Solving Network Visibility Problems for Government: Q&A with Norseman
Ixia partners with the best. Norseman Defense Technologies, an Information Technology provider and Systems Integrator being one of them. Norseman has been key in solving real customer problems in the areas of DevOps, Cloud Migration, Cyber Security, Enterprise Data Management, and Data Analytics for federal customers. We were keen to learn more about the trends in the federal space and we knew who to talk to: Toby Groff, President and CEO, Norseman. We met with Toby to gather insights about federal spending for agencies, key concerns and outlook, and how they’re looking to address them.
- What trends do you see in how the US Government is investing in IT?
We see a wide variety of IT Investments coming from the US Government in the next several years. However, for our business, we solve customer issues in the security and data migration areas, and we are staffing and working with partners that provide solutions that support this effort.
The new administration is clearly making a massive push to ensure the nation’s Cyber Security posture is dramatically enhanced and upgraded. New tool sets and upgraded security solutions will help with the big concern for moving data securely between data centers, public and private clouds, and most importantly between branches of government. In the Department of Defense and Intelligence areas, we believe programs like JIE (Joint Information Environment), and more specifically JRSS (Joint Regional Security Stack) are the first steps in solving a much larger issue of securely sharing data.
- What is your perspective on current and emerging Federal spending guidelines?
The FY17 budget has been approved and there are several items that indicate where funding priorities will lie. The addition of funds to the Department of Defense (roughly $21B) is a good first step at reversing the damage done by Sequestration. However, as an Information Technology provider to the US Government, these straight line increases to a DOD centric budget don’t always have a linear relationship to increased IT Sales.
When the Government dramatically increases the amount of funds, they do tend to buy large bulk items that frankly we don’t provide (planes, tanks, bombs and ships). This eventually does lead to the requirement for additional Information Technology equipment over time, but it is rarely a short term windfall. In reality, leaner budgets can lead to agency streamlining as well as the increased use of Information Technology to provide services and capabilities that expensive personnel used to provide.
We do expect the budgets for Intelligence and Department of Defense agencies to increase over the next several years, while Civilian agency budgets will be dramatically reduced. This is not to say there isn’t business opportunity in Civilian agencies. In fact, we anticipate that Civilian agencies will need to find innovative ways to support their missions using Information Technology rather than personnel.
- What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the last few years?
If we are discussing Federal Market changes, then the changes are quite frankly endless. The most important change though, is the difficulty for US Federal Agencies to actually get product and services ordered in a timely fashion through the acquisition cycle.
The amount of regulation surrounding procurements has made it incredibly difficult for contracting officers to get items procured. Even when the contractual process is completed, obtaining sign off from senior leadership (some of whom have not been appointed in the new administration) is taking longer and longer. These delays lead to increased order issues (outdated products, outdated pricing, mission changes, etc…), resulting in the Government IT Teams playing catch up.
Finally, the introduction of Public and Private Cloud options over the last several years has dramatically changed. Many times for the better, I would say, as to how information technology is deployed throughout the US Government. The Government is looking for a fast way to procure equipment needed, and for some agencies, a Cloud model can dramatically help.
- Who are some of the dominant OEM’s you are selling and why?
We primarily focus on the Cyber Security, and Information Security marketplace within the US Federal Government. We need to make sure we provide the right equipment that helps the Government securely move and store data.
Partners that provide Analytics (Splunk and Elastic), Network Monitoring and Visibility (Ixia, Gigamon, RedSeal and Forescout), Identity Management (lBM, OneIdentity SailPoint), and a variety of additional Security tools (Fidelis, Bivio, CloudShield, TrendMicro, ARCsight, etc…) have been very successful for Norseman over the past several years. In addition, the majority of this equipment works in conjunction with hardware and software providers. As a result, HPE, DELL, Nutanix and VMWare are all in the top 10 technologies that we provide to the US Government.
- Do you see an increasing shift to the cloud? If yes, what kinds of data are they moving and what model are they adopting?
Of course we are. However, the definition of cloud in Federal Agencies is completely different from that in the Private Sector. Although we do see many agencies moving to a Public Cloud model (almost exclusively AWS), we see a strong opportunity in the Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure markets.
For our customers, shared services, flexible payment options, and the ability to allocate IT resources on an “as needed” basis are the business drivers that help solve real customer issues.
- How does network visibility fit into your business model and why Ixia?
Network Visibility is a critical focus for Norseman, and we have had years of success with Ixia in providing solutions to the US Government. For Norseman, successful partnerships start with a high end product that solves customer issues. From there, a good partner program (that is profitable for Norseman), and high quality, easy to work with personnel from the partner side, make all the difference.
This business is still a relationship business. The relationship we have with Ixia should ensure years of success for both of our organizations.
- What is the greatest benefit of working with Norseman and Ixia?
We strongly believe that Ixia provides a great product, and a team of dedicated and committed sales and engineering professionals. This leads to joint success for both organizations and most importantly, we’re able to help customers address and overcome the technical challenges they are facing in a rapidly changing environment –including “doing more with less”.
Our main goal is to solve REAL customer issues with IT products and services. When we focus on customer success, we ensure our own success.
For more information on Ixia’s solutions and network visibility, please visit our Government solutions page.