Alan Lightman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently wrote, “The music of all time is a duet between order and disorder.” I suspect most would agree.
I spent this past week in Europe, where the Brexit question, since the UK held a vote on the issue, continues on its winding path, showing more disorder than order.
The technology sector is an agent of order to counter the disorder of Brexit. Technology remains a driver of economic prosperity and innovation around the world, as well as an enabler of social change, and brings peoples together. It has a long-term role to play in areas including data handling, border management, policing and intelligence sharing.
As for the UK, the government has maintained that Brexit will not cause cuts in technology spending, which would be a very important and positive step. It means that important research will continue at facilities developed to foster the growth of technology businesses, with the UK continuing to flourish as a leading innovator.
Despite the continuing uncertainty, governments around the world are leveraging technology to provide new and better services to their constituents as never before.
Bloomberg Government reports that U.S. federal agencies are likely to spend more on unclassified IT products and services in fiscal 2019 than they ever have done. That equates to nearly $70 billion in spending, which would result in the sixth consecutive year of growth. GovTech says that U.S. state IT spending will reach $54.5 billion this year, up from $51.4 billion last year. And it expects IT spending by local governments in the U.S. to exceed $53 billion this year, up from $51.6 billion in 2018. These are modest – but positive – changes.
Similarly, IDC expects government IT spending in Western Europe to reach $47.7 billion by 2020, up from $46.4 billion in 2015. And Technavio notes that the Australian government is making a massive investment in technology to improve ICT infrastructure and government operations. Of course, it is the not the amount of funds expended, but the effectiveness of the spending, that will get us to more secure environments.
Government entities are delivering not just technology – but secure technology.
Take SSC DeSom, with which Unisys announced a successful deployment last week. An IT partnership among six local governments in the Netherlands. SSC DeSom is using Unisys Stealth® – our microsegmentation security software – at 30 locations to protect citizen data, secure critical IT infrastructure and comply with regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As a result, SSC DeSom can manage the IT operations of all its partners via a single environment, eliminating the need to manage multiple firewalls. And it can isolate devices and users at the first sign of a cybersecurity threat by reducing the attack surface – meaning that even if an attacker gets inside the network, they cannot move laterally across the segments of the network protected by Stealth™. In fact, the attacker can’t even see that those Stealth-protected endpoints exist.
These types of engagements highlight the growing importance of security to governments and their constituents around the world.
My next international trip is to Asia Pacific. Nowhere among the 13 countries in the 2019 Unisys Security Index™ did citizens register more concern than they did in the Philippines, where we announced the 2019 index results earlier this month (thus closing out the country-specific announcements for this year). In a warning to Philippine businesses and government agencies, the new research found that data security dominates consumer concerns – and that many Filipinos actively respond after a data breach by closing accounts, taking legal action and using social media to expose the issue.
The people are speaking across oceans, across languages, across borders. They want more order. Secure technology is helping the cause.