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Archive: November 2015
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Federal agencies are targeting the IT talent gap

Posted on November 30, 2015

Of all the cyberattacks over the course of the past few years, the Office of Personnel Management breach has arguably weighed the heaviest on federal officials. Earlier this year, an estimated 21 million former and current government employees had personal information pilfered as a result of the OPM incident. The breach also resulted in biometric data of more than 5 million government employees being exposed to cybercriminals.  Read More

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Massachusetts turns to tech for improvement of public services

Posted on November 24, 2015

State and local governments are doing their part in improving life for residents through the adoption of new technology. Nebraska is expected to save millions of dollars over the next decade thanks to data center consolidation. Baltimore is trying to improve quality of life for its residents with big data strategies. San Francisco is improving the morning commute by using real-time video surveillance.  Read More

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GAO uncovers huge setback to federal data center consolidation

Posted on November 23, 2015
Category: Data Center

U.S. government agencies are being hard-pressed to improve IT infrastructure services. Earlier this month, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act scorecard revealed that the majority of the 24 graded agencies are significantly underperforming, with more than half of the agencies receiving a letter grade of D or lower.  Read More

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Federal workers continue to ignore mobile best practices

Posted on November 19, 2015
Category: Cybersecurity

Federal IT infrastructure is due for an overhaul, and by most measures, it would appear that U.S. IT leaders are doing what they can to make this happen. A bevy of policies such as the cloud-first initiative and the Federal Information Technology Acquisitions Reform Act have been implemented over the last five years in an effort to enhance federal IT services. Furthermore, the Government Accountability Office has continued to prod federal agencies to implement more efficient IT infrastructure. A recent example comes in the form the November 2015 FITARA scorecard. By and large, the scores were below average among agencies, but the fact that GAO continues to monitor the progress of these agencies is a sign that government technology services are becoming a priority.  Read More

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Federal CIOs have their work cut out for them

Posted on November 17, 2015

The federal government is currently identifying ways to maximize the efficiency of federal IT infrastructure. So far, data center consolidation, cloud migration and big data strategies have all been addressed as ways in which federal agencies can save money on IT budgets while improving operational efficiency.  Read More

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Can big data give the US economy a jolt?

Posted on November 13, 2015
Category: Cloud Computing

Many big claims have been made about the power of big data to fix problems. Seattle is leveraging big data to fight crime, Connecticut is using it to bolster public transit, and Baltimore is seeking toimprove quality of life for residents with recently announced big data strategies.  Read More

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Connecticut improves public transit with real-time data

Posted on November 10, 2015

State and municipal governments across the U.S. are looking for new ways to make the most of technology, both as a way to cut costs and to improve daily life for residents. For example, in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is employing big data strategies in an effort to improve quality of life for the city's estimated 622,793 residents. Meanwhile, Seattle is using big data to create real-time crime maps, and San Francisco is employingsurveillance cameras to improve the morning commute for hundreds of thousands of people.  Read More

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NASA benefits from data center consolidation

Posted on November 03, 2015
Category: Data Center

Data center consolidation is exactly what it sounds like: The consolidation of data from multiple server locations into only a few, or even one, data center location. The benefits typically include considerably lowered costs of operation, as data centers demand expenses in terms of property ownership and management, and in energy costs to keep the center up and running. For this reason, local, state and federal government agencies have been increasingly focusing on data center consolidation. In Nebraska, for example, the state government recently outlined a plan to save millions of dollars through data center consolidation by migrating information stored in multiple servers throughout the state into two data centers.  Read More

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Federal IT leaders push for innovation

Posted on November 02, 2015

Federal IT infrastructure has been targeted for serious renovations for a while now. The Cloud First Initiative, which kicked off in 2011, represented one of the first earnest attempts to virtualize federal IT services and encourage data center consolidation. However, execution has been slow out of the gates. Many agencies continue to adamantly distrust the cloud, and are holding fast to legacy technologies, despite continual prodding from the highest-ranking federal IT leaders.  Read More


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New tool helps organizations better visualize federal data

Posted on April 12, 2016 0 comments

In order to help both private companies and public agencies better make sense of publicly-available data, a team of academics and consultants have teamed up to create a tool that visualizes and more effectively displays this information. The tool is called Data USA, and it provides a search engine-like interface to help interested parties learn more about locations, occupations, industries and more. The site also includes pre-made breakdowns to make it easy to determine everything from the highest earning jobs in real estate to the racial breakdown of poverty levels in Flint, Michigan. Data USA is still fairly new, so additional data and pre-made filters will likely continue to be added to it in the coming months and years.  Read More

