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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



TechAmerica Foundation SLG Cloud Commission releases report

Posted on February 16, 2012 0 comments
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Today the TechAmerica SLG Cloud Commission (SLG-CC) is releasing their final report on Cloud for State and Local Government. The commission’s goal was to further the adoption of cloud by State and Local governments and to educate them on the benefits of cloud and how to procure it. This commission is a direct followup from the Cloud comission that TechAmerica formed at the request of former CIO Vivek Kundra whose focus was Cloud in the Public Sector. The SLG Cloud Commission will specifically address some of the major roadblocks with cloud access and deployment that are unique to states and localities– including procurement practices – and deliver recommendations for surmounting barriers to cloud in their agencies.  Read More

In spite of enhanced efforts to implement better cyber security, federal agencies continue to succumb to cyber attacks. Cyber attacks targeting federal agencies’ systems and websites, and reports of network security incidents at federal agencies have soared 650 percent during the past half-decade, jeopardizing the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive government information.  Read More

A quick review of the PaaS Cloud

Posted on February 02, 2012 0 comments
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I recently created the latest chapter on the book I am writing about Cloud Computing in the Public Sector. It was the chapter I was dreading the most because it was on the PaaS (platform as a service) public cloud. This is perhaps the least understood, and certainly from all indications I have, the least used in the public sector at this time.  Read More

Data Analytics Drives Mission Effectiveness in the Federal Government

Posted on January 25, 2012 0 comments
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Although virtually every federal agency collects data, many of these agencies struggle with how to best turn it into useful information, to improve mission performance and effectiveness. Data is scattered across multiple sources and is poorly organized so it is hard for many agencies to make decisions based on that data. It’s really about gathering the massive amount of data, figuring out which data is most useful, and then making it understandable and usable to users whether public or within government. The end goal of data analytics is to be able to obtain a “single version of truth and actionable intelligence” in near real-time from the mounds of data.  Read More

AWS and Security

Posted on January 18, 2012 0 comments
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Recently an article came to light about a group of German researchers that found “Massive Security Flaws” in the Amazon Cloud(full article can be found here). This was a well done study that I am familiar with and I am sure the findings are pretty accurate. After all, how many of our users would patch their machines regularly, backup their critical data on a regular basis, and change their passwords on a frequent schedule without us in IT sending them reminders or enforcing some other harsher policy which necessitates that they follow a schedule for these things? A darned few, in my experience.  Read More

Cloud Security in 2012 & Beyond!

Posted on January 10, 2012 0 comments
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The year 2012 is upon us and I wanted to shed some light on one of the key technologies the federal government is going to focus on this year – Cloud Computing. At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando in October last year, the analyst firm rolled out its top 10 strategic technologies for 2012. It should come as no surprise that cloud is one of the technologies tapped for top ten. Cloud computing, social media, and mobile solutions also top research firm IDC’s top 10 predictions for the government IT market in 2012. Federal, state, and local governments will spend about $82.4 billion on hardware, software, and IT services in 2012, according to IDC Government Insights, and that investment will align with four key themes: operational efficiency, mobility, smart government, and economic stability.  Read More

Getting the Hybrid Cloud Right!

Posted on December 20, 2011 0 comments
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As many of you may know, I am writing a case study book highlighting some of the great ways that users in the public sector are taking advantage of cloud computing. I hope that this book will help the many of you who are “on the fence” about cloud to see the ways that others are realizing the benefits of cloud and spur you into action! One of the many goals of the book is to clear up the misconceptions and misunderstandings about the various cloud options that are available to you today. The book will also address who the major players are for each cloud model and the issues surrounding each of these models, not the least of which is the security issue.  Read More

A Good Definition of Cloud

Posted on November 29, 2011 0 comments
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I just read a post on another blog that spoke about the definition of cloud being “an application-centric approach to IT.” I was really floored by how much I think this definition really misses the mark. And that got me thinking. What is a good definition of cloud? As I did my research I came across this article at Cloud Advocates that claims there are 27 different definitions for cloud computing! Yikes! If we are all going to understand cloud and receive maximum benefit from the cloud, shouldn’t we all agree on the same definition? At least that would be a good starting point for further exploration.  Read More

Top Federal Initiatives and Technology Trends for 2012

Posted on November 09, 2011 0 comments
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Last week I got an opportunity to attend the Deltek annual FedFocus 2012 conference. There was a panel discussion on the current outlook for federal IT moderated by Chris Dorobek and featuring three folks very familiar to fed IT market watchers: Ray Bjorklund, Chief Knowledge Officer from Deltek; Richard Spires, Chief Information Officer from the Department of Homeland Security; and David Wennergren, Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer at the Department of Defense.  Read More

Adding SPARC to the Cloud

Posted on November 04, 2011 0 comments
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I recently attended the annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. As usual there were lots of announcements for new products, new versions of products and — since the SUN acquisition — new chipsets and other hardware releases. But perhaps the biggest of all of those announcements was the one concerning cloud. The announcement was just this: The Release of Oracle Public Cloud. What, you ask? ORACLE is now in the cloud business? Isn’t that just another hardware vendor (like HP, IBM and Dell) announcing they have a cloud to compete with Google, Amazon and the like? Not really. In fact, there are a couple of significant differences. Here is why this is really important to us in the public sector. This cloud runs both SPARC and x86 workloads. This is something that not many other cloud providers can claim. While ORACLE was a little short on details, we do know this much: You will be able to run all of your existing Fusion applications, including CRM and HCM, whether they be SPARC or x86 based workloads.  Read More