Civic News

What’s next in the govtech space? Look to data security, this Maryland exec says

Tim Odom, director at Silver Spring, Maryland-based testing and IT firm Vidoori, tells us what's next on the govtech scene.

The nation's capital.

(Photo via Pixabay, used under a Creative Commons license)

When it comes to data collection from the federal government, integration and testing firm Vidoori knows a thing or two.

The 150-person company based in Silver Spring, Maryland was founded in 2015 and got its big start working with none other than the 2020 Census, streamlining systems and testing in data collection. Now, the consulting firm primarily works in integration and testing services, software development and cybersecurity for the federal government.

A power client in the DC tech scene, the federal government has made many changes over the past year to bring its efforts forward, including appealing to young talent via WeWork. It coincides with an overall trend for modernization business development that Vidoori Director Tim Odom says he’s noticed in the federal government over the past few years, and one he expects to continue in 2022.

In particular, he said, modernization for government agencies has mostly looked to moving into the cloud. But he thinks they need to push further and consider what data actually should move to the cloud, how it needs to be protected and who can have access, and whether there needs to be an overall system upgrade to further protect it. (What specifically that data is depends on the agency.)

“Modernization has just come to this effort of ‘Let’s move to the cloud and we’re modernized,’ but that’s not really modernization,” Odom told Technical.ly. “I think what really needs to happen is getting a good grasp on what you’re actually doing … and understanding what those processes are.”

As this effort continues, he expects more government contracts anchored on a “sense of excellence” in 2022, alongside a secure move to the cloud. COVID, he thinks, has accelerated these efforts in the federal space, and modernization efforts only stand to grow in the new year.

Tim Odom. (Photo via LinkedIn)

“The more you can centralize how you’re operating, especially enterprise operations, it actually becomes a lot more cost-efficient for the government,” Odom said. “It also allows them to properly roll out innovation, so we expect to see a lot more centers of excellence and continued modernization.”

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With the increase in the amount of data and growth in how it’s being used in tech, Odom said he expects to see even more done with data in the near future. But with that growth, he predicts an ever-growing need for cybersecurity. Among government clients and others, cyber professionals are expecting a huge year for attacks.

One method, which Vidoori saw broached in its census work, is the potential for synthetic data use from the federal government. Synthetic data, which has many definitions and uses, is loosely a method for data measuring in which artificial intelligence and other technologies develop model data that closely resembles the real data to maintain privacy among citizens.

With this, he anticipates even more use in AI and machine learning methods, plus additional cybersecurity, as agencies look to collect more civilian data through mobile devices. Data security, specifically, is a space to watch in 2022.

“That’s going to be taken a lot more seriously and how that security takes place, how it’s set up, how it’s housed — all that’s going to be, I think, very important,” Odom said. “Down the line, agencies are going to give a lot more attention to it, especially those who are a bit resistant to move into that digital space, now they’re kind of forced to, so data security is going to become even more important.”

Companies: U.S. Government
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