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Year in Review 2022: GovTech's Words of the Year

As we revisited the top headlines from over the past year, a handful of phrases stood out that were either new or gained momentum in 2022. From "borderless hiring" to "zero trust," these were some key terms from the past 12 months.

In putting together our annual Year in Review, a handful of phrases stood out that were either new or gained momentum in 2022. From "borderless hiring" to "zero trust," these were some key terms from the past 12 months.

Borderless Hiring: Hiring staff outside a jurisdiction’s geographic boundaries. As governments have increasingly embraced hybrid and remote work, some have started opening job listings to applicants beyond a city, county or state’s borders. While the practice is far from commonplace — and in some places it’s legally prohibited — a handful of states have adopted borderless hiring and agencies like Orange County, Fla., IT report giving it serious consideration.

Ghost Library: A library without on-site staff that offers things like keyless entry, computers, Wi-Fi and automated checkout, in addition to books and other resource materials. Ghost libraries debuted overseas in recent years, but in 2022, the first ghost library opened in the U.S., in Jefferson County, Colo. Other American libraries do open for limited hours without staff, but most of the time, they are full-service facilities.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure: An IT architecture that brings together network, storage and computing to more efficiently allocate resources by managing them all in one place rather than separately. HCI allows for flexibility, can be hosted on premise or in multiple clouds, and can make an organization more resilient in the face of cyber attacks or natural hazards.

Information Disorder: Information disorder refers broadly to disinformation, misinformation and malinformation and their harmful societal effects. Disinformation refers to falsehoods that are spread deliberately, while misinformation refers to untruths spread inadvertently by someone who believed what they were sharing was true. CISA defines malinformation as factual information “used out of context to mislead, harm or manipulate.”

Low-Code/No-Code: A method of software development that doesn’t require deep technical coding knowledge. Users of low-code/no-code tools can build out systems like ERP platforms and analytics tools with point-and-click or drag-and-drop actions, often accompanied by robotic process automation. This allows organizations to buy an off-the-shelf software solution and tailor it to their own needs without acquiring new coding skills.

Metaverse: A virtual reality space where people interact with other users and with a computer-generated environment much the same way they do in real life. The metaverse is not new, not entirely, dating back nearly 20 years with the creation of online multimedia platforms like Second Life. In 2022, however, government has started to plan for and embrace the concept in different ways, chief among them higher education.

Quishing and Smishing: New cybersecurity threats that target users via QR codes and mobile phones as the attack platforms. Quishing is generally used in combination with email phishing, using QR codes to direct users to a scam website that asks for an email address, ultimately sending out a phishing attack. Smishing is essentially a phishing attack that is sent via text (SMS) messages to mobile devices.

Sky Computing: As one might gather, sky computing sits above the cloud and aims to make independent, incompatible cloud platforms interoperable with one another. According to two professors at the University of California, Berkeley, sky computing would enable true multicloud application development with three layers (compatibility, intercloud and peering) that together “fulfill the vision of utility computing” that the cloud was supposed to realize.

Technical/Innovation Debt: The costs that can result from not investing in new technologies, as well as not evaluating and improving platform capabilities. For example, cybersecurity threats continue to become more complex, but newer technologies are easier to protect. So, innovation debt means the cost government might incur from choosing not to upgrade tech, leaving itself open to cyber vulnerabilities.

Zero Trust: A cybersecurity strategy that limits access to data and services regardless of whether a device or an account was previously trusted. Zero trust requires continual authentication and tightly restricts access to only those resources that are absolutely necessary to accomplish the job at hand. Zero-trust approaches are different from previous methods that allowed broad access once a user logged in, requiring more stringent methods of identity proofing and the widespread use of other tools like encryption.