The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Federal, state, and local governments to adopt a hybrid cloud environment quickly, but their hybrid strategies have not been able to keep pace with the new accelerated reality of government. The bottom line: most agencies have a strategy in place, but are having trouble executing on it fully.

That’s one of the main findings from a new research report conducted by MeriTalk, in partnership with NetApp, titled “Hybrid at Hyperspeed: Cloud Strategy for the New Reality of Government”. The report dives into both the challenges and opportunities the hybrid cloud environment presents, drawing results and recommendations from a survey of 300 Federal, state, and local IT leaders.

According to the survey, 77 percent of Federal, state, and local government IT leaders say their organization has developed a formal cloud strategy, but only 30 percent feel their strategy has kept pace with accelerated hybrid adoption as a result of the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Federal, state, and local IT managers – 85 percent – say the pandemic amplified the importance of migrating to a hybrid cloud environment. And 67 percent say the pandemic accelerated their organization’s hybrid cloud adoption by a year or more.

However, this accelerated pace has caused gaps in public sector cloud strategies. The survey finds three-quarters of IT leaders wish their organization would have developed a more thoughtful data strategy before migrating data to the cloud.

Additionally, the majority of Federal – 61 percent – and state and local – 57 percent – IT managers feel they are not getting the most out of their hybrid cloud investments.

This new accelerated reality of government has presented many challenges, but results show the biggest challenge Federal, state, and local governments face is managing and securing data across environments. The majority – 56 percent – report managing and securing data to be their biggest challenge, compared to migrating to the cloud at 23 percent, and justifying the investment at 19 percent.

To combat these worries, public sector IT managers offered three recommendations to optimize hybrid cloud environments: design a comprehensive data strategy, emphasize security, and partner with cloud specialists.

Federal, state, and local leaders also offered specific recommendations to government leaders working to expand hybrid cloud adoption. “Develop consistency between on-premises and cloud security,” said one Federal respondent. Another state and local respondent recommended leaders should “Improve data security and availability such that users should have access to the only data that they require.”

Download the full report for more research findings and detailed recommendations to optimize the hybrid cloud environment.

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