Cyber opportunities are hot in 2012

The 2012 Federal IT budget request is $80.9 billion, with most federal IT spending requests slightly ahead of 2011 levels. Priorities include telework and mobile computing as well as cloud computing and virtualization. Yet, according to a recent federal IT budget briefing covered in Washington Technology magazine at the end of October, significant risks are associated with mobile computing and cloud-based applications. For that reason, cyber security will continue to top federal IT technology spending trends.

Commercial technology products are critical to achieving operating efficiencies and cost savings demanded by government agencies. Many opportunities still exist for IT manufacturers and their channel partners in all the many civilian and DoD initiatives focusing on cyber security.

On the civilian side, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services emphasizes a need for commercial off-the-shelf solutions for security. HHS identifies security as a critical IT requirement in programs including the Resource and Patient Management System and the Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System. The Department of Treasury also names security as one of its top IT requirements in programs like the Customer Account Data Engine 2, IRS.GOV (Portal Environment), and Treasury Enterprise Identity, Credential and Access Management.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also stresses security in creating a resilient, agile, and secure infrastructure, and plans to specifically focus on creating secure and flexible networks. The Department of Justice as a whole incorporated security into its overall IT strategy with an emphasis on securing infrastructure and embedding cybersecurity to fend off attacks.

Furthermore, the Department of Commerce places a key focus on cyber security in its enterprise cybersecurity monitoring and operations to permit continuous monitoring of Commerce systems and provide an enterprise-wide cybersecurity operations center. Additionally, the mission and fiscal 2012-17 goals of the Department of Energy’s CIO include risk-based cybersecurity and plans to strengthen enterprise situational awareness, protect critical infrastructure, and advance technologies for cyber defenses.

The Defense Department places a particular emphasis on cybersecurity. It established USCYBERCOM in June 2009 to coordinate activities to defend and protect DoD information networks. By July 2011, the DoD released its first unified strategy for operating in cyber space, thus renewing its focus on cyber threats. These include external and insider threats, supply chain vulnerabilities, and threats to the DoD’s operational ability.

In the Air Force, cybersecurity remains one of CIO Lt. General William Lord’s top priorities. This includes establishing a “layered defense” to improve the Air Force’s information security using technologies such as real-time deep packet inspection and network mapping. He also emphasizes a need for training to develop technical skills to work within cyberspace.

The Army IT budget is slated for the largest percentage and dollar increase across all of DoD, and cyber security remains one of its top priorities. In the past year, ARCYBER directs the Army to integrate full-spectrum cyber capabilities, ensure mission command, and achieve cyber domain operational freedom by 2020. Recognizing the intense budgetary pressures that Army is facing, Major General Rhett Hernandez, ARCYBER commander, indicates he is addressing the acquisition process to make it more responsive and ensure cybersecurity gets factored into buying decisions.

The Navy established the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command in January 2010. A key component is the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NDOC), responsible for the defense of the Navy’s computer networks and systems and their 700,000 users worldwide, including NIPRNet and SIPRNet enclaves and legacy networks. NCDOC launched the Navy Cyber Defense Core, which provides a one-stop-shop for the consumption of information based on data gathered, analyzed, and housed within the Navy’s cyber defense systems.

Because of this enhanced interest in cybersecurity, federal budgets will continue to be directed to this are, and requirements will be formed where the needs are most critical. Sales representatives who are told there is no money to spend may not be delivering the right message to the right prospect.

About the Author

Chris Wilkinson is senior manager of cyber security technologies for immixGroup. He can be reached at

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