The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has recently released its “State CIO Top Ten Policy and Technology Priorities for 2024.” This follows their publication of the 2023 edition, which underlined the importance of securing applications and APIs in complex environments. The new list sees a reshuffling of priorities, with some notable changes that reflect the evolution of technology in the public sector.
One of the key changes in the 2024 priorities is the shifting of Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Cloud Services from the fifth and sixth spots to eight and nine respectively. While this might seem like a downgrade, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these technologies are less important. Rather, it could indicate that they have become deeply integrated into the existing infrastructure, forming a vital part of higher priority areas such as Cybersecurity and Risk Management, Digital Government/Digital Services, and Legacy Modernization.
Cybersecurity and Risk Management remain at the top of the list, but Digital Government/Digital Services have moved up to join them. This reflects the increasing complexity and distribution of infrastructure in state and local governments. With the growing demand for digital services from tech-savvy constituents, there is a need to balance innovation with security. The rise of attacks against applications and APIs due to the pressure to innovate highlights the critical importance of addressing security vulnerabilities in these areas.
Another notable change is the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the third priority, marking a significant debut. AI has implications for both attackers and defenders, with the potential to enhance the sophistication and speed of cyber threats while also providing opportunities for improved detection and mitigation capabilities. State and local governments must develop an AI strategy to defend against AI-based attacks and leverage AI internally to address security challenges.
Legacy Modernization retains its position as the fourth priority, emphasizing the strategic migration of applications and APIs to optimal environments. The complexity of managing and securing diverse environments, whether on-premises, public cloud, or private cloud/data center, underscores the ongoing importance of modernization efforts in the public sector.
Overall, the key theme that emerges from the NASCIO top 10 priorities for 2024 is the central role of applications and APIs in the modernization of state and local government infrastructure and services. The evolving technological landscape demands a comprehensive approach to managing and securing these assets, and the priorities reflect the need for government agencies to adapt to the changing environment. As applications and APIs continue to play a critical role in delivering essential services, addressing security challenges associated with these technologies remains a top priority for state and local governments.