What government needs to do to speed up cyber defenses

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

Two cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management in 2015 prompted the federal government to move quickly to award $500 million worth of government-wide BPAs for identity monitoring and data breach response and protection services.

It begs the question of where that money was before the problem.

More problems like this are increasingly likely as we all rely on more IT infrastructures that may not be up to the challenge of increased use. Down the road, better coordination between tech vendors and buyers before the acquisition process will be able to stem the cyber tide. But what do we do in the meantime with what we have now?

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Movement to Make America’s Parks a Wi-Fi Paradise

NationalParkWifi_KSKevin Shaker_65 x 85by Analyst, Kevin Shaker

In the last few months we’ve seen a large push to make Wi-Fi available at parks across the country. Last week, a group of legislators wrote a letter to the President requesting deeper network connectivity and mobility across America’s 409 national parks. Currently, many of the country’s national parks have spotty reception at best.

The new National Park Service (NPS) networking hardware and the addition of Wi-Fi would not only improve visitor experience, it would make employees more effective. For example, Wi-Fi- enabled tools would allow trail rangers and tourist guides to better identify and communicate hazard positions and wildlife movements.

Early this year, NPS launched a “Go Digital” campaign, using the hashtag #NationalParks so visitors can share their wild life experiences through their mobile devices. Wi-Fi-equipped parks are becoming a hot topic and if you’re a router or network provider, you’ll want to pay attention to the President’s budget — scheduled to come out on February 9th. NPS officials have already started conversations on running a $34 million fiber-optic line from Grand Teton National Park into Yellowstone via CenturyLink. This line would create better connectivity for communication. You’ll want to reach out to the NPS Information Resources Directorate, which can be seen as the end-user implementation group as well as the Department of the Interior’s CIO IT Shared Services group.

The National Park Service isn’t the only group that might be expanding its Wi-Fi and mobile capabilities in the foreseeable future. The letter to the President comes shortly after the City of San Francisco finished installing Wi-Fi equipment at more than 30 city parks. Other cities such as New Orleans and New York City have already begun offering Wi-Fi areas within their parks as well. Parks across the country are inevitably becoming connected and if you offer network and mobile capabilities, you’ll want to become part of this exciting movement.

Need help identifying top infrastructure IT decision makers and opportunities within the Department of the Interior and state and local governments? Contact immixGroup’s industry-leading Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific programs and contacts that have a pressing need for your IT solution.

One Year Out of DISA’s Reorg – Five C’s Still Shaping IT Priorities Part II

DISA_220x100Lloyd McCoy Jr.by DOD Manager, Lloyd McCoy

Building on last week’s blog post — which focused on DISA’s Five C’s that continue to play large role in shaping their IT Priorities — lets now turn to the two offices that serve as the focal point for IT investments and programs within DISA: The Development and Business Center (led by Alfred Rivera) and The Implementation and Sustainment Center (led by David Bennett). I’ll also explore some of the directorates tied to each office, which underpin programs and contract opportunities.

1. DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS CENTER

The Development and Business Center (DBC) is where DISA determines their approach to developing and deploying new technologies and capabilities, under the framework of the Five C’s mentioned earlier. Industry engagement and demands from the rest of DOD influence their procurement decisions. This Center should be your first stopping point if you want to get your solutions inducted into DISA. Within the DBC are two directorates which control the vast majority of the top programs and contract opportunities within this organization: Services Development (SD) and Infrastructure Development Directorates (ID). Read more of this post

One Year Out of DISA’s Reorg – Five C’s Still Shaping IT Priorities Part I

DISA_220x100Lloyd McCoy Jr.by Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager

We’re a year removed from DISA’s reorganization — a restructuring largely aimed at giving the agency the flexibility and responsiveness it needs to effectively engage with industry and its primary customer: the Department of Defense (DOD). No different than before, DISA’s IT priorities are shaped by what they call the “five c’s”: cybersecurity, cloud, collaboration, and C2 (command and control). These priorities are influenced by the Joint Information Environment’s (JIE) emphasis on infrastructure consolidation, information sharing, and shared services.

