State & Local Governments Focus on Continuity of Operations

Rachel Eckert

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

Fiscal environments at the state and local government level are very different today than they were even a few weeks ago. Budgets presented earlier this year are now being adjusted, as many governments face an upcoming revenue shortfall.

Taxes that would have been collected on our trips to the movies, restaurants and shopping malls are now not flowing into government treasuries. Fairfax County, Virginia, for example, is predicting significantly less revenue due to drops in sales tax collections, hotel occupancy taxes, car taxes, business taxes and more. With less revenue, they will have to delay some or all new programs, including additional funding for school technology purchases, police body cameras and affordable housing.

The impact is felt beyond Fairfax County. Seattle, Washington is predicting a revenue shortfall of $110 million. The State of New York comptroller has estimated that the current crisis could cost the state $7 billion in lost revenues for their fiscal year 2021, which started April 1.

State and local governments will still need to acquire IT though. As they navigate the current fiscal environment they will only be able to think about what’s most essential for their continued operations. Here’s how you can help support their critical needs: Read more of this post

TIC 3.0 Is Shaping Government Network Security to the Edge

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

In an increasingly interconnected world, we often take for granted the availability and security of networks whenever we sign on to our devices. Agencies are now taking a closer look at the bandwidth and security of their networks and the Department of Homeland Security has been ahead of that curve — working on updating its Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) policy.

Draft guidance on TIC 3.0 is in process, with new documents expected to be published this spring. TIC policy aims to standardize security rules for networks, so you can bet federal agencies will be paying close attention to this guidance as it is released. Here is a look at TIC 3.0 and what it means for you.

Security Moving Out

With more agencies moving away from traditional network perimeters and into complex cloud environments, TIC 3.0 is defining where to secure these networks. One thing is for sure, as TIC 3.0 Program Manager Sean Connelly pointed out at the FCW Cloud Security Workshop in February, TIC 3.0 is moving security tools towards the users and applications themselves.   Read more of this post

Winners in the FY21 Defense Budget Request

By Toné Mason, Senior DOD Analyst

The President is requesting $705.4B in DOD funding for FY21, which is a modest 0.1% increase from FY20. The biggest winner by far is U.S. Space Force, but there are still plenty of opportunities across DOD and the services for IT vendors.

Announced in FY20, funding for Space Force in FY21 is largely focused on providing funding for the establishment of the organization as a whole. More details regarding metrics and objectives are anticipated to be further developed over the next few years. From what we know at this time, automation, infrastructure, cyber and data analytics are anticipated to be key areas of interest for them.

Here’s a summary of DOD budget highlights for FY21. Read more of this post

Improving Citizen Experience Is Driving State & Local CIOs

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

CIOs are looking to engage citizens in the way they would like to be engaged – be that through the traditional in-person experience, on the phone, online, through social media or even using AI and chatbots. This was one of the major themes this year that came out of the recent Beyond the Beltway conference (besides the ever-present cybersecurity of course). Both state and local CIOs listed improving the citizen experience as one of their top priorities.

Speakers agreed that no matter the engagement method, the process should be seamless to the citizen, almost like a “one-stop” shop for everything a citizen might need from the government. Read more of this post

Painless FedRAMP Authorization: Four Steps to Follow

By Ryan Gilhooley, Enterprise Cloud Solutions Manager

My last column compared the merits of outsourcing FedRAMP authorization with doing it on your own. Many companies have successfully navigated the process on their own. Small independent software vendors (ISVs), however, may find it more advantageous to outsource.

Here are four key areas you should consider when pursuing FedRAMP authorization:

  1. Sponsorship
  2. Leadership buy-in
  3. Knowing the process
  4. Communication

Read more of this post

FY21 Civilian Budget Request: Look Past the Budget Cuts

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

The president’s fiscal year 2021 budget request has been released, and while you may be laser-focused on this year’s sales, you can bet your government customers are already thinking about next year’s priorities. While the nearly across-the-board cuts at the civilian agencies are grabbing headlines, a deeper dive reveals a treasure trove of high-level plans at a few of the biggest agencies. Factor the following into your FY21 strategy:

Department of Homeland Security

DHS is the top civilian spender on IT and there are some definite growth areas in the agency for FY21. FEMA stands out as a fertile ground for IT vendors as the agency looks to tackle multiple large projects in FY21:

  • Continuing to develop a single cloud-based grants management platform
  • Updating its legacy financial management system
  • Bolstering the efforts of its Enterprise Analytics division to improve infrastructure and data analytics 

Read more of this post

If You Want to be Successful in SLED, the Right Contracts Are a Must

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

State and local governments buy a wide variety of goods and services – from food stuffs and linens to police radios and technology. They also buy large volumes of goods and services, which could present a financial risk if they’re not purchased from a reputable source at a fair price. That’s why competitively bid contracts are essential to both government and vendors.

Government Benefits From Competitively Bid Contracts

To guarantee that the state or local government is getting the best value and a fair price, state and local governments leverage a competitive process to determine the vendor(s) who best meet this criteria. This competitive process results in one or more awarded contracts that specify what the government may purchase, from whom they can purchase and a guaranteed maximum price. This reduces the overall risk for the government – something extremely important to ensure their continued ability to serve their citizens. Read more of this post

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