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Archive: March 2016

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


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


Government stepping up its big data game

Posted on March 23, 2016
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


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


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


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


Over the past six years, federal data centers have undergone a number of changes. The 2010 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative and the 2014 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act have redefined limits for these facilities and have aimed to minimize the overall sprawl across government agencies. While these two efforts have done a lot to reduce the space, equipment, energy and other resources taken up by data centers, there is still a lot of work to do before government groups can reach their established goals.  Read More


Government cloud spending to increase

Posted on March 07, 2016
Category: Cloud Computing

A report from the International Data Corporation is shedding light on just how important cloud services are to modern governmental functions. The study's researchers expected the federal cloud budget to increase from $6.65 billion in 2014 to $11.46 billion by 2019, according to TechNewsWorld contributor John K. Higgins. A second study by Deltek confirmed this upward trend, although this report's final number differed from IDC's due to a disagreement over IT taxonomy.  Read More


US improving cyberwar capabilities

Posted on March 02, 2016
Category: Cybersecurity

The U.S. government is taking some major steps to increase its digital presence on the battlefield. Military-grade hackers launched an assault against ISIS recently, utilizing denial of service attacks as well as other techniques to overload their computer and cellular networks, according to Government Technology contributor W.J. Hennigan. This marks the first time a country has openly admitted to committing an act of cyberwar.  Read More

I was recently able to participate in an Industry Perspectives piece through Government Executive magazine’s Government Business Council. The piece was entitled, “Maintaining your Legacy, Adopting New Technologies: Integrating the Cloud.” In this article, we reviewed how agencies can quickly and securely adopt cloud strategies in mixed infrastructure environments.  Read More

Cloud CRM has Taken Over Business, Will Government Follow?

Posted on August 08, 2012 0 comments

According to a survey of over 600 organizations issued by Really Simple Systems, 56% of companies are using a Cloud CRM system (compared to 45% this time last year); 72% of respondents claimed to have more confidence generally than a year ago; and 80% of indicated Cloud solutions require less IT support. Only 15% of respondents (commercial) admitted to still having reservations regarding adoption of Cloud systems, a decrease of 8% from last year’s figures. What does all of this mean? The confidence in Cloud solution adoption, at least in the private sector, is clearly on the rise.  Read More

Valuable Insights on Cloud Computing

Posted on August 02, 2012 0 comments

On July 18, I had the opportunity to attend a half-day GTSI / Federal Computer Week sponsored seminar titled “Making Cloud a Reality – How to Procure, Migrate and Adapt to the Government Cloud.” Speakers from the Department of State, GSA, DHS, NASA, NIH and the legislative branch shared their first-hand experiences on implementing cloud computing to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, as well as various cloud procurement challenges. I wanted to bring up a few important nuggets of information that I gathered from these esteemed speakers.  Read More

Cloud First Today

Posted on July 26, 2012 0 comments

I appreciate the initiative that former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra had in promoting and driving cloud computing for government use by instituting the Cloud First policy. But where do we stand now, roughly a year and a half since he first outlined the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy? We are finally beginning to see the dawn of cloud adoption across the federal IT landscape.  Read More

AWS goes down? Let’s back up and look at the facts!

Posted on July 16, 2012 0 comments

OK. The bashing of Amazon Web Services (AWS) after one of their Northern Virginia data centers went down as a result of major storms in the DC area a week ago is almost over. Now it is time to look at the facts. Did the data center lose power in the storm and go down? Yes, it did, along with hundreds of thousands of other facilities/homes. But let’s look at the issues. As I have blogged about many times before and discuss thoroughly in my book“Get Your Head in the Cloud: Unraveling the Mystery for Public Sector,” many Cloud providers are designed around their data centers not going down. Ever. Take for example, Terremark. You can visit their impressive facility in Culpeper, Virginia (with an appointment and a good reason, of course), where you will see multiple generators and numerous gas storage tanks. You will hear about the contracts they have (with SLA’s ) to deliver fuel in time to keep those generators running in case of power failure. That is not how AWS is structured.  Read More

Bridging the Gap Between Legislation and Technology

Posted on July 13, 2012 0 comments

According to an article in Federal Computer Week, the recent storm outages across the Washington, D.C. area show a weakness in the federal telework policy. In this situation, telework did not provide this area with effective disaster recovery (DR) or continuity of operations capabilities. This leads me to believe that we need to help bring government policy and technology together to improve the quality of legislation that deals with technology solutions.  Read More

Listening to Government Workers Demands Could Save Agency Budgets

Posted on July 03, 2012 0 comments

In Steven VanRoekel’s latest blog post he announced the formation of a Digital Services Innovation Center and said a new advisory group has begun working on a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy for federal employees. In his post, Mr. VanRoekel described the Digital Services Innovation Center as a “virtual hub” designed to operationalize the principle of “build once, use many times,” supported by agencies across government, to incubate and accelerate innovative digital services.  Read More

Big Data and the Public Sector

Posted on June 27, 2012 0 comments

In my May 30th blog, I talked about how Big Data discussions are starting to gain traction and build buzz across the federal government. Last week I had an opportunity to attend the FCW Federal Briefing on Big Data, which turned out to be a very good event. The packed room, consisting of government employees, decision makers, vendors, solution providers and academia had a lively discussion on some excellent topics. There were keynotes and panel discussions on Big Data by some very influential folks including Dr.Suzi Iacono (Sr. Science Advisor at NSF), Dr. George Strawn (Director at NCO and Co-Chair at NITRD), Dr. Chris Greer (Associate Director at NIST) and several others. This one day seminar was centered on the emerging challenges, trends, directions and solutions for Big Data and Data Analytics. The speakers provided a consistent understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with Big Data, sharing some thought provoking nuggets of information.  Read More

FedRAMP To Ensure Cloud Security

Posted on June 20, 2012 0 comments

Last week, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) office started taking applications from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) who want to attain security accreditations. This is the next step in a process that many of us have been following for the past 18 months. But what does this mean?  Read More

FAA Moving to 21st Century!

Posted on June 06, 2012 0 comments

Last week it was announced that the team of CSC and Microsoft won the award to migrate all of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) email to the Microsoft SaaS Cloud using Office 365. But that wasn’t all that was in the announcement. As part of the federal government’s new “Shared Services” policy, it was announced that all of the Department of Transportation (including its 12 other agencies) will also be able to migrate their email as part of this contract.  Read More