DOD and IoT: 2 ways industry can help right now

Stephanie Meloni_65x85By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

If you’ve been attending industry events and keeping up with the news, you’ve surely been hearing buzz about the internet of things (IoT).

And if the DOD is part of your sales territory, you’re probably hearing how important it is to get IoT right, particularly when it comes to securing connected devices. But there hasn’t been a lot of action behind those words.

Many civilian agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce have already released strategic documents and plans for IoT, but the Department of Defense has yet to release an official strategy.

Even so, government customers across DOD are giving thought as to how to handle IoT, and in some ways, are already implementing projects. So how can technology companies get involved as this trend continues to pick up steam?

Here are two ways to help enable early IoT success:

  1. Enhanced data analytics

Right now, such a small percentage of DOD’s data is being used for actual analytics—I’ve heard it’s sometimes as low as one percent. The Air Force alone produces 2.5 quintillion bits of data each day—that’s an overwhelming amount of information to manage and be able to draw any meaningful conclusions from.

Emphasis on the importance of IoT continues to create opportunities for companies that specialize in data administration, analytics and visualization. The actual data management, clean up and tagging piece is what government customers will need help with initially. That will enable effective analytics down the line, allowing DOD to use an increased amount of data coming from sensors and other connected devices to enhance the warfighting mission, perform predictive maintenance and achieve cyber situational awareness.

  1. Cyber protections

Legacy systems continue to be a problem across DOD. The majority of the department’s IT dollars go toward sustainment of these systems, and now with IoT, DOD needs a way to build cyber visibility, intelligence and protections into these systems.

On the other end of the spectrum, many of the devices and sensors connected to the internet are not built to last and have no real way to be patched once a vulnerability is discovered. This has created an immense challenge for DOD, as it has limited visibility into all parts of the kill chain—it’s more than just an endpoint security issue.

DOD will need help performing audits to know what’s connected to the internet as a start, as well as configuration management solutions and systems engineering to help it build in security without creating additional attack vectors.

You can help DOD implement early successful IoT projects by staying close to customers whose missions have a play within IoT. Your customers may already be touching this technology in many ways and if you can help them define what the business or objective really is, you can help shape these opportunities and ensure the proper cyber requirements are being written into the RFP.

As you can see, there are many considerations government customers need to account for while getting IoT off the ground and they’ll appreciate an open dialogue with industry, particularly when it comes to written cyber requirements.

For additional insight into IoT and government, listen to one of the sessions from our Government IT Sales Summit on Uniting Cybersecurity, Mobility and the Internet of Things. For more guidance on selling IoT to government, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.  

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