Government is pulling back from public cloud. The reason is powerful
Hybrid cloud offers more flexibility than cloud providers would like to admit

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George Westerman of MIT Sloan once said, “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. But when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

The COVID-19 pandemic allowed government agencies to spread their wings in a sink-or-swim environment. The rapid need for cloud-based solutions, paired with an increase in government funding, pushed organizations to make this quick shift after years of utilizing manual processes. Without fully realizing their long-term goals, and with an array of new technology, many entities are now stuck wondering “what now?”

What was the hold up?

Legacy systems that were used pre-pandemic were predictable and worked. With on-prem data centers being the norm, many agencies preferred knowing and understanding where their data was physically held while paying a fixed cost. Hosting data on-premises allowed for in-house employees to access data quickly, reduced latency, and helped save on bandwidth.

Moving to the cloud would provide a new level of security challenges organizations were not ready to face. Most agencies do not have in-house migration experts to safeguard their sensitive data during the high-risk migration process. With stakeholders unwilling to expose their organizations to cyberattacks, they generally elected to keep their data on premises.

The rapid shift to cloud

With the quick onset of the pandemic and the shift to remote work, government agencies with existing digital infrastructures were ahead of the game, while those still relying on manual processes struggled to get up to speed. Telehealth, telework, and virtual education were just some of the many areas agencies were forced to promote.

The Coronavirus Relief Fund (established by the CARES Act) provided funding for state, local, and tribal governments to invest in the infrastructure needed to support a growing need for digital services. Agencies were able to use these extra funds to begin modernizing their technology, which became the primary concern for most IT departments within government agencies. The pandemic, along with funding from the CARES Act, gave momentum to a new age of digital transformation within the government sector.

Pulling in the reins

After a massive resurgence in cloud initiatives, why the post-pandemic slow down? The quick rise in cloud adoption led to many industry leaders struggling to keep pace with the new technology, specifically for three key reasons:

  1. Security – While major players in the cloud game invest billions in cybersecurity, the quick shift to cloud left government entities scrambling to instill confidence that taxpayer data was safe. A new cloud infrastructure also meant that there was less visibility into security ecosystems, and a newer varied surface for potential cyberattacks. 
  1. Cost – The CARES Act provided an excess amount of financial support for organizations to quickly move data to the cloud. However, many government institutions weren’t aware of the unseen fees associated with maintaining a cloud infrastructure, and without the additional financing provided by the federal government, organizations are now trying to understand the most cost-effective method for maintaining data in a hybrid world. 
  1. Skills gap – One of the largest barriers in deploying cloud-based technologies is the lack of talent. Digital transformation means IT departments are forced to quickly innovate, and with cloud adoption rates outpacing training, there is a struggle to fill positions and retain employees in cloud computing.

The road back

The pandemic has caused a permanent shift in digital transformation, and although many expected the cloud boom to level out, it only continues to accelerate. The cloud provided reliability and scalability that was necessary for organizations to continue to grow, and with many workplaces opting to maintain remote work, cloud-based solutions will only continue to expand.

Since the start of the pandemic, IT decision makers have fast-tracked cloud migration plans with $29 billion in cloud spend in just the first quarter of 2020 – a 37% increase. Many physical data centers were already removed to offset these costs, and now more than ever, government entities are relying on platform service providers to maintain their new digital infrastructure.

We’re here to help

Organizations will continue to embrace modernization, but now they’re able to do it at their own pace. It’s important for government entities to understand the benefits of a hybrid environment, including reduced operational costs, improved scalability, business continuity, and more overall control. Your organization can now maintain a cloud infrastructure without the pressures of an all-or-nothing approach to cloud innovation.

SHI is here to transform your cloud experience. Our managed and professional services will help you build out both single and multi-cloud strategies through three phases:

  1. Strategize – SHI’s cloud experts will help you understand your network while making informed recommendations to plan out a smooth migration. We will walk you through the necessary steps to prepare your environment for a successful migration and achieve your ideal outcomes.
  2. Implement – We can help you take your organization’s complex workloads and accelerate your application migration with roadmaps for all your options. SHI’s cloud experts provide advice and professional services to break down project timelines.
  3. Operationalize – Our managed services teams can help you streamline your day-to-day operations and free up your team’s bandwidth while also ensuring you are maximizing your storage and security resources. The SHI One dashboard will help you manage your costs, inventory, and services from one easy-to-manage platform.

What do we offer?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the cloud. Cloud implementation looks different for every government organization and while taking the first step may seem daunting, SHI is here to help you choose which model works best. We’ll work through your organization’s challenges around security and budget and serve as a bridge to cover any skills gaps you may have. SHI is committed to ensuring your organization doesn’t have to choose between transformation and security/costs.

By working with our team of application engineers and cloud experts we offer you access to:

If you’re ready to optimize your cloud journey, contact an SHI expert to get started.