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Archive: April 2016
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The landscape of war has dramatically changed over the years. Putting boots on the ground is no longer the only option countries have in terms of subduing enemies, and this fact could make all the difference in the near future. Cyberwar is increasingly becoming a convenient and powerful tool, as it has the potential for disrupting communications, gaining intel and generally ruining a group's day. It should be no surprise that the U.S. as well as other nations are gearing up to use this method as a long-term strategy in accomplishing their goals.  Read More

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Businesses across all industries have been traditionally reluctant to migrate to new technologies and processes while leaving behind their tried-and-true practices. Sectors that are heavily regulated are even harder to sell on modernizing their hardware and software infrastructures due to the amount of considerations and challenges that can be introduced. It's no surprise, then, that the federal government has been slow to upgrade and is still gradually making changes to its IT portfolio.  Read More

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In order to help both private and public sector entities better protect themselves from hackers, malware and other threats, the Obama Administration recently created a new commission to help draft protection guidelines for organizations to follow. Officially dubbed the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, the non-partisan group features 12 veteran leaders from large enterprises, leading Silicon Valley firms and government agencies. This group is tasked with presenting Congress in December 2016 with tangible steps both public and private organizations can take to bolster cybersecurity and ensure more robust data protection.  Read More

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Cloud computing has effectively taken over businesses in virtually every sector over the past few years. For government, the road to virtual platforms has been paved with roadblocks in the forms of security, budget and overall hesitance to change from tried-and-true solutions. Despite these challenges, many federal and local government organizations have adopted the cloud for their operations, and it's making a significant difference. Other agencies that aren't using the cloud are likely to start their journey to these platforms in the near future, and will begin reaping all the benefits the cloud can offer.  Read More

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Chatbots may be the next big thing in tech, and the technology could prove enormously beneficial in the public arena. Chatbots, although just known as bots for short, are a form of artificial intelligence, noted Hannah Francis, a Technology Reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald. A bot works by executing a command and formulating a particular response depending on what is typed in as the input.  Read More

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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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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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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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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



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