Research company Gartner predicts there will be 6.8 billion connected devices in use in 2016, a 30 percent increase over 2015. By 2020, that number will jump to more than 20 billion connected devices, predicts Gartner. In other words, for every human being on the planet, there will be between two and three connected devices.

Every minute, nearly half a million cyber attack attempts are happening in cyberspace, creating some big headaches for Federal IT employees working to stop imminent threats. Along with these cyber attacks the government has other concerns on their plate to deal with in 2016.

Here are the top IT concerns the Federal Government CIO is facing this year.

1. Preventing Cybercrime

According to Iron Bow Technology, since 2006, over 87 million sensitive or private records have been exposed through breaches of federal networks. Many breaches were credited to experienced hackers, but most of the issues stemmed from negligent employees who failed to take precautions while using government networks. To combat cybersecurity threats, the U.S. Government plans to spend over $65 billion on cybersecurity contracts between 2015 and 2020.

2. Finding the Right Cloud Solution

The government has been aggressively transitioning to cloud computing, but does not rely on the same cloud models that host consumer applications such as Netflix or Instagram. The government operates in private cloud environments that are more reliable for heavier mission workloads. In 2015, U.S. Government spent nearly $2 billion on cloud services.

3. Implementing Advanced Authentication

In 2016, 69 percent of government agencies will utilize advanced authentication (e.g. multi-factory, biometrics, smartphone tokens).


4. Replacing Retiring Employees

With one in four government employees currently eligible for retirement, the CIO has to find suitably skilled workers to fill this void. This creates the potential for chaos and stress as new employees have to be interviewed, vetted, and trained above and beyond normal employee turnover.

5. Using Social Media Correctly

The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) engaged in “covert propaganda” in 2015. Federal law was violated when social media was used to encourage the public to back an Obama administration law intended to increasingly protect the nation’s streams and surface waters. Federal IT will need to implement procedures to ensure that government agencies don’t misuse social media channels.

6. Incorporating Consumer Devices

57 percent of IT executives named mobile clients and unmanaged devices as their top security challenges.

7. Preventing DDOS Attacks 

DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, which flood a network with requests and cause it to crash, are one of the easiest ways to cripple an organization’s IT network. The Department of Homeland Security is searching for ways to prevent these attacks.