December 28, 2013    /    by

14 Predictions on Government IT for 2014

7 Predictions for optimists and 7 predictions for pessimists for government IT in 2014.

Predictions 2014

As we head into 2014, there has never been a greater divergence between the optimists and pessimists in society on a wide range of issues. Government technology, infrastructure and cybersecurity topics are no exception to this wide-ranging online debate regarding our future.

On the positive side, we have an improving economy with the US stock market just reaching an all-time high at the end of 2013.

On the negative side, 2013 saw a further drop in trust in both government and major technology companies on a wide variety of issues, including the ability to deliver meaningful projects like healthcare.gov on time and on budget.

The cyber world is no different. Most experts continue to believe that the bad guys are pulling further ahead of the good guys in cyberspace. But we will surely see “must-have” new smartphone features, new wearable technology and more data to mine than ever before in 2014. We need to keep enabling secure solutions that bring customer-focused innovation!

Background on the list
After spending hours surfing the Web and reading hundreds of tech predictions for the next year, I am more convinced than ever that cybersecurity will stay hot for the foreseeable future – certainly in 2014 and probably for the next decade. Most of the predictions I found read more like overall trends, which is ok – but I try to add some new twists and a few bolder statements.

Along the way, I found some fascinating (and fun) articles worth reading. These include:

Why millennials mattered in 2013 – My daughters loved this one …

The VAR Guy’s Top 50 (out of 100) predictions – Such as this quote:
"Data Sovereignty will be a monster issue: Information that has been converted and stored in digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located. The widespread adoption of cloud computing services, as well as object storage, have broken down traditional geopolitical barriers. In response, many countries have regulated new compliance requirements and legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the customer's country of residence. CIOs will want to see and control their data, down to the rack-level. Most public cloud deployments don't offer their end-user visibility into where their data resides. In 2014, enterprise CIOs will look at providers who offer visibility and controls that enable policy-based compliance with respect to domain. Whether it's corporate security standards or driving compute efficiency, the CIO will be expected to know where data resides and where specific applications are running at all times ..." 

Also, Gartner technology predictions are always worth a look, although they tend to be for 3-5 years rather than for just 2014.  

My predictions for 2014
So here are my favorite technology and cybersecurity predictions for 2014 – with a section for both the “can do” optimists and “negative news” for pessimists. Some of these are original and some are borrowed – in which case I link to the original source.

7 Predictions for Optimists in 2014:

1) Technology budgets will be up – (with cybersecurity at the top of the list) – IT budgets will rise over 5% from 2013 levels, from IDC – on Forbes.com 

2) Smarter cities – Cities and states will adopt more projects with ROI and citizen benefit than ever before. For example, Greater Vancouver’s transit system finally gets a tap-and-go transit pass – (Source: Juniper Research)

3) Presidential executive order(s) or directives will come out on Cybersecurity Framework incentives – implanting many of the items that President Obama discussed in the 2013 State of the Union address. for more, see: this article from IP Law Alert

4) More open source and open stack adoption – “Organizations will continue to utilize virtualization in order to get greater efficiency out of their compute infrastructure ...” Source: Netapp 

5) Wearable tech takes off – numerous sources such as: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-user-and-the-device-10-technology-predictions-for-2014-234457101.html

6) New targeted cyber legislation will be introduced in the USA to protect children – following in the UK’s opt-in approach on porn and other material deemed inappropriate for children – background sources: Huffington Post and The Daily Mail (UK) – Some will no doubt deem this as infringing on free speech, however documentary films like Nefarious: Merchant of Souls will gradually change the dialogue in America about the dark side of Internet activity, which surely includes more than just identity theft. This ongoing effort will take years, but will eventually win out in the US by 2020.

7) Big 4 becomes Big 5: In 2013, the Big 4 IT trends were Mobile, Social, Big Data and Cloud. In 2014, The Internet of Things (a.k.a. Machine to Machine computing) will join the party. Source: The VAR Guy 

7 Predictions for Pessimists in 2014

1) The rise in mobile and cloud computing use will see more advanced malware. Ransomware will soar. Increased Cyber Kidnappings Raise Attacker Profits – Ransomware, a class of malicious software that tries to take a computer hostage, has grown steadily over the past few years, but a particularly nasty variant emerged in 2013: CryptoLocker. This year, it has affected millions and it is suspected that the authors have made a high return in their criminal investment. In 2014, WatchGuard expects that many other cyber criminals will try to copy CryptoLocker's success by mimicking its techniques and capabilities. Plan for a surge of ransomware in 2014. Source: Watchguard Technologies.

2) A big insider threat story will emerge from the private sector – (A virtual Edward Snowden – take 2) will force another look at stopping insider threats beyond the intelligence community.

3) The rise in cyber crime will continue – More headline-grabbing stories about ATMs and banks accounts mysteriously being emptied of cash. Health information misuse will surely be a rising threat in 2014. Expect one or more state or local governments to have a major breach – rivaling the South Carolina breach of 2012. For more background, see: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/05/11/world-grapples-with-rise-in-cyber-crime/ and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703453804575479632855718318

4) Skills crisis in government technology and cybersecurity will lead to more partnering with the private sector. The pay and benefits of government technology jobs are stagnant and getting worse (falling further behind), while private sector also needs more talented cyber experts. Plus baby boomers in government will start leaving faster as the economy improves.

5) Microsoft Window XP Support will end in April – and many security headaches will ensue for government leaders. Many security issues will be the result

6) Snowden will not be given asylum in Brazil. Despite recent stories and hopes to the contrary and even an open letter written by Edward Snowden to the people of Brazil, it’s not going to happen, in my view. Why? Brazil will be hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. They don’t need negative distractions, or worse yet, boycotts. Of course, if they can’t get their act together with protestors or stadiums, maybe they will look to Snowden to change the headlines.

7) NSA data gathering will be curtailed, BUT NOT stopped, by President Obama in January 2014. However, the Supreme Court will go further in curbs later in the year. Background on this topic at end of 2013 and see this CNN story ... 

Some motivation to press forward in the new year ...
I try to find a new inspirational quote to remember at the start of each year, to use when the going gets tough in government IT and cyberdefense – which it always does at some point. Here's a great message as we head into 2014:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed for his efforts in the Nazi resistance, once said: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

This timeless truth applies to our battles in cyberspace and our ongoing actions in the virtual world as well.

Happy New Year to you!