How to get a piece of the $7B IoT market

Lloyd McCoy Jr.summit-iot

By Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager

Government adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a pipe dream. Approximately $7 billion is being spent annually on related hardware and software, according to a session at immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit.

As public sector adoption grows, so too is the often overlooked need to ensure the technology is managed effectively, said speakers on the Uniting Cybersecurity, Mobility and the Internet of Things panel. Industry needs to come to government with a plan on how an entire lifecycle process needs to be put in place so that security, reliability and usability are maintained.

The panel also repeated an often-heard refrain that vendors should develop capabilities with security baked in and not sprinkled on. Companies selling solutions in the government will have a leg up if they can show what scenarios were considered and what secure processes and procedures were used to develop that tool.

Some of the panelists, which included a mix of government and industry experts, downplayed the threat posed to the government by the recent, widespread attack using everyday devices. Government already has good IP-based security even for those agencies with a lot of room for improvement in cybersecurity practices.

Where the government is significantly more vulnerable is with hardware and firmware, where standards and security policies are still immature. The panel recommended that industry be incentivized to put the appropriate security controls in their solutions, effectively tying dollars to strong firmware and hardware security.

The panel also believed that government/industry partnerships on developing and refining the appropriate IoT standards and regulations will force industry to adopt those same standards for all products, including those sold to the private sector.

Cyber attacks against the government typically happen in environments lacking strong cyber hygiene. This problem will only be made worse by the threat vectors posed by proliferating sensors and connected devices. It’s much easier to change vulnerabilities in the cloud than it would be for these traditional siloes to be fixed individually. The panel expected more shared hosting services across government agencies in the coming years to take advantage of this resiliency.

While much of the IoT conversation centers on risk management and security, one key takeaway is that government adoption of IoT is also tightly interlocked with mobility, analytics and cloud. Government and industry are grappling with challenges related to accessing data from the cloud, employing machine learning and analytics and effectively leveraging mobile devices for active alerting and identification.

It’s clear that government and industry need to work hand in hand on IoT standards and policies. This is a tall order given that the pace of technology will never be this slow again.

To learn more about IoT initiatives coming out of government this year, reach out to your immixGroup account team and ask about engaging with our Market Intelligence organization.

About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the Department of Defense Consultant on the Market Intelligence team. Prior to working for immixGroup, he worked in the public sector as a senior analyst with the Defense Department. Lloyd primarily monitors and analyzes issues relating to the Navy/Marine Corps, Defense Health Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency

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