Government on open hybrid multicloud

Open hybrid multicloud with confidential computing is a logical solution for governments, offering flexibility, and addressing security and cost concerns.

Today’s governments are challenged to reshape the citizen’s experience through new platform-driven engagement models while also lowering operating costs. At the same time, they must remain agile to rapidly respond to changing situations and citizens’ insights, and continue to optimize risk management, compliance, and security strategies.

Meeting these challenges requires a new business architecture. Traditional industry models are not well-suited for today’s digital reality, which is dominated by rapid innovation, customer centricity, and mobile-first interfaces. Monolithic and complex in nature, traditional systems lack flexibility, making it expensive to adopt new technologies and deploy new functionality. In addition, they drive a disproportionate amount of focus and operating expense on middle- and back-office activities, as opposed to those closer to the customer interface that can deliver higher returns on equity.

Essentially, traditional government systems don’t support extended ecosystem engagement, AI-powered systems and processes, and intelligent workflows. Governments need to build new modular, interoperable, intelligent operating environments that embed risk management, security, and compliance in their core.

An open hybrid multicloud approach that includes a mix of public cloud flexibility and private cloud and on-premises security can provide the needed efficiency. Adoption of confidential computing across all clouds allows governments the freedom to extend beyond their data centers and into cloud services without restricting them to a single technical solution platform or provider. While delivering confidence in data privacy and confidentiality, this can help structurally reduce cost of operations, as well as balance ownership and flexibility with regulatory adherence. It also enables portability of workflows and data accessibility.

Confidential computing

Confidential computing protects data during processing,and when combined with storage and network encryption with exclusive control of encryption keys, it provides end-to-end data security in the cloud. It isolates sensitive data in a protected CPU enclave during processing. The data being processed—and the techniques used to process it—are accessible only to authorized programming code and are invisible and unknowable to anything or anyone else, including the cloud provider.

The business logic behind an open hybrid multicloud approach centers around improving business performance while balancing business needs with IT requirements and cost constraints. Migrating to an open hybrid multicloud environment helps mitigate future costs to move (featuring high interoperability of cloud-native applications and workflows), while helping reduce new costs to build (leveraging security and legal compliance by design) and managing costs to run.

In addition to balancing short-term economics with long-term value and operational costs with business and regulatory needs, an open hybrid multicloud approach reduces dependency on any single provider or technology preference. Instead of being restricted to running all workloads on a single platform, performance can improve with various workloads on multiple interoperable platforms.

An open hybrid multicloud approach allows governments to extend into cloud services without restricting them to a single solution or provider.

Open hybrid multicloud offers the flexibility necessary for business innovation and improved customer experience, while also addressing security and cost concerns. It can serve as the necessary foundation for a modern government architecture by enabling internal and external data accessibility, workload flexible portability, and effective interoperability of analytics. It can also help government organizations boost the performance of other exponential technologies to support business-critical functions.

The road from recognizing the need for a new business architecture to successfully executing an infrastructure migration and application modernization can appear bumpy. However, with the right roadmap, government organizations can make the necessary move to open hybrid multicloud, transforming themselves into agile organizations fueled by data, guided by AI insights, and built for change. Read the full report to learn about the steps governments can take to transition to an open hybrid multicloud approach.


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Meet the authors

Marc Fiammante

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, IBM Fellow, Global CTO Government, IBM

Chris Nott

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, CTO Government, IBM EMEA

Gregory Spargo

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, Associate Partner, Global Government Solutions Architect

Dennis Stotts

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, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Global Government Cloud CTO

Originally published 19 July 2021