HAVA Grants Provide Funding for States to Protect Election Systems

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

With just about a year before the general election and eight months before the primaries, the rush is on to identify and mitigate any potential security gaps in election systems!

Our national election system is a very complex network and involves multiple stakeholders including federal, state and local public entities, private companies and citizens. Multiple IT systems and databases that manage and support voter registration, polling books, vote tallying and election night results – are all potential points of vulnerability.

Updating and/or replacing these systems is not cheap, and with already strapped budgets, this strains state and local governments alike. While some governments have already invested in systems upgrades and improvements, many others will be looking for help from the vendor community before the next big general election.

HAVA Grants Fund Election System Upgrades

The good news is that there are funds available to state and local entities in the form of grants from the “Help America Vote Act” – or HAVA. In March 2019, an additional $380M from the federal government was provided to states to help with election security improvements. Each state received a base of $3M with the remainder of the $380M distributed by voting age population. Smaller states typically only received the base $3M, but larger states like California received upwards of $34M. Read more of this post

Federal Modernization Challenges and Priorities for FY20

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

Data visibility, cloud and emerging technologies were important themes at a the recent IT Modernization summit hosted by FCW. The conference sessions brought together acquisition and IT officials from a variety of federal agencies, small and large, both civilian and DOD, who shared how their agencies are delivering on modernization goals.

Here are more details about these topics and advice on how you can position your company and solutions to stand out from the crowd.

Data Visibility

Agencies need improved visibility into their data. Data is the cornerstone of multiple technologies, powering AI and machine learning algorithms and bolstering cybersecurity efforts. It is, quite simply, crucial for government agencies to be able to gain as much insight into their data as possible in order to keep pace with rapid technological developments. Don Heckman, Principal Director in the Deputy Chief Information Office for Cybersecurity at DOD, noted that “visibility into assets is a huge challenge” for the agency. Read more of this post

Military Health IT Modernization: What Lies Ahead – Part 2

By Toné Mason, DOD Senior Analyst

As I discussed in my blog last month, health technology and health services continue to represent a significant part of DOD spending, requiring acquisition planning to keep pace. With limited funding and enterprise contracts essentially status quo through 2020, agency executives are encouraging vendors to prepare now for 2021.

At the recent 2019 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, Tom McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs noted that the Military Health System (MHS) is a $50+ billion per year military medical enterprise, with 51 hospitals, 424 medical clinics and 248 dental clinics worldwide. As a health benefits program, it covers 9.5 million lives, almost 800,000 network providers, with over 60% of care purchased from civilian sources. McCaffery estimated that MHS spends $1 of every $10 budgeted to the DoD each year. Read more of this post

Collaboration and Innovation Top of Mind at NASCIO Conference

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

The overwhelming theme at this year’s NASCIO conference centered on the idea of innovation. Throughout the event, state CIOs shared their innovative approaches to managing IT and the business of government.

One of the innovative approaches was increasing collaboration with local governments. Collaboration between state and local government isn’t necessarily new, but today it means much more and goes way beyond funding and MOUs.

Shared Goals

One innovative approach state and local governments are taking to collaboration involves a shared goal. For example, in the wake of the many recent high-profile ransomware attacks, state CIOs shared that they’d received an increase in support requests from their local governments. Read more of this post

Military Health IT Modernization: What Lies Ahead – Part 1

Toné Mason, Senior Analyst

Health technology and health services continue to represent a significant part of DOD spending, requiring acquisition planning to keep pace.

The next wave of deployments for MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the Military Health System (MHS), is slated to begin in 2020. By 2023, GENESIS will be deployed across all MHS. Meanwhile, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is taking a closer look at acquisition vehicles and focus areas. With limited funding and enterprise contracts essentially status quo through 2020, agency executives are encouraging vendors to prepare now for 2021.

These were some of the takeaways from the recent 2019 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Among the sessions, Tom McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, discussed the future of the Military Health System. Read more of this post

Beyond Cyber Hygiene

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Helping agencies lock the door to keep external threat actors out of IT networks, combined with education and training, can only go so far in protecting government assets. There will always be vulnerability.

Public sector networks, with their treasure trove of sensitive information, face vigorous targeting by nation states and cyber criminals looking to steal anything they can get their hands on. Cyber-attacks remain one of the clear and present threats of our time with an intensity that shows little signs of abating.

So, how can those selling security solutions to government help mitigate threats when good cyber hygiene isn’t enough? Read more of this post

The Business Benefits of Outsourcing FedRAMP Compliance

By Ryan Gilhooley, Enterprise Cloud Solutions Manager

If you are new to the federal government market, you are no doubt wrestling with how to ensure your products and services are compliant with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). This government-wide program standardizes security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

If you’re making a decision to move forward with FedRAMP authorization, it’s important to understand your options from the beginning. It’s tempting to try to do it all yourself, but the complexities of compliance can quickly send the cost of doing it yourself sky high, while delaying your time to market by years.

Getting to authorization requires deep expertise in compliance, IT security, engineering and more, which means a heavy investment of expensive resources extended over a long period of time.

For example, many ISVs don’t understand that hosting their software applications in a FedRAMP-compliant cloud does not make the actual applications FedRAMP authorized. To earn FedRAMP authorization for software as a service, both the environment and the application must be authorized. Read more of this post

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