Most federal agencies are adopting computing environments with multiple cloud networks in response to changing telework and mission needs due to COVID-19 and less than half say they are adopting cyber strategies to keep pace, according to a new report by MeriTalk.

The report says that 83 percent of federal cyber respondents say their agency is increasing multi-cloud adoption related to COVID-19 but 42 percent say their cyber strategies lag the shift to the new computing environment. Only 25 percent of cyber leaders gave their agencies an “A” grade for their multi-cloud cyber security posture.

The reasons respondents gave for falling behind in implementing better cyber security practices include budget constraints, difficulty meeting regulatory requirements, lack of talent, insufficient embedded cyber security solutions, and increased attack surface.

“Agency cyber leaders need to include a successful multi-cloud cyber security strategy, and take steps to prioritize visibility, scalability, resiliency, and secure access across their multi-cloud environments,” Matthew McFadden, director of Cyber at General Dynamics [GD] Information Technology segment, which underwrote the study, said in a statement.

Over time, most respondents, 84 percent, say a multi-cloud environment will boost their cyber security posture.

The main reasons for adopting multi-cloud environments include taking advantage of the best capabilities different cloud service providers offer and adoption of different cloud providers within agencies based in mission needs. To a lesser extent, a lack of initial coordination with agencies led to the use of different cloud providers, the report says.

Results of the survey show about half of the agencies using multi-cloud environments are taking steps to bolster cyber security, with 52 percent deploying cloud-enabled cyber security capabilities, 46 percent increasing data redundancy, and 36 percent automating DevSecOps.