'02 in review: what GCN's readers thought

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David McClure

Variety was certainly the spice of the GCN Reader Survey in 2002.

This year, we looked at a piquantly mixed bag of trends and products in government computing, ranging from Web use and wireless trends to handheld PCs and LCD monitors.

In 2002, for the first time, we surveyed managers about trends they see in Internet use.

For most, the Internet is now an indispensable tool, especially for research and reference. More than half (51 percent) of those we polled logged on to the Web at least 10 times a day for a work-related purpose and another 32 percent used it at least five times a day.

Although 66 percent cruised the Web less than an hour a day for personal use, there's still a constant 'temptation to use it at work' for personal business, an IRS computer specialist in West Virginia said.

Another survey about Internet practices found that 68 percent of managers use individual agency sites to search for government information and services, and 54 percent use commercial search engines for that purpose.

Only a third said they use the General Services Administration's FirstGov portal to find government info.

Yahoo and Google were by far the most widely used search engines, the survey showed.

Managers also go for online shopping in a big way. Nearly all (96 percent) of the participants in a survey on electronic procurement said they buy IT products from the Web. Moreover, 40 percent said they do at least half of their IT buying online.

Office suites and desktop PCs were the software and hardware items most frequently purchased online, according to the poll.

GSA Advantage was used by 60 percent of those surveyed.

Weighing other procurement trends, another survey revealed that user upgrades will be the top driver of government IT spending in 2003.

Network upgrades and security enhancements were also high on agencies' procurement lists.
A survey on security trends assessed the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, and found that the attacks had altered IT security concerns and strategies.

For example, 66 percent of managers surveyed said their agencies had tightened access to systems since Sept. 11, and 45 percent had taken some data offline as a security precaution.

Malicious code and hackers represented the most serious threats to systems. But only 56 percent said their agencies conduct vulnerability tests at regular intervals.

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