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Archive: March 2016
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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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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
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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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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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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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

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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

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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

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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



Big Data Technology Taking Hold in the Public Sector

Posted on May 30, 2012 0 comments
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Data in the public sector continues to grow exponentially and agencies are being challenged to find ways to leverage big data in the support of government mission outcomes. In my big data blog earlier this year, I mentioned several emerging trends that are driving the adoption of new approaches to data analytics across the federal government – including the volume, velocity and variety (both structured and unstructured data, including full motion video, emails, voice, social networks, sensor-enabled facilities, web and biometrics data). Agencies have started taking big data seriously and I am seeing this technology take a firm hold in the public sector.  Read More

Watch Out! Citrix Redefines the Cloud Broker

Posted on May 23, 2012 0 comments
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Last week I attended the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco, CA at the Moscone Center. As usual, Citrix announced many new products, feature sets and new acquisitions. For me, the highlight of the conference was the announcement of the Citrix Cloud Portal. Many of my colleagues around the beltway have been saying that they want to be a “Cloud Broker,” but what does this mean?  Read More

Bridging the Gap between BYOD and Policy Enforcement

Posted on May 16, 2012 0 comments
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Best practices preach that security policies should be applied consistently across an entire distributed agency. However, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is making it even more complicated than before, because not only are employees bringing a vast array of disparate wireless devices to work, they also want to connect from anywhere, with any device, and often look to access the cloud. Additionally, there is continuing need for contractors requiring access to government network resources, as well as cross-department access and information sharing between various agencies. These demands create an increasing pressure that CIOs in the government have to face. This diversity also means the weakest link in security policy enforcement could exist almost anywhere in the agency infrastructure. Many CIOs are wondering how they can accommodate the exponential growth of new devices and applications on their agency network in real-time, as well as how to secure, determine and manage who, what, when, where, how and how many users and devices access that network?  Read More

Cyber Attacks & Mobile Threats on the Rise

Posted on May 04, 2012 0 comments
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Symantec Corporation just released their new “Internet Security Threat Report,” which provides an overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity. As per the Report, the number of cyber attacks increased significantly in 2011. Mobile platforms, particularly Android OS and social networks, were a focus of attackers. Social networks are gaining in popularity even among enterprises, and due to their viral nature and affinity to social engineering, it is easy for malware to spread very quickly.  Read More

Last week, I attended the Cisco Partner Summit 2012 in San Diego. There were thousands of Cisco partners attending from 90 countries, and a lot of excitement in the air. I have attended this event several times in the past, and the focus has always been almost exclusively on Cisco’s products. This year the focus is radically different. The conference is oriented on joint, integrated, best-of-breed “smart” solution architectures and “smart” services. It has been a welcome change to see top infrastructure vendors like Cisco, NetApp, VMware, Citrix, EMC and several others working together to create integrated solution offerings in Private Cloud, Desktop Virtualization and several other technology hotspots. Customers in both the private and public sectors have been clamoring for this collaboration for years.  Read More

Federal Cloud Initiatives for 2012

Posted on April 12, 2012 0 comments
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In a talk at FOSE last week, Department of Energy CTO Peter Tseronis said that agencies should do much more than meet the minimum three use cases for Cloud to be identified by the end of the year.  Read More

Gartner says Personal Cloud to replace PC by 2014

Posted on March 21, 2012 0 comments
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There is a really good article from Gartner last week which can be found at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1947315 in which Gartner claims that Personal Cloud will replace PC’s by 2014.  Read More

Is Cloud a cure-all?

Posted on March 16, 2012 0 comments
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I recently ran across a customer that wanted to move an application to a public IaaS Cloud. They were convinced that moving their application to the Cloud would solve a bunch of their downtime issues. Now, let’s dismiss for a minute the fact that the customer had no idea what the application was costing them to run as is, what it would cost to run in a public IaaS cloud, or the relative performance of the app in either place. Let’s forget all that for a moment. The real problem here is that the customer thought they could move their existing application architected the same way as in their data center, to the public IaaS Cloud. They had a standard 3-tier application with web servers, application server, and a database server.  Read More

“Which type of Cloud is right for me?”

Posted on March 01, 2012 0 comments
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This is a question that I hear almost daily from potential customers. But the question is really an indication that the person asking the question doesn’t understand the paradigm shift that is occurring in IT today. By that I mean that Cloud is just another way of delivering a service that meets a set of business requirements. It is one of the many options that IT needs to evaluate based on the requirements of the business or organizational unit, the promised SLA’s of the service, and the costs of that service.  Read More