Although governments face an array of IT challenges, two weigh heavily on the minds of several IT leaders: security and cloud computing.
“My biggest fear has been security. We’ve seen a few states have breaches and we’ve seen the private sector have many breaches,” said North Dakota CIO Mike Ressler. “It’s not if you get breached; it’s when you’re breached.” Speaking in a panel discussion at the National Association of State Telecom Directors annual conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Ressler said the attention his state has received for its Bakken Oil Field riches make it a target for hackers.
Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron’s long-term focus is on what he dubs the SMAC stack — security, mobile, analytics and cloud. The state is in the early stages of a cloud email implementation.
Pennsylvania will be deploying Microsoft Office 365 and is embarking on an enormous initiative to consolidate data centers and outsource its infrastructure to the cloud. One challenge that state CIO Tony Encinias encountered in moving to the cloud is a lengthy procurement process that hampers innovation.
For example, it took three years from the time Pennsylvania submitted a Request for Information for infrastructure-as-a-service to time the state signed a contract. “That’s too long,” Encinias said. “IT changes very, very quickly and the procurement process doesn’t match up with that.”
For North Dakota, Ressler expects cloud computing will change the way the state does business. “The cloud is here to stay but we always thought we would be one of the late adopters,” he said. “But many solutions aren’t offering an on-premises option so that’s forcing us to go to the cloud perhaps a little faster.”