Cyber security is the first, second and third federal IT priority, and during National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), all eyes are focused on education and implementation of technology that will help agencies protect their data assets. We recently spoke with Larry Allen of Allen Federal Business Partners about cyber security and the federal government.
In addition to cyber being the top priority for federal agencies, Allen shared that the biggest trend he sees is the emphasis placed on individual responsibility, as awareness grows of the gaps in cyber at the desktop level. As a result, he says the focus that value-added resellers (VARs) must be able to do is educate their customers through training and emphasizing how to “goof proof” technology.
Allen also said that the benefit of having a new federal chief information security officer (CISO) to the VAR community is that retired Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill will set the priorities and tone for cyber security for the federal government. Allen hopes to see direction from Touhill about how government agencies engage with both traditional and non-traditional contractors to make sure agencies are making the best decisions about the most innovative technology offerings available.
“Agencies always need some leadership from the top to move in a cohesive manner,” Allen said. “[Federal Chief Information Officer] Tony Scott has talked about reducing timeline to implementing the greatest technologies, and Touhill’s job will be to speed up acquisition and implementation, along with eliminating duplication of efforts so agencies can begin to move together in an integrated and coordinated manner.”
As the federal government begins to make changes, Allen reminds VARs and Comstor partners there will continue to be a balancing act between trying to sell new equipment and ensuring that agencies have the best security for legacy systems. The appetite for new technology does not always match the budget available to an agency, he shared. “New solutions are obviously the best way to go because cyber is baked in today, but you have to be able to show how you can help them build cyber into a legacy system,” Allen said.
“Agencies are risk adverse, so you can always lead with the new, but you must realize that three-quarters of your IT sales will be in an existing category,” Allen said.
To hear the entire podcast, listen below.