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“Security is the foundation of everything you do,” said Nick Michaelides, Vice President of Federal Sales for Cisco, at the recent  Comstor Executive Federal Summit, “and is elemental in every discussion of modernization today.” Michaelides and Mike Younkers, Senior Director of Systems Engineering at Cisco Federal, outlined the five pillars of modernization that are influencing government spending. They noted that, while government is the largest consumer of IT in the world, it often falls behind both consumer and private-sector modernization. “We’ve got to modernize our government,” said Michaelides.

VARs striving for a successful buying season, would be wise to focus on technology that falls into the five pillars of modernization as described below:

Reinvent the network. “The networks of the past cannot support the scale, pace, and environment we live in today,” explained Michaelides. These legacy networks weren’t built for scaled complexity or connectivity. New, software-defined networks drive innovation and services by allowing for easy automation and consistency.

Security is foundational. Cisco has a team of more than 5,000 security professionals that have worked to build self-defending networks that use threat and intelligence research to detect and combat threats. Younkers explained that the war on cyber is like the cold war – attacks are everywhere, they just aren’t visible.

Power of a multi-cloud world. It is estimated that 97% of organizations are deploying multiple clouds. Private sector customers are going this route, as should the government. Multi-cloud environments deliver consistency, security, and speed.

Data solutions. “Unlock data to unlock solutions,” said Michaelides. With machine learning and artificial intelligence, the government can analyze data in ways that weren’t possible before to improve upon its goals for mission success.

Create a meaningful experience. “We as a community need to continue to make experiences that are meaningful to our customers,” explained Michaelides. Collaboration, products, and partnerships are just a few ways VARs can work to do this.

These five pillars of modernization are influencing government spending — and are important factors in how VARs can prepare for federal buying season.

Interested in learning more about this year’s buying season? Stayed tuned to EDGE360 for ongoing government spending outlooks and VAR best practices.