IT Management

Survey: Budget poses the biggest threat to federal IT

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More government IT experts rate budget constraints as a greater threat to their organization's IT infrastructure than cyberattacks, mobile security or any other metric, according to a survey by Cisco and Clarus Research Group.

The survey polled 400 IT decision-makers at the local, state and federal levels, with 35 percent suggesting budget shortfalls were more detrimental to maintaining IT infrastructures than increased network demands or any other factor.

The budget weighed heavily in the survey – few department heads ever ask for less money -- a fact perhaps exacerbated by the timing: It was carried out in September as the government shutdown loomed. But Larry Payne, vice president of Cisco's U.S. federal market, said the study confirmed once again that cost rules the day in federal IT.

The top IT goals over the next year were:

  •  Reduce IT costs: 28 percent.
  •  Improve security: 22 percent.
  •  Boost efficiency: 19 percent.
  •  Improve service delivery: 19 percent
  •  Enhance mobility: 9 percent.

"What [feds] are dealing with is a great deal of complexity," Payne said.

For all the talk of shrinking IT budgets, 59 percent of those surveyed said they were likely to increase investment in cybersecurity in fiscal 2014. That tops those who planned to spend more on cloud computing (45 percent) and networking (42 percent).

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That cloud computing is playing second fiddle to cybersecurity in spending expectations among federal IT leaders is not surprising, Payne said, noting that their confidence in cloud reliability, security and cost-effectiveness was "lukewarm" at best. In cloud reliability, 63 percent reported "some confidence," 18 percent had "great confidence" and 13 percent had "no confidence."

Feds doubted the cost-effectiveness of cloud computing, with 54 percent stating they had "some confidence" it would save money. Twelve percent had no confidence it would.

Feds had the least confidence in the security of cloud computing. While the survey did not separate nuanced versions of the cloud – public, private or hybrid clouds – the findings revealed only 12 percent of government IT decision makers had great confidence in cloud security, 60 percent had "some confidence" and 22 percent expressed "no confidence."

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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