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Cutting Costs a Top Goal for Government Network Managers 

12  2,013 

By Valerie Insinna 

Information technology leaders in federal and local government view budget constraints as an even bigger threat to infrastructure than cyber-attacks, according to a Cisco-sponsored survey conducted in September.

“I think our customers are telling us that we have to help them with their budget constraint problem,” said Larry Payne, Cisco vice president of federal sales. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to build a very robust network and IT infrastructure with robust security and a great cyberstrategy if you don’t have the resources to maintain and operate and respond to issues.”

Cybersecurity is expected to be the government’s greatest IT investment in the next year, with 59 percent of respondents saying that funding will increase and 31 percent saying that funding would be maintained. Four hundred “decision makers and influencers” in the public sector took part in the survey, with respondents split between federal and local governments.

Somewhat surprisingly, only 28 percent believe spending on big-data analytics will expand in 2014. It is more likely that funding will be held level to current expenditures, about half of respondents said.

As more systems are networked together, “there’s going to be a huge onset of data,” Payne said. “The number of connections are estimated to grow three times by 2017. Well if the number of connections, the amount of sensors and machines sending information and intelligence [are growing] ... it’s going to mean an explosion of data that is going to be analyzed.”

The connection of sensors to the Internet offers great promise for the military, he said. Sensors could one day be used to manage supply chains, for instance to track when products such as ammunition have run out and need to be reordered.

After cybersecurity, cloud computing was seen as the area most likely to recieve investment, but many experts are still only somewhat comfortable with its reliability and security, the survey said. Still, cost savings make moving to the cloud an attractive proposition, Payne said.

Cisco officials believe federal agencies will increasingly focus on how to bring tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices into their infrastructure, he said. 

“A lot of concerns around mobility have held back the mobility deployments within the federal government, but we do believe that’s going to be resolved and the end user community is pushing for it.”

Photo Credit: Thinkstock
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