While gathering information for our 2014 Keating Report on government budgets and spending, we checked in with Bill Cull, Vice President of Public Sector, at San Francisco–based Splunk. We wanted to find out about trends in the government IT marketplace. Splunk serves a variety of public sector clients, including federal agencies and state and local governments.

Here are the views of Bill Cull.

GPN: What is happening on the public sector IT front in 2014?

Bill Cull: In 2014, state and local governments will take a look at big data beyond a single application. Last year, state and local governments were testing out big data technologies for a single use case, like cybersecurity, IT operations or citizen service. A lot of these deployments have been successful and IT managers are now looking to increase investments in big data solutions across the agency. Even though budgets are tight, the ROI on these investments has proven to be high.

GPN: It sounds like exploiting big data is a priority in government.

BC: In 2014, I expect that more people will realize the benefits and ROI associated with big data initiatives, and further investment in the understanding of data will be imperative as we strive for a more efficient government. I expect that President Obama’s Big Data Research and Development Initiative, that announced that agencies will invest $200 million in big data projects, will likely grow over time. The initiative will grow due to the productivity and cost savings that agencies experience by leveraging the value of data.

GPN: Are government IT managers facing threats to system security?

BC: The idea that all data is security-relevant continues to spread through government. We expect that most agencies will continue to invest in cyber defense in 2014 to protect all data. Insider threats will continue to be a prominent issue within cyber, and agencies will need to implement technology to better detect these threats in a timely manner. 

To ensure cybersecurity in 2014, government IT personnel need to be prepared for more advanced cyber threats as well as insider threats. Especially for state agencies that are oftentimes responsible for critical infrastructure operations within their regions, like departments of transportation, the ability to have full visibility across their IT environments will be paramount. These personnel should be well-equipped to analyze the data within their networks, servers, e-mail and devices, so that they can uncover cyber vulnerabilities before they become full-blown threats.

GPN: Are government IT departments continuing to restructure in 2014?

BC: Agencies will continue to operate in a “doing more with less” mentality, and we expect IT consolidation to be top of mind for all IT managers within government. When investing in new technologies, agencies will likely review their current IT environment and work to consolidate what they currently have before investing in new technologies.

Splunk provides a software platform for real-time operational intelligence. The platform is called Splunk Enterprise. The company’s software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. More than 6,400 enterprises, government agencies, universities and service providers in 90 countries use Splunk software to deepen business and customer understanding, mitigate cybersecurity risk, prevent fraud, improve service performance and reduce cost.

This video shows how Splunk Enterprise 6 makes machine data accessible and usable. The software offers a secure way to analyze the massive streams of machine data generated by agency IT systems and technology infrastructure. The product works with data that is in the cloud or that is on physical or virtual systems.

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