Cyber, funding and Trump spell uncertainty for state and local IT
- By Matt Leonard
- Jan 13, 2017
Cybersecurity tops the list of this year’s priorities for state and local tech execs, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the Public Technology Institute.
It “remains top of mind for our state CIOs,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said. This was the fourth year in a row that security led NASCIO’s top 10 priority list.
Many states' IT departments will have to tackle issues like cybersecurity, legacy modernization and data management with smaller budgets, Robinson told listeners of a Jan. 12 webinar entitled, “Technology Forecast 2017: What State and Local Government Technology Officials Can Expect.”
He pointed to NASCIO’s 2016 report that highlighted states' cybersecurity progress. The study found that cybersecurity has become more integrated with general government operations and that there is more cross-agency collaboration, he said. More states are also obtaining cybersecurity insurance, he said.
PTI Executive Director Alan Shark, meanwhile, provided a list of issues either gaining or losing traction in local government. Cybersecurity as a concern is “out,” for example, but cybersecurity as a crisis is “in.” This year, Shark said, apprehension about autonomous cars will outweigh past concerns related ride-hailing apps. Government apps are in; government websites -- not so much.
Budget issues will continue to dog IT agencies at all levels of government. With revenue growth only at about 2 percent, Robinson said state CIOs should “expect 2017 to be a little bit more austere.” They will likely be forced to find cost savings, he said, perhaps by switching to the cloud or adopting a managed services model.
One technology position that Robinson expects to grow in the coming year is that of chief data officer. Currently, only one third of states have a CDO, but Robinson said an increase is expected.
Both presenters were asked about the possible impact that President-elect Donald Trump could have on state and local government IT.
The incoming president will likely approve of more outsourcing and privatization, which Robinson said has already begun on the state level, according to a 2016 NASCIO report.
He said he also sees the potential for technology projects to find funding thanks to Trump’s focus on infrastructure. “Our position there would be that digital infrastructure should be included in those conversations,” Robinson said.
Robinson said NASCIO’s board has approved a transition document for the incoming administration, and the organization will be releasing its advocacy priorities for 2017 on Jan. 18.
Shark said that while “it is early,” the way the federal government provides funds to states is one thing to keep an eye on. Trump has mentioned using block grants for funding Medicaid in states. “If we go back to more block grants, that is going to require states to have to build their capacity to execute that, and to some extent that may affect everyone up and down the line,” he said.
States could also be affected by any changes to the net neutrality rulings by the Federal Communication Commission, Shark said, but he didn’t expand on how.
“We’re going to meetings like everyone else,” he said. “Everyone is just listening and waiting for something that they can act on.”
Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.
Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.
Leonard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.
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