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Strategies, benefits, and challenges: Multicloud for public sector

May 04, 2023

Cloud is the key to building resilience, modernizing IT, and driving your mission forward. But skills gaps and limited resources can make it difficult to fully unlock the cloud’s benefits. And multicloud environments often add another layer of complexity.

That doesn’t mean multicloud isn’t worth it. Before you write it off, here’s what you need to know about multicloud for public sector.

What is multicloud for the public sector?

Multicloud refers to the use of two or more cloud service providers. When an agency uses cloud computing services from multiple vendors, that agency is operating in a multicloud environment. When an agency uses multiple public cloud services and on-premises resources, that agency is operating in a hybrid multicloud environment

Public sector organizations and government agencies can use a multicloud approach to build and deliver their services more efficiently.

Challenges of multicloud for public sector organizations

Multicloud has its pros and cons. 92% of Federal IT leaders say multicloud will be the foundation of modern government IT. But nearly 80% also say that managing multiple cloud vendors will be one of their top challenges in the next five years. 

Here are four common challenges of multicloud environments for public sector:

Overall compliance and cybersecurity

Every government agency operates with compliance and cybersecurity top of mind. But 79% of federal IT decision-makers say their cloud portfolio is expanding faster than they can keep up. 

Securing data across multiple cloud platforms is already challenging. The rapid growth in multicloud adoption makes it even more difficult for public sector organizations to balance modernization and innovation with Zero Trust policies, compliance, and cybersecurity.

Added complexity to use and maintain

In addition to different security standards, each cloud vendor also has different cloud computing services, architectures, and controls. Understanding and navigating the differences of each can be daunting.

Reduced visibility across systems

Distributing data across multiple clouds can reduce visibility into your overall system. This can make it harder to monitor your data and defend against vulnerabilities.

Cloud skills knowledge gap

It’s no secret that the public sector finds it difficult to compete with private organizations for tech talent. And the cloud skills gap shows. 

In fact, one survey revealed that less than half of respondents felt their agency was taking full advantage of their cloud investments. This indicates that a lack of cloud skills and knowledge holds agencies back from reaching their full potential.

This risk grows in the case of multicloud. Agencies without employees experienced in multiple cloud platforms will find it difficult to deploy a multicloud environment successfully.

Upskilling your workforce can solve the public sector tech talent gap.

What are the benefits of multicloud for public sector organizations?

Despite the challenges of multicloud, 99% of federal IT decision-makers say they’ve experienced at least one benefit as a result of going multicloud. When you develop a multicloud strategy, you’ll also see the benefits of multicloud for the public sector.

Customize the exact cloud services you need

The biggest draw for going multicloud is getting access to services from different cloud providers. Instead of choosing one provider (and sacrificing features from another), you can pick and choose services from each vendor to create a custom environment that best fits your needs.

Scale IT costs and pay for only what you use

While more cloud services may sound like more money, going multicloud can actually help you optimize your IT and cloud costs. You can compare pricing and packages between cloud service providers to find the best deal. Because cloud providers charge by usage, it’s also easy to scale up or down depending on your current needs.

Of course, this depends on how you use multiple clouds. If you’re coming from an on-premises background and aren’t familiar with cloud billing models, your cloud costs could spiral. Learn more about comparing cloud and on-prem costs.

Boost tech agility for a distributed workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic left many public sector organizations struggling to operate with hardware and legacy systems in a remote-first environment. Cloud, and especially multicloud, improves your organization’s agility so you can quickly adapt to any future changes. Your workforce will be able to operate at full capacity whether they’re in the office or at home.

Improve cloud resilience and reliability

One phrase that almost always accompanies multicloud discussions? Vendor lock-in.

A multicloud environment gives you flexibility so you aren’t dependent on a single cloud vendor for your needs. If one cloud goes down, you can lean on your other cloud environments to continue operations. And if one cloud service provider no longer meets your needs, you can switch to another without too much disruption.

Learn the basics of crafting a multicloud strategy in less than 30 minutes.

Tips before you start your multicloud in public sector journey

Multicloud adoption in public sector organizations is expected to nearly double from 39% to 67% in the next three years. Check out these tips if you’re ready to start your multicloud journey.

How to determine if your team is ready to go multicloud

Before you transition your public sector organization to a multicloud environment, you need to determine whether your teams have the necessary skills. The magic number you’re looking for is 10. 

You will know your organization is ready to go multicloud if 10% of your workforce is:

  • Committed to adopting multicloud for public sector and advocating for change management

  • Cloud certified in each cloud environment you’ll be using

  • Part of a community of practice to share and advance cloud computing knowledge

Match cloud services to operational needs

Different cloud providers or services may be better suited to different applications or processes. As you look to expand your cloud environment, take the time to do your research and match vendors with your specific needs. 

This ensures you invest only in the services you need. It can also help you tailor your cloud environment to your organization.

Create security policies and unified governance

Each cloud service may have different security controls and constantly changing features and upgrades. It’s easier to manage the complexity of multiple clouds with unified governance and security policies for multicloud environments.

To develop a strong multicloud strategy, keep these elements in mind:

Overall security posture

How will you ensure your security measures permeate every area of your organization, regardless of geographical location or seniority level?

Access management

How will you control access to your cloud environments to ensure operational continuity with the least amount of risk?


What’s your process for testing new features to make sure they meet your compliance requirements and reduce security risks?

Cloud change agents

Who will advocate for cloud change and develop the governance your teams need to operate in the cloud and meet organizational needs?

Multicloud success starts with cloud computing skills

With multicloud, public sector organizations can leverage various services to operate more effectively. But multicloud isn’t a final destination—it’s an ongoing journey, and your people need cloud computing skills to keep your agency on track.

Get the insights you need to navigate multicloud roadblocks and reach your destination.