Experts: Changes will come fast for government IT
- By Doug Beizer
- Dec 08, 2008
A new administration, a new generation of workers and emerging
technologies will fundamentally change how government does business,
according to Amit Yoran, chief executive officer of NetWitness and
Richard Burk, the former chief architect at the Office of Management
Speaking at the Government Technology Research
Alliance symposium in Hershey, Pa., on Dec. 7, Yoran and Burk said
government information technology is poised to change rapidly.
is hard to talk about the future of government IT without mentioning
the pending administration change,” Yoran said. “There is going to be
very significant change in mind-set and attitude around Washington,
particularly around the government’s use of technology. The behavior of
the campaigns and the Obama campaign’s natural affinity to use of
technology will be felt in government.”
Obama’s transition teams plan to create a federal chief technology
office is an example of the administration’s plan to approach
government technology in a new way, Yoran said.
need to be ready to accommodate the new IT demands to meet the
expectations of the new administration and citizens, Burk said.
static, publish-and-browse Internet is really being eclipsed by a new
participatory Web that provides a powerful platform for the reinvention
of government structures, public services and democratic processes,”
The new generation of workers that grew up immersed
in digital technologies will play an important role in shepherding in
this change in government IT, Burk said.
“It is a generation
that thinks differently about the role of government and society and
will demand increasingly speedy, responsive and customizable public
services,” he said.
Yoran recommended that chief information
officers and other government leaders learn what their users want and
provide them those services. It is often better to enable a requested
functionality than to try and block it, he said.
need to share their MP3 files, they say it is absolutely, positively
business critical,” Yoran said. “If you don’t enable a way for them to
do it, they will enable it themselves. You need to accommodate in a way
that hopefully manages risk rather than encouraging users to bypass
your security efforts, because they absolutely will.”
Yoran said he expected technology development will be a part of the Obama administration’s proposed economic stimulus package.
the technology changes will lead to new challenges for agency leaders,
Yoran and Burk said. Today, at least 20 to 30 percent of applications
and operating systems are developed by foreign nationals, Yoran said.
That leads to security concerns in all facets of computers.
problems are getting worse when you factor in wireless and Web 2.0
where we are literally giving control of our content and IT
infrastructure to users, oftentimes unauthenticated users,” Yoran said.
“That will cause, and is causing, a series of cascading security
challenges that the community has not thought through.”
As the changes to government IT take place, Burk recommends looking to private industry as a model for how to evolve.
business models pioneered in the private sector hold promise for the
public sector, but the unique public-sector environment means that that
challenges of implementation are different,” Burk said. “While the
needs of citizens cannot be met by market forces alone, the principles
of this new revolution: openness, peering, sharing and acting globally,
provide a powerful manifesto for public-sector transformation.”
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.