Fed Cybersecurity Spending On The Rise

An increasing rate of cyberattacks and the growing complexity of critical IT infrastructure are driving the surge in federal cybersecurity spending.

The federal government plans to ramp up cybersecurity spending over the next several years, but deploying new technologies in this area could face some internal challenges, according to a new report by a market research firm.

Federal spending for cybersecurity will reach $10.5 billion by 2015, according to the report, The U.S. Federal Cybersecurity Market Forecast 2010-2015. That number represents an 11.3 percent share of all estimated federal spending in 2015, an increase from 10.5 percent in 2010.

Market Research Media, author of the report, attributed its predictions for an increase in spending to two major factors. One is the rise in number and severity of cyberattacks, while the other is the growing size, interconnectivity, and complexity of critical IT infrastructure.

Market Research Media provides consulting and research services for both the private and public sector. With the increased investment, the firm said that the federal government's total cumulative cybersecurity spending would be $55 billion between 2010 and 2015.

Despite the growth in spending, the federal government may run into some snags as it tries to implement new cybersecurity technologies, according to the report. Interagency turf wars, interoperability issues, and a shortage of qualified staff may all be stumbling blocks to actual implementations.

Not surprisingly, the report cites the Department of Homeland Security as one of the top agencies that is expected to spend federal money for cybersecurity. Indeed, national security -- the chief mission of the DHS -- will be the lead category of federal cybersecurity spending, according to the report.

The DHS named cybersecurity as one of its top priorities for the $900 million it plans to invest in technology in fiscal 2011, and has made cybersecurity a key part of its overall mission.

Other government agencies that will share the bulk of cybersecurity investment are Health and Human Services, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Justice, according to the report.

Following national security, mission area support, office automation and communications will be the main focus areas for cyber security investment.

Training personnel also will see a surge in investment -- an increase of 7.8 percent by 2015, according to the report. This could help alleviate some of the difficulties the government will have implementing cybersecurity technology.

Training also is a crucial area of expertise vendors looking to win federal awards for cybersecurity implementation should have, according to the report.

The vendors that do get government contracts likely will continue to be large firms, leaving smaller cybersecurity specialists out of the market. They will be able to reach the market only in partnership with major federal cybersecurity contractors, according to the report.

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About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer, journalist, and therapeutic writing mentor with more than 25 years of professional experience. Her areas of expertise include technology, business, and culture. Elizabeth previously lived and worked as a full-time journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City; she currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, hiking with her dogs, traveling, playing music, yoga, and cooking.

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