Apr 21 2020

Lucky or Smart? Research Shows Cloud Smart Is Accelerating Adoption

Federal IT leaders are embracing hybrid cloud solutions.

Would you rather be lucky or smart? 

I would rather be smart.

The majority of the public sector seems to share my sentiment, with 71 percent of federal respondents agreeing that Cloud Smart is driving cloud adoption, according to MeriTalk’s new study, “Smart > Lucky: Pillars to Fed and SLED Cloud Success.” 

The study, underwritten by Dell Technologies and Microsoft, explores how the Office of Management and Budget’s Cloud Smart strategy is helping agencies manage cloud risk in hybrid environments, rethink acquisition options to accelerate adoption and cultivate a culture of change. 

What’s more, this strategy is generating real transformation, with 82 percent of feds saying Cloud Smart will be integral to their organizations’ success.

Cloud Smart Means Acknowledging Hybrid IT 

Cloud Smart encourages “thoughtful execution,” recommending agencies evaluate and select the right cloud for each workload, whether on-premises, off premises or in a colocation facility. Different workloads with different requirements will naturally lead to the creation of hybrid environments.

IT managers across the public sector agree that one cloud does not fit all — the future is hybrid. In fact, 77 percent of federal and SLED IT managers — those at state, local and education government agencies — believe a hybrid IT model is the most effective approach for public sector organizations.

A hybrid model provides consistent infrastructure and operations across public, private and edge environments, improving management and minimizing data silos. Exponentially increasing data from artificial intelligence and Internet of Things devices will require a hybrid setup to unite data across public and private cloud environments and unlock value.

This is easier said than done. A “smart” long-term hybrid cloud strategy includes detailed planning for three core pillars: workforce, procurement and security. 

READ MORE: Find out how to effectively plan for a hybrid cloud environment. 

Agencies Need to Solidify a Cloud Foundation

The study shows the majority of federal and SLED IT managers are missing key steps to managing security and risk in hybrid environments. Over two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents are not improving consistency between on-premises and off-premises cloud security, making monitoring the attack surface more difficult and amplifying risk across environments.

Today, when agencies acquire cloud, security is paramount for all mission environments. Implementing a strong security strategy helps build a solid foundation and accelerates the pace of cloud adoption. 

Self-described “advanced” cloud organizations are smart, not lucky. They are aggressively moving to the cloud, including migrating mission-critical applications. How? They’re significantly more likely to have prepared for cloud by implementing modern identity, credential and access management (46 percent versus 23 percent) and zero-trust strategies (38 percent versus 15 percent).

MORE FROM FEDTECH: Follow the 5 R’s of rationalization for an effective cloud migration.

Why Federal IT Takes a Village

Certainly, Cloud Smart is helping us catalyze progress, but three-quarters of study respondents stated that they’d like to move to cloud more aggressively. How can we ignite change?

Change starts with communication. Cloud Smart’s workforce pillar involves training and sharing best practices across the public sector. While each agency has its own unique set of challenges, there are invariably some challenges that are common across the board. To keep pace with evolving technology, it is critical that we have an open dialogue to share creative approaches and solutions to common problems.

Cloud adoption involves senior leadership, end users and everyone in between. Emphasizing benefits and outlining a clear strategy will help establish a culture of change and chart a path forward.

Artystarty/Getty Images