Procurement, security slows adoption of IoT

Federal IT staffers say that slow procurement process and low funding are major challenges to secure Internet of Things platforms.

Federal technology staffers have highlighted slow procurement processes and low funding levels as major challenges in efforts to secure Internet of Things platforms, a new survey from Brocade says.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents singled out insufficient funds and concerns over procurement times reached the same proportion of responses, according to the survey, Securing the Edge..

Other major challenges cited by respondents include:

  • 30 percent for lack of technical expertise
  • 23 percent for inability to adapt to new threats
  • 19 percent for lack of leadership buy-in
  • 16 percent for lack of built-in device security

But despite those challenges, McKinsey & Company projects the Internet of Things to comprise 30 billion units by 2020 and public sector adoption growth to outpace that of the private sector by 2019.

Many of the challenges point the way for areas where contractors and vendors can support customers adopting more IoT solutions.

Respondents see many benefits to the technology as 55 percent cited enhanced mission capability as one and 50 percent highlighted work flexibility with respect to telework and employees bringing their own mobile devices.

Twenty-six percent said IoT can help improve insights as more connected devices gather data and another 26 percent predicted improved public safety services as a benefit also.

Sixty percent highlighted security as the top priority for IoT, while 89 percent said it is “very” or “extremely important” to secure devices that collect and share information while in the field or at remote locations.

Seventy-two percent view it as “very” or “extremely important” for their agency’s mission to have deployed IoT devices that capture and share information.

The federal government put nearly $35 billion toward IoT investments between 2011 and 2015, according to a Govini report.

The White House has planned $19 billion in cybersecurity spending for the government’s current fiscal year, the Brocade survey says. But it isn’t clear how much of that security spending is focused on IoT.

Brocade surveyed 442 staffers across 30 agencies with 69 percent of respondents at or higher than the GS-12 level, 53 percent are supervisors over one or more employees and seven percent in acquisition or procurement roles.