RESOLUTE Partners sat down with its Vice President Information Technology Frank DeMasi to find out what he thinks will be the big technology trends for 2017 in the government space:
Q: First off, what do you see being the top technology trends in 2017 in general?
A: Cybersecurity and Energy Management… As we see in the news every day in just about all industries, cybersecurity and the theft of data is becoming more and more of an issue. Take for example the explosive growth in energy management in both the residential and commercial environments. Entrepreneurs in this vertical have embraced the “green” movement and developed multiple products from WiFi enabled thermostats to light bulbs to door locks, all controlled by your mobile app or a central cloud hosted solution. In every case, these systems are connected across the public internet and often employ easy configurations and setup which helps the user quickly setup and use the products. The problem? It's all at the expense of providing even basic security best practices.
Q: You mention the residental space, but what about the government sectors for cybersecurity and energy management?
A: While this maybe great for selling a product targeted at the residential market, the leap to commercial and government markets usually requires more security safeguards. Of course, the government wants to enjoy those same new features, functions and the ability to use these new technologies to reduce its energy costs. The government's desire to participate has almost overridden the desire to turn a blind eye to the security deficiencies of these products. More and more, government agencies are looking to expand into monitoring and controlling their energy usage, year over year there have been increases in money spent on these initiatives and 2017 looks to continue that trend.
Q: So the government wanting to participate in enhanced features in say energy management has helped to push a need for better cybersecurity?
A: From an industry perspective, this has started a drive to provide enhanced security in these products, and that additional security requirement is now also bleeding into other industries and products that serve them. No product manufacturer wants to be the basis for a government hack. Because of this and the growth in the energy control market, manufactures are now starting to embrace security as a main feature. This shift in methodology has been a ripple that is now expanding across product sets and verticals.
Q: What message would you send manufacturers or even an entrepreneur building a new energy management type product in 2017?
A: Going forward, it should be the goal of any entrepreneur developing any product to assess basic security risks it may have and to develop remediation strategies to avoid becoming the next news headline. The importance is great to define a strategic and universal set of security standards as the future hackers get better tools and their technology improves.
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