Integrated IT network in new agency worth expense

The benefits of creating an integrated homeland security network will far outweigh the costs, technology industry representatives said on Thursday.

Getting an integrated IT network up and running will be expensive, according to Christopher Baum, vice president and research area director for Gartner Research, an information technology consulting company. But once an integrated system is developed and implemented, it will actually help reduce IT costs, he said at a forum on technology's role in homeland security.

For instance, an integrated network would allow the department's 120,000 employees to communicate over long distances without having to set up face-to-face meetings. This would reduce travel expenses, save employees time and allow workers to escape the risks inherent in travel.

An integrated system would also be more efficient because it combines the networks of 22 agencies that currently operate "as isolated silos, with little capability to communicate outside the organization and its constituent population," allowing them to share resources, according a report published by Aspect Communications, the technology provider that hosted the forum.

Security is more of an issue than cost in the long run, Baum said. He pointed to the inherent conflict between the government's need to provide citizens and its employees with access to as much information as possible, and the homeland security department's need to keep some information secure and hidden from potential terrorists or other people who might exploit it.

"What is needed is the appropriate balance and the appropriate tools so that the good guys can find the bad guys and stop them in time," Baum said.

Biometric or other rigorous checks would be necessary to make sure that only authorized users had access to information on the network. An integrated IT network in the Homeland Security Department would also need to include systems such as firewalls to detect threats, a system to help determine the nature of the threat, a way to notify users that a security breach exists and the technology to contain any cyberattack.

The system will also need a proactive method of monitoring potential threats and preventing them before they take place, the Aspect report added.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.