Last week, Dell released the results of its 2016 online survey of the state of IT trends in the federal government. The survey’s 100 participants were IT decision-makers and Business Decision Makers, and it was part of a larger international report on Global IT decision making in the public and private sector. The survey found that federal agencies are still largely reticent to use cloud-based storage processes. Other key programs for infrastructure systems and file storage were often reported to be outdated as well.
Nearly half of respondents reported that their agencies used Java or Java Script, and almost a third said their agencies used the SQL programming language; use of “legacy systems” run on older programming languages can pose a challenge to free and open competition in government contracting, because limited support is available for them as new languages are developed, widely used in the private sector, and supported by more contractors. Over half of agencies still use software or operating systems that are no longer supported by the vendor; 7 of 10 respondents stated that their agency was currently running “important applications” on outdated servers with older operating systems, most frequently Windows 7 and 8.
Forty-two percent of respondents were concerned with cyber-security issues as a result of the legacy systems their agencies used, and almost half stated that IT infrastructure systems needed modernization or replacement. 39% of respondents opined that their agencies should update the file storage and collaboration systems currently being used, and 28% said that their project management systems needed to be refreshed.
With regard to hardware, most respondents (more than two-thirds) stated that the oldest pieces of equipment in use at their agencies were desktops, servers and network routers. 49% of respondents also stated that laptops and printers in use at their agencies needed a refresh, and 47% said that their firewalls were outdated—reinforcing the concern about cyber incidents.
The consistent challenge for the federal contracting community is to allow acquisition of IT systems and equipment that are up to date, affordable, and able to withstand the ever-increasing threats to data and information security, within the bounds of existing acquisition regulations.
Carrie Willett is responsible for the contents of this Short Take.
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