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Nextgov: Agencies Work to Embrace—and Secure—the Internet of Things

Inside officials shared their lessons learned and concerns around the evolving connectivity.

by Brandi Vincent

More than 40 billion devices are expected to operate across the internet of things by 2025, clearing the way for next-generation networks and connectivity—and creating a complex threat landscape. As agencies integrate and deploy new IoT machines, sensors, cameras and devices, insiders consider securing the evolving infrastructure a top priority.

“So, it’s cool that we are going to have solar panels. It’s cool that we are going to have wind turbines and it’s cool that I have a Nest system in my house. … And it’s great that I have an [electric vehicle] car that has to charge,” Karen Evans, assistant secretary of the Energy Department’s office of cybersecurity, energy security, and emergency response, or CESER, said. “But each one of those ends up becoming a new attack vector into the grid—that’s what we are focused on and that’s what we are looking at.”

Previously Energy’s chief information officer, Evans also served as a top IT executive at the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, in a role now known as the federal CIO. She’s the first to lead the new CESER office Secretary Rick Perry established in Feb. 2018. Speaking at World Wide Technology’s IoT Industry Day Thursday, Evans said CESER’s ultimate aim is to protect American energy viability today, while proactively addressing emerging energy threats of the future.

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