Cybersecurity: Top Government Priority for 2011

According to an article in NextGov, cybersecurity will be a top government priority in 2011.  According to GOP aides, cybersecurity will be a strong focus, but it is unclear when legislation to update outdated cyberspace laws will be enacted.

Details may come out when Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee, speaks early in the next Congress.  According to the article, on Dec. 15, Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked Thornberry “to lead an initiative on cybersecurity that cuts across committee lines.”

From the article:

Jim Langevin, D-R.I., co-chairman of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, expressed disappointment when lawmakers removed the federal cyber provisions from the defense policy bill and said he will push for passage in 2011.

“Our government is under attack every single day in cyberspace, yet we lack the coordination and strategy to properly defend ourselves or operate efficiently online,” he said. “While there are many important provisions for the Department of Defense cyber efforts in this bill, the DoD already has the assets to begin addressing this crisis. The real challenges lie in securing our federal networks and developing a real comprehensive policy for addressing transnational threats as well as engaging international partners.”

For a list of top security threats being faced by the government, check out our prior post here.


New Telework Law May Mean Opportunity for Contractors

Today, President Obama signed into law a bill aimed at increasing the amount of telework in the federal government. Under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, federal agencies will have 180 days to:
1) establish a policy on working outside the office
2) identify eligible employees
3) inform them of the option to work from home.

The new law also requires agencies to appoint an internal official to manage telework initiatives, and incorporate the policy into the agency’s continuity of operations plans.

What does this mean for government contractors? While a full understanding of the law’s implications will take time to develop, the government’s reliance on technology will clearly increase–a potential opportunity for vendors. Telephone and video conferencing tools, collaboration applications, cloud computing, mobile applications, etc. will all find new homes within the federal government. And, while these technologies are currently alive and well in the commercial world, concerns around classified information, security breaches, etc. (more acute within the government), will create demand for new advances in cybersecurity, network monitoring, encryption, and the like. Innovative technology contractors able to respond to this upcoming shift in thinking just may find a lucrative market segment in government teleworking.