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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


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Big data and the Syrian refugee crisis

Posted on December 01, 2015 0 comments

In an attempt to escape conflict within their borders, millions of Syrians have fled to surrounding countries, Europe and the United States. Since 2011, the U.S. has welcomed approximately 1,500 Syrian refugees, but President Obama has said that he intends to welcome as many as 10,000 within the next year, according to CNN. However, this plan is in direct opposition to more than half of all governors in the U.S., who have made clear that Syrian refugees are unwelcome based on the notion that some of these migrants may pose a terrorism threat.  Read More

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Federal agencies are targeting the IT talent gap

Posted on November 30, 2015 0 comments

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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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 0 comments
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 0 comments
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 0 comments

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 0 comments
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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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 0 comments
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 0 comments

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