The days of dreadful long lines at crowded and inefficient government agencies may be coming to an end. Digitalization of services and adoption of new platforms are reinventing government services and public administration. From smart cities and digital IDs to open government and better governance, the Cloud, Big Data, IoT and Artificial Intelligence have enabled a wide range of digital government initiatives.
Big transformation of big government
Widely derided as the consummate example of inefficiency, government agencies around the world are transforming their services and ultimately its perception by the public with the adoption of new technology and platforms.
Spending in Big Data for example, which could lead to better governance and better decisions, is increasing around the world, in 2020 alone Big Data spending grew by 40% across federal agencies in the United States.
Cloud adoption, essential for convenient services and efficient collaboration, is widespread and growing fast. In the 2022 Thales Data Threat Report 451 Research found that 39% of US federal agencies use 50 or more SaaS applications, and 83% store more than 30% of all their data in the cloud.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, important technologies for the roll out of “Smart Cities” are a priority for most government CIOs. Gartner reported that 36% plan to increase spending on AI and machine learning, and 85% want to implement data-mining supported by machine learning until 2024.
Transformation goes on overdrive with COVID-19
The adoption of new technologies and platforms moved into high gear during the COVID-19 pandemic across all industries, and that was especially true in government. For example, 91% of government agency officials in the United States said they were “innovating with urgency” after the pandemic.
Government agencies around the world achieved unheard-of parity with the private sector when speaking about remote work. Enabling public employees to telecommute was a priority for 136 countries that were able to act swiftly by making work rules more flexible and implementing technological upgrades.
Governments also leveraged technology to deal with the effects of the pandemic. For example, robotic process automation was used by one OECD country to process 96% of all COVID-19 related unemployment claims, with each claim being processed in 36 seconds instead of 20 minutes in the previous manual process.
The escalating risk of cyber threat
The digitalization of government services and processes make the growing incidence of cyber-attacks a clear and present danger for agencies. The number of cyber incidents at government agencies around the world reached 3,236 in 2020, and of these 885 were confirmed data breaches that impacted federal, state, or local agencies, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.
An increase in the volume, severity and scope of cyberattacks was reported by 47% of government respondents of the 2022 Thales Data Threat Report , and ransomware was one of the biggest areas of growth. Ransomware attacks struck 246 federal, state and local agencies in the United States in the last 3 years and are estimated to have impacted 173 million people.
Government regulates government
The growth of cyber incidents at government agencies and critical infrastructure has led to unprecedented executive and legislative action:
The Executive Order to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and protect federal government networks signed by President Biden in 2021, helps move the US federal government to secure cloud services and a zero-trust architecture, and mandates deployment of multi-factor authentication and encryption.
White the White House order may be the most famous, it is not alone. The European Union's Cybersecurity Act passed in 2019 gives ENISA, the EU Agency for Network and Information Security, a permanent mandate. It also established a European cyber security certification framework for information and communications technology products and services.
The convergence of existing privacy, sovereignty, and data protection regulations, such as GDPR and PCI-DSS; federal standards, such as fedRAMP and FIPS; and global standards, such as ISO 27001, agencies are faced with an all-encompassing set of rules and standards that make compliance much more complex and challenging.
How to Accelerate Government Transformation by Reducing Risk, Complexity, and Cost
Download our latest eBook How to Accelerate Government Transformation by Reducing Risk, Complexity, and Cost, where we describe how Thales can help government agencies reduce risk of cyberattacks and the complexity and cost of cyber security, while continuing to adopt innovations such as cloud, big data, AI, and IoT.