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a highly federated environment, huge volumes of sensitive, classified or legally-protected data, all running on outdated legacy technology, and you get the government’s current situation: struggling to stay ahead of the latest threats in an increasingly dangerous digital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

Artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and beyond

artificial intelligence, government, securityBy Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

Artificial intelligence has been making headway in the IT sector with a focus on cybersecurity. Spending on AI and machine learning, which helps make AI possible, will grow from $12 billion in 2017 to $57.6 billion by 2021, according to IDC.

And it’s starting to get the attention of federal, state and local government IT personnel who see it as a way to increase and optimize automation for enhanced judgment and cost reduction.

The largest opportunity for AI is cybersecurity. Government agencies spend significant resources and people hours adapting to cyber threats while hacker technology becomes even more persistent and evolving. This is the wild west with cybersecurity and the trick is to stay one step ahead of malware, spyware and viruses that aim to corrupt and compromise sensitive processes and data.

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What you need to know about selling cyber

By Amanda Stone, cybersecurity channel development representative

As cybersecurity salespeople, we never lack reminders that the cyber landscape is a truly unsettling place. Each new headline-stealing breach exposes another example of how vulnerable we are. Feeding the exponential growth of cybersecurity threats are the number of avenues hackers can use to obtain our consumer data, the number of rewards for its theft and the relative lack of deterrents.

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Faraz Siraj, regional vice president of Americas’ Channels, Distribution and Alliances for RSA Security, about best practices for cyber sales reps working for various VARs and distributors.

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Everything you need to know about Army’s cyber strategy

Stephanie Melonicybersecurity, DOD, ArmyBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant

With more than $8 billion requested in cyber-specific funding across the Department of Defense for FY19, cyber is top of mind for DOD leadership. It’s no secret the Army has struggled with protecting and strengthening its networks, and there are numerous modernization programs in the works that fall outside of higher-profile items like WIN-T for the tactical network.

One overarching program that will be vital to the Army’s cyber operations will Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO). This is a relatively new office that was stood up in early 2017 at the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS).

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Can data be protected through shared services?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

Any guesses on how much data is generated every year by government and government-related apps? More than 1,000 billion bytes. It’s a staggering number.

Naturally you wonder how is all of that data protected? How do we protect the information that makes our electric grid, air traffic, voting processes and other government-controlled functions keep working safely and reliably?

One obvious answer is to improve the way services are shared between government agencies – and between government and private industry.

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