Mike Maiorana has led the public sector business for Verizon in his senior vice president role there since September 2013 and oversees the telecommunications giant’s work with agencies at all levels of government in the U.S.
He is a former VP of national government sales and operations for Verizon Wireless and oversaw that business’ footprint in its Washington-Baltimore-Virginia region prior to his public sector SVP appointment.
The 25-year Verizon veteran recently caught up with ExecutiveBiz for an in-depth conversation over his views on the federal cloud computing market’s picture for the year ahead, cybersecurity collaborations with agencies and how all GovCon stakeholders have a role to play in technology workforce recruiting efforts.
ExecutiveBiz: What parts of the public sector business have you prioritized for the next year?
Mike Maiorana: Our number one priority is always to deliver and execute on the commitment we’ve made for the services we’ve sold and implemented. We also know our performance on current work allows us to earn future business. From the perspective of new technology, new services and innovation, we are very excited about a couple of key areas.
Wireless is a big priority for us. Our public sector wireless business continues to grow. Customers across all agencies, particularly the more mission-critical agencies, depend on our high-performance 4G LTE network not only for voice and data communication but for monitoring, tracking and video surveillance.
Another growing business segment is moving workloads, particularly mission-sensitive, mission-critical workloads into the cloud. Our FedRAMP-certified, federal-specific infrastructure has received a lot of attention and earned us a lot of business within the government space.
Cybersecurity is a thriving force within our organization. On the enterprise level, the dangers facing organizations, including government agencies, are increasing exponentially. We collaborate with government to prepare for, recognize and respond to cyber attacks.
Within advanced communications, we see significant interest from government in the movement to and adoption of hosted unified communications and collaboration solutions to enable their workers to collaborate, be more productive, and provide and maintain high levels of service to citizens.
Underlying all of these priorities is our global Internet Protocol network, our advanced, high-capacity data connectivity business which enables government agencies to consume and transport massive quantities of information and data in an efficient and effective way. These high-speed data networks provided by Verizon deliver the critical connections between government servers and data centers.
ExecutiveBiz: What areas of IT procurement does Verizon focus on to balance cost and efficiency?
Mike Maiorana: When we are selling to the government, we are working very closely with agencies such as the General Services Administration. Verizon has significant contract vehicles with GSA for networks, wireless and cloud. We have other vehicles with the Defense Department, states and large cities.
It is very important that we maintain the evolution of our services as they provide the primary value of those agreements. These agreements enable government agencies to easily procure the services they require and help them balance cost and efficiency.
We are in the GSA’s next evolution called Network Services 2020, specifically the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, procurement contract vehicle, which is now in the draft RFP stage. It will enable the entire suite of Verizon services to be procured by federal agencies on a pre-competed basis, very much like the current Networx contract. At a state level, we typically deal with individualstates on a one-to-one basis. We do have some consortium vehicles like MiCTA and CENIC.
Competition is tough so government keeps us on our toes. It’s certainly in our best interest to produce the best solutions with the best technology at the best cost to enable government to procure easily.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you foresee network operators like Verizon collaborating with agencies on cyber defense?
Mike Maiorana: It is obviously a major threat that continues to grow. One of the advantages of Verizon is that our IP network carries a high percentage of the world’s global IP traffic every day. We have an advanced view into what is and could be coming at a government agency and we are in the position to help the order of business from a preparation perspective.
We have the ability to strengthen agencies’ cybersecurity and help reduce the likelihood of successful attacks by learning what to protect and how to protect it. Our cybersecurity solutions help government maintain its security hygiene by limiting the government’s appeal for the would-be hackers.
Our services such as security enforcement and protection, identity and access management, and risk and compliance management help prepare customers to ultimately reduce their likelihood of attack. Sometimes we need to help government spot potential threats and take steps to intercept those attacks.
We have very strong security monitoring, analytics, security enforcement and protection services that can help identify and trace the sources of an attack and defend the government’s most important information and operations. Responding quickly to limit potential damage and minimize the impact of a breach is critical.
We have a very aggressive, capable, and seasoned incident management response team that is called upon by government customers on retainer to help in using digital forensics, malware analysis and other investigative solutions. Our security experts help determine the root cause of trouble and how to prevent it in the future. We are in a great position to collaborate with government to respond to and prevent cyber attacks.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some other shared services areas that a program like FedRAMP could help in?
Mike Maiorana: Government wants to leverage the shared services model to ultimately offer more cost-effective and efficient models. There is significant opportunity in the areas of HR, financial operations and IT with the unified communications services that we are delivering to government at the federal, state and higher education level. By getting those services through FedRAMP certification, we offer government the confidence they’ve got the right security boundaries and oversight to be implemented on a wide-scale basis.
ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see industry, academia and government focusing its efforts this year to find the next generation of technology workers?
Mike Maiorana: There has to be talent at the government side to identify and ultimately implement these technologies and services. Government has done well with bringing in highly respected industry leaders such as Tony Scott and Megan Smith to very important CIO and CTO roles. The future of the government tech workforce is like Verizon’s newer workforce. These young people are full of energy and ideas. They are not complacent and they don’t have a legacy of what has or has not worked in the past.
They want to have a voice and they want to be able to make a difference. We need to show the future tech workforce they can get a position in government and make a difference by having a voice and offering up constructive ideas. Whether it is public safety, education, healthcare, defense, or working with veterans, it is very important to always promote the mission of the agency or department.
Knowing that you work for a higher calling or cause — whether it be providing services to our veterans, war fighters, first responders or educators — appeals to a certain segment of people that want the opportunity to give back and offer their support.
In addition, career progression and mentoring are important. People want to grow and if you are going to be recruiting the future tech workforce you have to give them the ability to understand they have an opportunity to go across agencies or go back into private sector.
People have to know they have these options, benefits and career opportunities. They have skill sets that are transferrable whether inside or outside of the public sector and their work is serving a higher calling when it comes to the missions that it enables. People don’t want to be stuck in a cube; they want to be involved. So it is a good step in the right direction.