2010 and Beyond: Opportunity in the age of austerity

Tuesday - 12/21/2010, 7:25pm EST

Molly O'Neill, former CIO, EPA

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2010 has been the year of the deficit, a year when you have probably heard the phrase, "Do more with less."

But the age of austerity is also the age of opportunity, said Molly O'Neill, former CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

"It's opportunity for transformation. Let's think differently about things we need to do differently and utilize what's out there in order to reach those goals. It's THE time to think about it," said O'Neill, now the president of CGI Federal.

Technology has allowed agencies to work with more efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Particularly, mobile technology, like laptops and smartphones, have proven useful both in emergency situations and everyday work, O'Neill said.

These devices can "actually transform our work lives," she said.

The age of austerity has driven efforts to move to cloud computing and data center consolidation, both big IT stories this year, O'Neill said.

"The government was just in growth, growth ,growth mode for a long time, putting more applications, more infrastructure in place," she said. "Sometimes you have to take a step back and say, OK, now how do we optimize what we have and be much more efficient at that?"

That means IT security will continue to be a "continual problem" for government. But O'Neill argued that the problem agencies face is not only technical but also behavioral, especially in light of WikiLeaks. Agencies will have rethink how they monitor employees' activities, use of non-governmental networks and the effect of putting data out.

"You want to be progressive but you also don't want to be the reason, the cause or enabler when bad people get in touch with things they shouldn't have," O'Neill said.

Click here to see all the stories in the '2010 and Beyond' series.