In your hands (or on your monitor, or even on your smartphone screen) is the 2010 edition of Government Technology’s Year in Review. Putting together this feature is always daunting. How best to encapsulate an entire year in state and local technology and present it in a compelling fashion? There’s also the challenge of deciding which stories warrant another go-round.

This year, members of our editorial staff took a crack at analyzing individual technology subsets — from IT security and mobile technology to broadband and sustainability — and the important roles each played in 2010. You’ll also find top 10 lists, a roundup of popular smartphone apps, a timeline highlighting career moves, technology milestones and more.

Without a doubt, 2010 will be remembered as the year the Web was truly liberated from the confines of the desktop. This year, more people accessed the Web from non-PC devices than ever before. Most would agree the era of the desktop as the preferred on-ramp to cyber-space is rapidly ending. More powerful smartphones, iPads and their competitors, and even our game consoles, are ushering in a new age of ubiquitous connectivity.

This fundamental societal shift will undoubtedly bring challenges and opportunities in every realm imaginable — health, work, love, environment, energy, governance and virtually every other aspect of our lives. This change will set the course for our shared future and will demand that public-sector technology leaders radically redefine their priorities. The time of the CIO as a glorified MIS administrator is officially behind us.

Technology leadership will be in increasingly high demand and perhaps a revisit to 2010 will offer some glimmers of insight for how you should prepare.

Security  

Even before 2010 began, research organizations and vendors forecast trouble on the cyber-security front. In December 2009, Kaspersky Lab predicted that 2010 would see more sophisticated malware attacks that would reach more places, like phones and social networking platforms. Fast-forward to July, and another research firm claimed that more complex cyber-attacks were occurring than before.

Mark Weatherford, California’s then-chief information security officer (CISO), wrote in January that such reports highlighted how susceptible U.S. infrastructure is to cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism. And at a March symposium on protecting the global supply chain, government, academic, nonprofit and corporate attendees agreed that cyber-dangers even threaten America’s stream of goods. Since technology touches everything now — even how people get food — these supply chains are vulnerable.

The federal government moved to shore up protection of the nation’s digital infrastructure, but those efforts took awhile to get moving. Months after the Obama administration completed a 90-day review of the nation’s digital infrastructure in December 2009, the president appointed Howard Schmidt to be the first White House cyber-security coordinator. Then in May 2010, four-star Army Gen. Keith Alexander was named commander of the newly created U.S. Cyber Command, a subdivision of the U.S. Strategic Command.

This federal activity impacted state and local government efforts. Maryland officials, for example, recommended in January that the state align its cyber-security initiatives with those of the Obama administration. In a summer IBM-sponsored survey about state cyber-security management, CISOs viewed their relationships with the federal government differently. It was recommended that individual CISOs sit down with federal counterparts to work out unique cyber-security strategies.

Although the federal government took significant steps toward strengthening leadership and coordination on national cyber-security issues, more work remained as 2010 drew to a close. In August, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report calling for greater public-private cooperation on cyber-security matters. The authors noted the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which is designed to coordinate information sharing between government and corporate entities. But the report stressed that the public and private sectors must work closely together to fight cyber-crime.

—    Hilton Collins