Public-sector IT spend focused on AI, ransomware protection

Hybrid multicloud deployments expected to increase fourfold over the next three years to help unlock efficiency, security, and innovation, according to a new report from Nutanix.

Vanson Bourne conducted research on behalf of Nutanix, surveying 1,500 IT and DevOps/Platform Engineering decision-makers around the world in December 2023. 

Respondents were based in North and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific-Japan (APJ) region.

The report takes into account data supplied by 409 worldwide survey respondents in federal/national governments, state and local governments, public education, public healthcare, and other public sector organisations. 

Results show that public-sector IT leaders expect substantial near-term adoption of multiple IT operating models (87%), yet current usage (57%) is slightly behind the average compared to other industries (60%).

The use of hybrid multicloud models in the industry is forecast to quadruple over the next one to three years as IT decision-makers at public sector organizations look to modernise data centres into private clouds and preserve choice in public cloud deployments. 

Primary drivers for IT infrastructure investments in the next year include ransomware prevention, IT modernisation, and AI strategy support to gain flexibility and access new capabilities to improve operations and enable mission success.

The public sector is faced with regulatory and compliance mandates regarding where and how end user data can be stored, which creates complexity as organisations work to modernise their IT infrastructure. 

Hybrid multicloud solutions provide key benefits to public sector organisations including simplifying operations, improving data privacy and security, optimising where apps and data live, and preparing for technologies like AI. 

The Public Sector ECI report found the adoption of hybrid multicloud varied significantly from across sub sectors, with public education leading the way, while federal and state governments lagged.

The study found that hybrid multicloud deployments lag behind other industries. The vast majority of both public-sector organisations (85%) and all sectors (90%) agreed that their groups now embrace cloud-smart IT deployment strategies. However, just 8% of global public-sector organisations reported using a hybrid multicloud approach.

Also, when public sector organisations are investing in IT infrastructure, protection from ransomware is the primary driver. Respondents in the public sector most often chose the infrastructure’s ability to protect against ransomware and other malware as their single top priority (17%). 

This factor was followed by the infrastructure’s performance/response time potential (15%) and its ability to allow IT to flexibly move workloads across private and public cloud platforms (14%).

Further, security and compliance are the biggest drivers of application relocation and the top priority for CIO/CTOs, as public sector organisations recover from high rates of ransomware attacks. The vast majority of ECI respondents—92% in the public sector group and 95% globally—said they had moved one or more applications to a different IT environment in the past 12 months. 

Meanwhile, AI use is ramping up, though issues concerning data privacy and best practices persist.  Four-fifths of those in the public sector said they expect to increase their investments in AI technology in the next year.

Top challenges involve multi-environment storage, operations, security, and sustainability. Managing multiple IT environments creates operational challenges often related to interoperability and data management across infrastructures with dissimilar underlying technologies. 

When asked to name their number one data management challenge today, the greatest percentage in the public sector identified complying with data storage/usage guidelines (19%) as the top factor. 

Increasingly, data storage strategies are driven by privacy regulations about where end user data can be stored, such as data sovereignty requirements.