Strong Relationships: Foundation of Successful Business

By Rita Walston, senior director, marketing programs

Social media has made it possible to connect with potential customers and partners from afar — without TSA close encounters, battling beltway traffic or even picking up the phone. The sales profession has changed immeasurably over the last decade or two, but one thing has not – the value of face-to-face communication in building and strengthening relationships.

As we count down the days until the 5th Annual Government IT Sales Summit, it reminds me why we started it in the first place – to bring our partners and suppliers together in a place where they can make the connections to grow their government business and turn potential into results.

In our industry, events have endured pendulum swings —  for instance, the demise and resurrection of AFITC— but one factor ensures that events will always play a role in business: the irreplaceable value of face-to-face communication. There is nothing quite like it.

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New DOE Office to Focus on Cyber Threats to Energy Sector

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Facing mounting cybersecurity challenges, the Department of Energy recently created a new office, the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). Karen Evans, a long-term fixture in cybersecurity in the federal government, was confirmed to lead the office on September 4, 2018. Dedicated to shoring up the cybersecurity of the U.S. energy grid, as well as protecting its own IT assets, the formation of CESER yet again demonstrates the government’s focus on protecting critical infrastructure from foreign attacks.

There are opportunities for industry within CESER, although it’s not your typical cyber play, like protecting against malware and viruses; it’s more about threat intelligence, information sharing and cyber situational awareness. Read more of this post

Transformation May Be Your Foot in the Door for Federal Sales

By Kevin Shaker, consultant

If you have genuinely transformational technology, public sector IT executives may be willing to listen now more than ever.

In August, public and private sector officials held a series of short discussions on government IT and procurement, emphasizing innovation in everything from protecting critical assets to reforming acquisition methods.

Here are three top takeaways

GSA Schedules

Alan Thomas, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, said plans are being discussed to consolidate schedules for easier acquisition.

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What is a Smart City?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Most of us who have been in and around the state, local and education space (SLED) have seen the term “smart city” more times than we can count. A simple search for “what is a smart city” returns dozens of examples, definitions and solution sheets that explain specific implementations being done under the heading of “smart city.” In a nutshell, a smart city is one that aims to improve the delivery of services to its citizens using technology.

That’s a simple definition and easy enough to understand, but, how does a city become smart? What technologies do they use to be smart? How does a vendor approach a city to make it smarter? And when you add in the typical SLED wrinkle with each city being its own fiefdom, finding a common definition and a strategy to target a smart city is understandably difficult.

Let’s dive into that definition a bit deeper. Cities provide all sorts of services to their citizens including public safety, transportation, health care and more. Each year, cities see their populations grow, thus increasing the number of people to whom they must now provide those public safety, transportation or health care services. The problem is that most cities aren’t seeing the same increase in budgets, leaving them with taxed resources and an ever-growing mission.

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National Cyber Strategy – What Does It Mean for Those Selling Security Tools to the Government?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

You’ve probably heard of the release last week of both the National Cyber Strategy and the Department of Defense (DOD) Cyber Strategy. Some of the priorities highlighted are robust information sharing, greater resilience, encryption, cyber scalability and hardening of IT systems. In fact, we’ve seen demand for these capabilities reflected in recent cyber budgets which have hovered between $13 and$15 billion over the last couple of years. While the documents bring together much of the cyber policies heard from the administration over the past year, there are some important key takeaways you should be aware of as we head into FY19.

Offensive Cyber
One of the most notable developments is a more overt embrace of offensive cyber operations. The DOD Cyber Strategy especially, hones in on this “defending forward” strategy, where the U.S. will confront threats before they reach U.S. networks.

By giving the government more latitude to conduct proactive and offensive cybersecurity, we could see more funding and resources allocated to these operations as early as next year. Expect more demand for network mapping and reconnaissance, data extraction, firewall tunneling and encryption/decryption tools, just to name a few. I expect most of the funding and demand for offensive cyber tools will be generally confined to U.S. Cyber Command and the intelligence agencies.

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What’s the Future of NETCENTS-2 at Air Force?

Stephanie MeloniBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant

More details have begun to emerge about how the Air Force intends to fulfill procurement of products after NETCENTS-2 expires in November 2019. Recently, GSA blogged about the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Air Force and GSA. This MOU outlines a partnership between the two organizations that will allow the Air Force to establish a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) from GSA’s IT Schedule 70. This will entirely replace NETCENTS-2 for products.

The biggest change affecting potential bidders of this contract will be the requirement to be on GSA IT Schedule 70, which can take some time. However, teaming between companies is allowed, so subcontracting may be an option if that is the case. Many of the other details remain the same—the BPA will still be mandatory, as NETCENTS-2 is, and the competition type remains full and open. The ceiling value of the IT Products BPA is anticipated to be slightly lower than the current ceiling of $5.5B over five years. The number of awardees could marginally exceed the twenty-five NETCENTS-2 products category awardees.

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5 Reasons Shutting Down DISA Would Be a Bad Idea

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Not for the first or last time, Congress this year considered getting rid of some agencies as a cost-cutting move, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) may end up on that list. DISA provides networking and communications hardware and software for systems and services across all of the DOD. What might happen if the agency that handles military networking, computing and communications services gets the axe?

Senior leader communication support – DISA provides secure communication services to the White House and to other senior leaders. Keeping the infrastructure and its security under one roof creates operating efficiencies.

CYBERCOM could, theoretically, handle the role, but it would dilute that agency’s core mission of ensuring U.S. military cyber superiority – and force considerable reorganization to do so.

Spectrum management – Managing the electromagnetic spectrum is crucial to the security of communication, navigation and warfighting. That’s part of DISA’s job for the DOD, and it’s more important than ever with the networking of our ground, sea and aviation military assets. It would be a coordination nightmare to make service branches and military agencies share risk assessment and vulnerability information in their warfighting communications.

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