Here’s what you’ll get out of this year’s Summit sessions

government, sales, ITBy Rita Walston, senior director of marketing

This year’s Government IT Sales Summit will be a full day of rich, actionable content on Nov. 16. We’ll cover everything from how the public sector is spending IT dollars in FY18 to the latest trends in cloud, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. What makes this content come alive is our speakers, who hail from private industry and government.

We recently spoke to a few of them about their sessions. Here’s a teaser of what you’ll hear:

Session: How and When to Target Marketing for Value and Results
When: 10:05 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.

There’s no question that the role of the public sector marketer is changing, so this session will explore how the industry can navigate the terrain. A big trend already taking shape is agency-based marketing during the procurement process, says Lou Anne Brossman, founder and president of Government Marketing University and this session’s moderator.

At the point that an agency puts out a request for information (RFI), marketers should start targeting their marketing to that specific agency. That way the agency is familiar with their company and products before the request for proposal (RFP) is released.

Another discussion topic Brossman is hoping to address is the fact that procurement officers want companies to ask them more questions during the procurement cycle. Most agencies have an industry liaison and many hold Industry Day events. “Marketers should go to Industry Day events,” she adds. “They’re not typically on the radar of a marketer but they should be.”

Session: Selling Cyber—Helping Agencies Implement What They Need Most
When: 1:15 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.

“Government has it all wrong when it comes to combatting cyber bad actors. Agencies need to focus on technical fundamentals and restructure their IT environments based on a no-trust architecture,” says Henry Sienkiewicz, a former executive at the Defense Information Systems Agency, and this session’s moderator. He also wrote the book, “The Art of Cyber Conflict.”

Agencies need to build defense-in-depth with layered firewalls, detection and prevention systems, built-in and easily used encryption, multi-factor authentication and whitelisting. “They have to recognize that this is a hostile environment,” he adds.

So how will cybersecurity evolve? It will get easier and tougher, Sienkiewicz says. Vendors need to produce better software that has gone through robust integrity checks, ensuring that their DevOps incorporates best security practices even in an agile, CIDC framework. And organizations need to deploy more secure networks and force their vendors to provide more secure networks. “It’s the networks that are the transmission agents for these threats,” he adds.

Session: Advancing Cloud Opportunities for Agency Transformation
When: 2:25 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Cloud adoption in government has been slow when compared to the commercial sector. So why is that? Government contracting is a fairly slow process and it takes time to plan serious migrations, says Michael Daconta, VP of advanced technology for InCadence Strategic Solutions. Another challenge is that some applications are old and aren’t able to make the move to the cloud, adds Daconta, who will moderate this session. And some government agencies don’t have the technical expertise to lead the migration.

“You have some agencies and departments that get the cloud, they understand what it can do and so they see how they can leverage the cloud to cut costs and increase effectiveness,” says Daconta, who wrote “The Great Cloud Migration.” “For some organizations, the IT staff is overwhelmed and they’re not up on the latest cloud computing technologies so they’re going to hang back.”

So what should the private sector do to help accelerate adoption? For one, vendors need to work with government customers to make cloud migration as seamless as possible. Software providers should make sure their software can run in a cloud environment, says session participant, George Kamis, chief technology officer of global governments at Forcepoint. “If technology companies don’t transition to a cloud-based offering, they could possibly be left behind completely or miss a sizeable part of the market.”

Session: Expanding Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
When: 2:25 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning could have the potential to bring profound change to how humans perform certain tasks. But not all tasks, says Ron Gula, president of Gula Tech Adventures and a participant in this session.

He says AI and ML will not and should not be thought of as solutions for stopping cyberattacks and breaches. Gula, who previously ran Tenable and has since launched his own venture capital firm with his wife, says it’s great that AI and ML make it easy for people to make sense of what’s going on, but these technologies should not be a substitute for managed security or an experienced analyst.

“A bad actor can feed the AI or ML bad information and turn it against you,” he adds.

If you haven’t yet registered for the 4th annual Government IT Sales Summit on Nov. 16, click here. There’s still time but online registration will close at 5 p.m. ET today.

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