Security Is the Key to Growing Fed Blockchain Interest

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Blockchain technology is gaining interest from the federal government. This secure, decentralized and interoperable solution can reduce IT security costs – and that checks all the boxes in federal procurement.

Things are moving pretty quickly with federal blockchain adoption, which is significant given how the government can drag its feet on new technologies. Back in July 2017, the GSA held the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum to pose uses for the technology from 100 federal managers.

Since then, blockchain requirements have shown up in more solicitations throughout the federal procurement process.

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AI in the Cards for DOD of the Future

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

Across the Department of Defense artificial intelligence and machine learning are gaining real traction. And plans are in the works to establish a center dedicated to delivering AI solutions across the DOD, as well as a proposal for an AI and machine learning council as part of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.  DOD agencies are very interested in using AI to combat and overmatch potential adversaries — and there’s no shortage of use cases across the DOD. Going forward, technology companies will want to be aware of differences between customer environments before engaging with a potential customer.

Recently, early adapters gathered at an AFCEA DC luncheon to discuss recent developments and challenges in AI and machine learning. Here are some highlights.

DISA, an example of a non-tactical customer, is looking at how to use machine learning for cyber situational awareness. DISA uses commercial machine learning technologies and contractors for Acropolis and their Big Data Platform to combat cyber threats and attacks. AI can help them shift their cyber strategy from reactive to proactive.

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OMB: Agencies Need Help With Old Problems

Chris WiedemannBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The cybersecurity challenges facing the government are well understood. Combine a highly federated environment, huge volumes of sensitive, classified or legally-protected data, all running on outdated legacy technology, and you get the government’s current situation: struggling to stay ahead of the latest threats in an increasingly dangerous digital environment.

Federal networks are very popular targets. The government deals with thousands of attacks each year – 35,277 in FY17, according to the most recent FISMA report. Moreover, the consequences of a successful attack are significant. Perhaps no data breach better exemplifies the dangers of lax security than the OPM attack in 2015, which exposed the personally identifiable information of millions of individuals to malicious actors and prompted a round of reports, recommendations and recriminations on the security posture of agency networks – as well as a renewed sense of urgency around security at the agency leadership level.

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Opportunity for Vendors to Shape IoT Standards in State Government

Rachel Eckert_100 x 135

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Like many other states, Ohio has a multitude of smart, connected projects that include a drone detection system, autonomous and connected vehicle corridors, and a federally funded smart city project in Columbus. You can now find another project underway: the development of a new common framework for the state’s digital transportation technologies.

A contract to create this framework was awarded to AECOM Technical Services and is pending state legislative approval. AECOM has been tasked with developing strategies to ensure device interoperability, proper data management and effective government-industry partnerships. The goal of this exercise is to make sure that all of the technology developments that go into creating autonomous vehicles can be implemented on standardized technology platforms that will enable an autonomous vehicle to traverse the entire state without problems.

To understand the magnitude of an endeavor like this, you must understand how the typical IoT or “smart” project is developed. Typically, governments develop ideas and pilots in a vacuum, each embarking on their own “from scratch” initiative. Each initiative requires the development of infrastructure and networking, selection of devices, deployment of technology, and collection of data and analysis. For governments like the City of Columbus, this doesn’t present an insurmountable task as many of the necessary pieces already exist. However, where this becomes a barrier is at smaller local governments who don’t have the staff, resources or funding to plan and implement each of those steps.

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New IoT Opportunities to be Found at DoD Facilities

Mark Wisinger_100x135Internet of Things

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Facilities management continues to be the strongest use case for IoT solution sales, especially at the Department of Defense, which maintains thousands of facilities both within and outside the continental U.S. Each individual building contains a wide variety of sensors and devices that need to be actively monitored.

A single building may have systems for fire alarm reporting, closed-circuit TV, HVAC, lighting control, smart grid and physical access control and may include water management and power management devices. The massive amounts of data collected by these systems could help drive better decision making to help the DOD operate more efficiently, protect its assets and personnel, and save money.

Access to HVAC, utility and security system data can provide enormous benefits, but there is inevitable risk too. The DOD is trying to get beyond just worrying about data security compliance and instead wants to focus on managing an acceptable amount of risk.

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Technology Revving Up at Department of Commerce

Tom O'Keefetechnical financial graph on technology abstract backgroundBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

There’s a lot happening in IT at the Department of Commerce right now, from preparing to count the U.S. population to conducting research on weather.

But, perhaps the most significant new thing is a shift in the mindset of the IT organizations throughout the department as they strive to set standards for the latest and greatest technologies. Communicating with mission owners and agency executives and conveying the value of IT spend is a top priority.

It’s not enough anymore to just take the requirements and deliver an IT system. Agency IT leaders are collaborating more closely than ever with their business and finance peers to argue the value of every dollar spent. I just released a new webinar on these IT trends at Commerce, which you can view here.

But first, let’s take a look at where and how this is happening across Commerce. Read more of this post

DOD has a new CIO—Here’s what he needs to know

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

The Department of Defense recently announced its new chief information officer, Dana Deasy, who already has a tall order to fill.

When Deasy formally takes over in May he will have three main priorities as it relates to cyber: cloud and cloud security, overseeing U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) promotion to a Unified Combatant Command and upgrading the DOD cyber workforce.

The private sector cyber community could have a key role to play here. But first, here’s what you need to know about what faces Deasy:

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