Government agencies will continue to struggle with cybersecurity, while making strides in transparency and cloud computing. There will also be new pushes for accountability and IT procurement reform.
In some ways, government technology appeared to have received a new lease on life in 2009. As cloud computing and Web 2.0 took root in the wider tech industry, President Obama's tech-savvy administration named the United States' first CIO and CTO and launched a -ranging effort on transparency that was echoed in many national, state and even local governments.
Government 2.0 and "government as a platform" became new buzz phrases, federal CIO Vivek Kundra launched cloud computing and performance management initiatives, and it seemed as if every government agency started a Twitter feed, joined Facebook and began posting YouTube videos.
However, we also continued to hear more of the same. Cybersecurity became an even larger concern, as reports of breaches seemed to come out weekly and new government leaders and organizations sprouted up to fight the hackers. As usual, there was also a parade of failed projects.
If 2009 was about promise, look for 2010 to be about delivery. Following are five things to watch for next year in government tech, subject to the caveat that I like Nostradamus and Punxsutawney Phil have been known to make a prognostication or two that don't pan out.
1. Cybersecurity Will Continue To Be On The Front Burner
Look for 2010 to be another year of cybersecurity news. The new U.S. Cyber Command will really get off the ground this year, pointing the U.S. military toward a more complete, comprehensive cyber offense and defense strategy. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to formalize its strategy and centralize its authority over the civilian side of cybersecurity and will create formal public-private partnerships with the financial and energy sectors.
The White House will look for better information on cybersecurity performance and budgets, and may release a top-level strategy for implementing the ideas laid out in the administration's 60-day cyber review earlier this year. ID management will also get a new lease on life. However, we will continue to hear reports of breaches and privacy will be a major concern as government looks for new ways to converse with the public. Though an able official, new White House cyber coordinator Howard Schmidt will struggle to make his voice heard with two bosses and a lack of budget or strong policy authority.
2. More Agencies Will Begin Forays Into Cloud Computing, Including Public Clouds
Top agency IT leaders are beginning to really wrap their heads around the idea of cloud computing and what it could mean for their agencies. While 2009 was a year of head-scratching and a few leading-edge cloud projects, 2010 will see early projects move into production and more and more agencies toying around with cloud computing. The Defense Information Systems Agency's RACE will be available for classified software, and NASA's Nebula will be made available to all agencies.
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