By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO


Government IT professionals have a lot on their plates. Thanks to the increasingly sophisticated threat of cyberattacks, their jobs are not getting any easier. Trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and software-defined networking (SDN), are also making IT pros’ work more complicated.


Hybrid IT promises rich benefits, from cost savings to scalability, so it's no surprise that this trend is being embraced by the public sector. According to the findings from the latest SolarWinds annual IT Trends report, 95 percent of government IT professionals surveyed said their organization has migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year.


Yet, for all its potential, hybrid IT presents a challenge for government IT professionals already straining under the weight of their existing responsibilities. What can government organizations and their IT teams expect when adopting a hybrid IT model, and is it worth the trouble?


Bridge the gap

Government organizations are used to traditional, on-premises infrastructure, and, as a result, they are used to IT professionals knowing the organization’s network environment well.


Government IT professionals are now expected to manage everything both on and off premises. This isn't an easy task, especially given the fact that those applications within the cloud no longer fall under the IT professionals' control. Instead, they are managed by a cloud service provider.


To manage applications across on-premises and the cloud, new skills are required. However, government IT professionals have fewer resources and training available due to budget cuts.


By outsourcing some of the maintenance work to cloud service providers, government IT professionals can place more of a focus on the topic most government IT professionals fear most: security.


Keep it secure

Cybersecurity has received significant attention from government this past year. In the UK, the new National Cyber Security Strategy, which included a £1.9 billion investment to address the growing threat of data breaches, highlighted the desperate need to invest against a threat that is growing, both in terms of financial backing and sophistication.


Migrating infrastructure to the cloud represents a real security risk to many government agencies, which have highly sensitive data. SolarWinds research found that security is one of the key reasons for organizations—including government—to move from the cloud back to on-premises.


Increased complexity for an IT professional is also playing a part in security concerns, with the 2016 SolarWinds Government Cybersecurity Survey finding that 48 percent of respondents said that difficulty supporting their IT environments had resulted in increased security challenges.


IT professionals can do more to simplify their hybrid IT environment. The IT Trends report found that 71 percent of responding government organizations currently use up to three cloud provider environments. By distributing infrastructure across so many environments, complexity becomes inevitable.


Despite the misgivings of some IT professionals, the hybrid IT era is one that is worth embracing, with 49 percent of respondents identifying cost efficiency as one of their top three reasons for selecting particular areas to migrate to the cloud.


As purse strings tighten across government departments, a flexible infrastructure that offers cost savings and scalability should be a no-brainer. Hybrid IT offers this, and by bridging the skills gap and managing security concerns, government IT professionals can reap significant benefits.


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