Top Cyber-Security Threats for 2011

Malware logo Crystal 128.

Image via Wikipedia

What will be the biggest cyber-security threats of 2011 for government agencies (and potential opportunities for IT vendors)?

M86 Security researchers released a list of eight Internet threats they believe will become more serious in 2011.  The four-page report describes each one and details how they could harm government agencies and commercial enterprises.

The list, M86 Security Labs: Threat Predictions 2011, warns the global community about the following means of attack:
• malware that uses stolen digital certificates to bypass white listing
• more mobile malware on smartphones
• spam that is better at mimicking legitimate e-mail
• sophisticated data-stealing Trojans
• social networks threats
• HTML 5 becoming a prime target
• malware-as-a-service offerings increasing
• botnets that come back after take down attempts.

Of these, we find the following two most interesting and potentially ripe for innovation opportunity:

Mobile Malware

With smart-phone penetration skyrocketing, hackers are bound to see this as a wide open field to practice their sinister craft.  The lines are blurring between computers and mobile devices and more protection from mobile malware is needed.  Contractors who can solve this problem will benefit.

Malware-as-a-service

We’re all familiar with software-as-a-service.  This is similar in concept except the service provides a “toolbox” for cyber-criminals to create malware of all types.  “We haven’t quite seen it yet, but we can certainly see in the next 12 months where you could have a cyber-crime service, and a cyber-criminal just needs to subscribe to that service, and all the different pieces that he’s going to need to perpetrate the cyber-crime are all offered through that service,” said Bradley Anstis, M86 Security’s vice president of technology strategy.  Vendors who can create solutions to counteract these tool sets will also find commercial opportunity.

It’s unfortunate a need for cyber-countermeasures exists.  However, criminals will do what they do.  Understanding and responding to developing trends in cyber-security can prohibit them from being successful, providing a valuable service to governments and businesses around the globe.

Top U.S. “Digital Cities” Reveal Government Technology Trends

Skyline of Back Bay, seen from the Charles Riv...

Image via Wikipedia

Which city governments are considered leaders in e-government initiatives that provide real returns on investment?

That question was the focus of an annual survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology magazine.  The 10th annual survey measures and assesses the use of information technology by local governments.

According to the results released last week, here are the top winners in each population category:

250,000 or more population
Boston

125,000-249,999 population
Richmond, Va.

75,000-124,999 population
Pueblo, Colo

30,000-74,999 population
Castle Rock, Colo.

OPPORTUNITY WATCH:  SHARED APPLICATIONS

In the past, municipalities were able to invest in technologies that made life easier (or were just plain cool).  Given today’s economic climate, technology investments are geared towards initiatives that provide measurable returns on investment.  Collaborative projects are examples of this. Shared networks have become more common over the past few years, and many believe shared applications will be the hot trend over the next 12 to 18 months.

For technology vendors selling to the government, illustrating clear and measurable value is the goal.  And, creating solutions and applications that can be shared by multiple departments across a municipality will have broader appeal.  Analyzing the winners of this year’s Digital Cities awards reveals that opportunity for technology in government has not died;  the game has just become more interesting.

Happy hunting,

Lorin

Sales and Marketing Together: Implementing a Coordinated Attack on the Market

Wiki battle

Image via Wikipedia

Achieving any significant military objective requires the coordinated efforts of multiple branches of service. As citizens, we would be outraged if we knew the Army refused to cooperate with the Air Force in the heat of battle. We would be appalled if each division decided to “do its own thing” with no cross-branch coordination. We would not be surprised if battles were lost due to poor cooperation and ineffective coordination.

Yet, a parallel situation happens in companies every day where people refuse to coordinate strategic attacks on the market among the front line “branches,” namely Sales and Marketing. In some cases, the divisions operate in silos, doing their own thing and losing the power of a focused, concerted effort. In other cases, bitter rivalries, jealousies and internal politics create constant turmoil and an unproductive environment. Whatever the case, when coordination among Sales and Marketing is weak, battles are lost to more worthy competitors, leaving money on the table in the form of declining sales, and wasted precious resources.

To win in government sales, Sales and Marketing must commit to working together and moving in the same direction. They must have regular and frequent interaction. Salespeople should attend marketing staff meetings regularly, and marketing people should be invited to sales meetings with frequency. Time must be spent understanding what is working and adjusting what is not. Where practical, marketing people should accompany salespeople on sales calls (at least occasionally) and sales people should be invited to participate in marketing brainstorming sessions.

Marketing people must set aside their need to control every aspect of the “brand” and value salespeople input into the battle plan (garnered from those in the trenches). Salespeople must lay down their egos and appreciate the creativity and strategic perspective brand-oriented marketers bring to the fight.

Working together, these two groups can create significant leverage and focus, helping achieve the ultimate objective of winning more business.

So, how coordinated is your attack on the market when it comes to Sales and Marketing?

Federal Appropriations Post Mid-term Elections

Category:Westminster constituencies in the Rep...

Image via Wikipedia

With mid-term elections behind us, what will the Federal appropriations process be like for next year?  According to an article on Government Executive’s website, the shift in power will leave a “dark cloud” over the budget and appropriations process in the short-term.  Even if the Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate each manage to pass budget proposals next year, it is popular thinking they will have a hard time agreeing on a single unified approach.

“You would imagine it would be very difficult to reconcile if the House and Senate each are able to pass a budget resolution individually…given the pledges [House Republicans] have made for deep cuts in spending…and no increases in revenues,” said Jim Horney, deputy Democratic staff director on the Senate Budget Committee from 2001 to 2004.

There is still hope that common ground can be reached following President Obama’s deficit commission report in December.  The commission, created by an executive order, is charged with making recommendations to Congress on how to reduce the deficit.

In all, look for significant grand standing, finger-pointing and verbal sparring as the American people’s new “mandate” works itself out in the budgeting process.