Concerns about cybersecurity and the continued growth of as-a-service contracts will converge and change the way federal agencies assess IT vendors and integrators. Government organizations will analyze potential private-sector business partners more closely in the coming year, seeking assurance that vendors managing outsourced functions can ensure data security and deliver value in a shifting business environment.
Cybersecurity has been a focus for several years and remains a top priority whether an offering is a desktop application, wired solution or wireless option. Successful vendors will be able to demonstrate expertise in areas of interest to agencies, including 5G technology and wireless platforms.
At a time of intense concern around cybersecurity, compliance with prevailing IT security standards no longer is a competitive advantage in federal contracting; it’s a baseline requirement. Deploying a multi-location Wi-Fi solution on FedRAMP-compliant infrastructure, for example, requires specialized expertise. Similarly, agencies interested in using commercial networking applications in layered solutions to protect classified National Security Systems (NSS) can turn to partners with expertise (products and program support) in the government’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program.
Vendors must maintain security requirements at an agency level. Things like FedRAMP and Commercial Solutions for Classified Program (CSfC) continue to emerge, and vendors must be able to meet and maintain compliance to remain a provider to federal agencies.
When a federal government organization looks to outsource a data center, for example, there must be assurances that that facility and the data that's transmitted within that facility has the utmost level of security before moving to a systems integrator, multi-tenant or hyperscale operator. The agency must have confidence that whatever goes into the solution and whoever the vendor is and whoever the systems integrator is in that space that they're adhering to enhanced security requirements to offset the fact that the agency will no longer house data in their own facility.
Security concerns and geopolitical tensions have affected the supply chain that brings hardware and software to government networks. In November 2022, the Biden administration banned certain internationally manufactured network equipment whose products were determined to pose an unaccepted risk to U.S. national security.
In addition, provisions of the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act bans certain technology products produced overseas, including components of broadband technology. These changes come at a time where the administration is simultaneously focused on expanding broadband coverage to rural and underserved areas of the country.
In 2023, we are going to see a lot of focus on buying American with the Biden stimulus program. To participate in this business, organizations are going to have to find new ways to be compliant with the supply chain requirements that ensure alignment with national security requirements on technology products.
To help agencies maintain compliance with those requirements, industry partners are issuing BABA catalogs that list only BABA-compliant product sets. At the same time, vendors are trying to parse through the rules to understand nuances of compliance, such as requirements for software assembled in the U.S. from code written elsewhere. In the past there have been waivers for IT products available only from suppliers in China or India, but, at the moment, are not an option.
Another trend emerging for 2023 is how restrictions and other issues arising will affect another major initiative of government: using data to accelerate government efficiency and efficacy. Being able to capture, analyze, share, and act on data-derived business intelligence has real-world applications. Agencies could track consumption (of power, usage or occupancy); map cell-phone connections to accurately estimate how many people are on a train platform; and raise the level of situational awareness during an active shooter event in which timely responses are critical, to provide just some examples.
Data is a critical element for operational efficiency and effectivity. The ability to aggregate data and put it into a usable format allows you to improve processes, make better decisions, and reduce resources, such as lost time, energy, money, etc. is the whole idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart data.
Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. And the more IT evolves, the more it continues to rely on network infrastructure and components. In 2023, the nuts and bolts of networks will enable enterprises to work better and faster and more securely. Whether it's hard wired or wireless, we are the thing that connects every device and every IoT device, every Wi-Fi access point, every outlet, every rack in the data center. We're providing solutions that enable our partners to deliver the newest applications and strongest experience to their customers.