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New government tool aims to help developers of health-related mobile apps

Posted on April 11, 2016 0 comments

To help ensure mobile app developers don't run afoul of the law, a consortium of federal agencies recently created a tool that provides helpful guidance on health-related laws and compliance. The Mobile Health Apps Interactive Tool was created as a joint effort between the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Office for Civil Rights. It is a simple, interactive checklist for those developing health-related apps to make sure their program is following various laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.  Read More

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Government cybersecurity incidents on the rise

Posted on April 07, 2016 0 comments
Category: Cybersecurity

The state of government security is drastically shifting to have a larger focus on cyberspace than ever before. Federal organizations deflect threats from malware, ransomware and viruses on a daily basis, but the risks are becoming more dire as time passes. Malicious parties are advancing their tactics as quickly as security firms are upgrading their solutions to fend off threats. This volatile environment is leading to numerous breaches and more determination to protect sensitive information under federal domain.  Read More

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White House embraces open source coding

Posted on April 07, 2016 0 comments

As part of a broader effort to boost innovation and reduce costs across the board, the White House recently announced a new initiative that will make the code for all federal government software open sourced and available to everyone. In a late March blog post announcing the initiative, federal CIO Tony Scott said that going forward, all software that is designed or used only by federal agencies must have its source code be freely available. This will enable innovation, he said, by allowing a wider variety of parties to tinker and improve on government software. It also aligns federal government IT efforts more closely with private sector best practices. Plus, it hopefully eliminates the need to have to purchase multiple software licenses for different agencies, helping to streamline costs across the board.  Read More

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Agencies must partner with tech experts if they want to see progress

Posted on March 31, 2016 0 comments

There are certain situations where going it alone isn't the best option. Asking for help from an expert can often solve a problem more effectively, and this is nowhere more apparent than within government IT. Agencies should know that partnering with knowledgeable outside companies isn't a sign of giving up on the problem. Rather, it shows that officials care enough to get the best person possible to help solve the issue in the most effective and efficient way possible. In that vein, let's look at some of the agencies who've teamed up with private companies recently.  Read More

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Social engineering: A major threat to government data security

Posted on March 30, 2016 0 comments
Category: Cybersecurity

Humans will always be the weakest link when it comes to security. An agency can utilize top-tier encryption, employ the world's best cybersecurity experts and spend millions of dollars on its defenses, and all it takes for a hacker to gain access to private data is for someone in HR to fall for a social engineering attack.  Read More

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Government stepping up its big data game

Posted on March 23, 2016 0 comments
Category: News

Information is king across every sector. It serves as the basis for all of the decisions that are made and provides businesses with a better idea of how they're performing on a daily basis. With the inclusion of mobile devices and sensors, more data is being generated than ever before, and it's only expected to continue rising in the years ahead. As such, it's important for government organizations in particular to prepare their systems to handle and parse through this information to glean the most relevant parts.  Read More

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US Air Force to increase efficiency by working with IBM’s Watson

Posted on March 21, 2016 0 comments
Category: Cloud Computing

While advancements in technology have allowed institutions to perform physical functions faster than ever before, {deep? free?} thinking tasks have been largely left to people. This is less of a moral objection to the idea of mechanical minds and more a statement on the effectiveness of the human brain when it comes to problem solving. That said, it would appear the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon are attempting to break this mold by allowing IBM's Watson to analyze the Federal Acquisition Regulation, according to the Washington Post.  Read More

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Agencies need to understand the risks of a ransomware attack

Posted on March 15, 2016 0 comments
Category: Cybersecurity

The growing concern of cyberattacks directed at government agencies cannot be ignored. However, foreign nations attempting to gain access to confidential U.S. data may not be the only issue at play here. Incidents of ransomware – a type of cyberattack that encrypts the users files and demands compensation before the person can regain access – are growing rapidly. What's more, it appears the hackers behind these attacks are becoming bolder every day. What does this malware mean for government agencies, and what can be done to stop it in its tracks?  Read More

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Obama administration attempting to improve cybersecurity with IT upgrade

Posted on March 11, 2016 0 comments
Category: Cybersecurity

It's a pretty commonly held fact in the cybersecurity community that older systems are generally easier to exploit compared to newer ones. A lot of this has to do with the fact that hackers have simply had a lot of time to tool around with them, and therefore know where the vulnerabilities are. This is especially true for the U.S. government's aging IT infrastructure.  Read More