Three Technology Trends for Homeland Security
In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components must adopt information technology (IT) that is changing faster than ever with dramatically fewer resources.
As a company that supports DHS in information technology, we’ve seen a tremendous growth in work on emerging technologies in data analytics / big data, mobility, and cybersecurity. Agencies struggle to find funding for these, but know they can help leap frog a component and let them make meaningful impact on the mission.
Here are three trends to watch for in 2013 and 2014:
- Big Data- The White House has implemented several initiatives focused on leveraging the potential of big data analysis. DHS collects massive amounts of data on a daily basis. With the adoption of big data technology DHS will be able to analyze structured and unstructured data that is constantly changing to make real time decisions. Like agencies across the federal government, DHS’ challenge is to learn how to apply big data technology to cross-agency data sets to answer mission critical questions
- Mobility- DHS has begun to harness mobile technology to communicate with its employees, citizens and stakeholders as more people have begun to use tablets and smartphones as tools to digest information. DHS is exploring how mobile technology can affect how employs carry out their normal work functions. For example, the Federal Chief Information Officer has led the effort to assist federal agencies in adopting “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) programs. In a recent survey by Cisco, 69% IT leaders from a variety of industries supported BYOD programs as they allow employees to have more flexibility regarding, how, where and when they work and lead to employee driven improvements in collaboration and productivity. Mobile public applications at TSA and Government-only applications at FEMA are leading the way
- Cybersecurity- Agencies are establishing minimum standards for IT infrastructure to prevent cyber threats. In 2011 DHS’s OCIO launched an initiative to improve IT security across Department by improving management visibility and increasing education across all components. DHS will continue to work towards accomplishing all of the tasks outlined in this initiative throughout 2013 focusing on identifying and preventing cyber attacks.
So what is one key to success for DHS to show short-term progress in each of these three areas? Pilot programs that are small in scope, yet big in impact.
Smaller, quick projects that prove concepts that can be rapidly expanded are a proven way for a DHS component to make an impact before they invest millions in a solution. Larger programs face significant delays, funding constraints, stakeholder challenges, and extensive scrutiny. Smaller pilot projects allow an agency prove a concept, prove mission results, and can lead to larger implementations that have buy-in from stakeholders based on success.