sector expects a 20-percentage-point drop in legacy datacentre installations and a substantial 43-point increase in hybrid cloud deployments.

Working from home remains top-of-mind: 43 percent 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. Nutanix argues these moves likely reflect an effort to quickly provide for home working 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 home working, with only four percent planning to go back to their pre-pandemic approach.

Security concerns

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 US Federal Government respondents, who ranked security as the greatest challenge with maintaining a hybrid cloud environment (66 percent) – 15 points higher than the global average.

“While IT modernisation efforts within the public sector have traditionally been hampered, not least because of strict regulatory challenges, the findings of the Enterprise Cloud Index Report are very promising, with IT now being viewed more strategically within public sector organisations,” said Andrew Puddephatt, director – UK public sector at Nutanix.

“The global pandemic certainly accelerated this push for modernisation as public sector organisations looked to maintain seamless operations and not fall foul of regulatory requirements by harnessing hybrid cloud models to enable and support the requirement for increasingly digital workplaces.”