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The Post-COVID Public Sector

An outline of a cloud in light blue against light blue dots connected by lines like a circuit board, also in light blue. Black background.

5 ways to come back stronger with automation and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

COVID-19 compounded existing challenges for governments, colleges and universities, and teaching hospitals. These organizations were already struggling to meet rising expectations with aging infrastructure and more complex IT. With the pandemic came new hurdles, like telework and a massive surge in online services. In one week in March 2020, unemployment claims jumped from 250,000 to about 3 million — a more than 11-fold increase. [1] Legacy applications and processes floundered as state residents constantly hit the refresh button for the latest news, epidemiologists analyzed massive data sets and the entire workforce crowded onto online meeting platforms.

At Red Hat, we were inspired to see organizations across the U.S. innovate to serve their citizens and overcome pandemic obstacles in creative ways — despite constrained budgets and furloughed workers. Using automation, the city and county of Denver enabled a remote workforce literally over the weekend. The World Health Organization introduced an online learning platform that uses machine learning to recommend COVID-19 content for health-care providers. The state of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget reduced its application delivery times. Some organizations used funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to accelerate their digital journeys.

Read on to learn five ways to come back stronger with automation and hybrid cloud infrastructure to improve the user experience, lower costs and gain the agility to adapt to what’s next.

1. Do more with less, with automation

Organizations with public cloud workloads are able to scale servers and storage on demand, which helped them respond to COVID-19. Automation enables cloud technology to scale for the unexpected. If a task is repetitive, software can do it faster, more accurately and more consistently than humans. Here are tips for using automation for more efficiency and better service levels:

  • Start small
  • Find out what other organizations have automated
  • Treat automation code like application code
  • Think creatively

2. Enable a remote workforce with automation

Many organizations expect some employees to continue working from home after pandemic restrictions are eased. Helping a remote workforce stay productive and engaged requires giving them the services and tools they need to do their jobs well and stay connected with coworkers.

Elements of a remote worker solution range from VPNs and centralized routing to remote workstations and learning platforms. Automation accelerates the provisioning of servers, storage, and network and security devices. For example, Microsoft, a Red Hat partner, uses Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform across its corporate network to automate provisioning and updates for network devices. Cisco uses Ansible Automation Platform to automate multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) VPN configuration, track the status of configuration changes, check syntax and more. The World Health Organization collaborated with Red Hat Open Innovation Labs to build a scalable, flexible learning platform to help health workers understand, prevent and treat COVID-19.

3. Modernize aging infrastructure with hybrid cloud infrastructure

Many public-sector organizations are saddled with aging infrastructure. Legacy operating systems and monolithic applications are costly to maintain, complex to manage, difficult to scale and burdened with technical debt. Aging infrastructure also makes it more difficult to adapt to whatever changes the post-pandemic world may hold in store. For example, many governments and universities are planning new applications for virtual interactions, surveillance of now-empty spaces or asset location tracking.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure gives you the agility to adapt to the unpredictable. Hybrid refers to the fact that applications can be deployed in multiple environments — for example, public clouds, private clouds, or bare metal or virtual servers. As needs change, applications can be moved freely to different platforms because all of their dependencies are packaged up with the code.

4. Connect people and things at the network edge

Governments and health-care organizations looking to increase operational efficiency in the post-pandemic world are embracing edge computing. City governments, for example, are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that transmit data to edge servers, where artificial intelligence and machine learning applications swiftly identify and remediate problems. Examples include traffic flow monitoring and transportation management, timely pothole repair and garbage pickup, identification of suspicious packages, and automated responses to emergencies like chemical spills or gas plumes.

Teaching hospitals are using edge servers for health-care analytics on medical images and bedside sensor data. Processing huge volumes of data locally rather than moving it over the wide area network (WAN) to the cloud accelerates the identification of problems that require timely intervention and enable analytics, even in locations where WAN bandwidth is limited, such as rural clinics.

5. Accelerate your journey to the cloud and edge with Red Hat

The first step to preparing for an unpredictable, post-pandemic future is identifying opportunities for innovation. The next step, which is more difficult, is putting in place the culture, processes and technology to make those ideas a reality. Red Hat helps to simplify the journey to modern IT by providing technologies, professional services and expertise gained from working with leading public-sector organizations over many years.


COVID-19 underscores the fact that governments, higher education and health-care organizations have to be prepared to change service delivery with little notice. Many organizations already had plans in place before the pandemic to improve processes, modernize applications or start migrating to the cloud. The pandemic has given these projects new urgency.

Fortunately, modern, open source technologies make change easier. For example, automation platforms help the public sector do more with less by shifting time-consuming, manual tasks from humans to software. Hybrid cloud infrastructure, in turn, enables rapid deployment of applications on any platform — and faster changes.

Whatever your business needs and current IT environment, Red Hat has the technologies, services and training to help you adapt more quickly to change.

Learn more

Read the full post-COVID public-sector overview to get more ideas for how to come back stronger from COVID-19, including doing more with less with automation, processing data where it is generated — at the network’s edge, and modernizing aging infrastructure with a hybrid cloud approach. Explore public-sector solutions from Red Hat:

[1] Pressgrove, Jed. “Have State Unemployment Insurance Systems Recovered from COVID-19?Government Technology, February 25, 2021.