Here’s what you need to know about the five c’s and the opportunities they bring to IT vendors:

  1. Cybersecurity
    DISA’s goal is to remove vulnerability from DOD’s network. The agency is heavily invested in bringing situational awareness to network defenders, through consolidating security stacks, marrying together big data, analytics and cybersecurity, and investing in tools to secure DOD’s network. If a breach does occur, DISA is looking for solutions that will limit the lateral movement of attackers within the network. Cybersecurity vendors should note that DISA is also looking to inject more automation in security and have specifically called out automated compliance, scanning and monitoring as areas where they want to improve. Read more of this post

Slow Week in the Office? Watch On-Demand Sessions from the Government IT Sales Summit!

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing Allan Rubin 65x85

immixGroup’s 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit is done, but thanks to the magic of Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee, it lives on forever on the Web (well maybe not forever).

This year’s event attracted nearly 1,000 sales, marketing, channel, and business executives from the public sector IT community who all came with one purpose: to get real-world perspectives and actionable information that helps them increase their government sales.

Since many of you tried but failed to be in two places at once, we’ve got a treat for you:  video and audio recordings of all 19 sessions (as well as downloadable presentations) are now available on demand at immixgroup.com/summit2015.

Sessions explore everything from the newest technology developments in Big Data, Cybersecurity, and The Internet of Things to the latest government IT priorities and what they mean for technology companies that sell their products to the government. Watch the keynote address by Walter Isaacson (highly recommended), panel discussions led by government IT leaders, and the 11th Annual DOD and Civilian Budget Briefings (our most popular sessions by far)— anytime, anywhere.

If you’ve got some extra time to kill over the holidays, grab a notepad and check out some of the videos. They’ll help you start strong in January.

3 Joint Staff Takeaways from MILCOM 2015

Number 3 Fingers_CroppedMark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Joint Staff J6 Director Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman recently spoke at MILCOM 2015 with DOD topics such as the Joint Information Environment (JIE), the Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS), and interoperability top of mind. These reflections shed light on the Joint Staff’s IT priorities and challenges.

Here are the three main takeaways that COTS vendors and channel partners (large and small) will find of value:

  1. Common Architecture

At this juncture, Lt. Gen. Bowman believes the DOD’s JIE should be more advanced — progress is not moving fast enough. He indicated that there is a need for common architecture, especially an architecture than can be controlled by the Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) via the DOD Information Network Joint Force Headquarters (DODIN-JFHQ). Open and compatible architecture is a continuing challenge for the DOD at large. Ensure your product messaging emphasizes compatibility, as this is the key element the Joint Staff is looking for in COTS products. Read more of this post

3 Aspects of Navigating Government Convergence

ImmixgroupGOVit-219_250x166Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

As immixGroup’s 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit draws closer, I want to give you an inside look at the major theme of this year’s 11th Annual Civilian Budget Briefing: convergence. Whether in acquisition, management structure, or technology, the federal COTS market is positioned to come together in new ways this year.

Here are three broad trends the Market Intelligence organization will explore next Thursday, November 19th at the 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit: Read more of this post

SOCOM’s New Office to Become Lead on Sourcing Mobility and Cloud Solutions

SOCOM_MWMark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Recent changes at SOCOM (Special Operations Command) reflect the organization’s increasing need for mobility and cloud solutions. In case you didn’t know, SOCOM’s acquisition structure is similar to that of the Service branches: the Program Executive Offices (PEOs) are responsible for IT procurement and program management. SOCOM’s PEO C4 handles acquisition for IT products through its program portfolio.

At the 2015 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, SOCOM unveiled a new division office under PEO C4 called, Next Generation Infrastructure. This new office is responsible for identifying cutting-edge commercial off-the-shelf solutions for networking, in the areas of network security and storage. This includes technologies such as mobility, mobility networking, identity management, and the cloud. SOCOM has always prioritized infrastructure and telecommunications as the cornerstone to maintaining connectivity with warfighters in the field. Read more of this post

Mobility Fueling IT Infrastructure Purchases at EPA

Mobile ProductsKevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has both the budget and mission in place to make mobility their next big priority, creating ample opportunities for IT mobile solution providers to help them advance this initiative. The agency’s Strategic Plan outlines a need to increase mobile solutions through FY18. Additionally, the EPA’s FY16 budget request is $45M more than FY15 enacted levels, making the agency a great place to get your solution baked into their IT framework.

The EPA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) originally planned to provide all agency employees mobile access by the end of FY15, yet there is still much work to be done as indicated in the EPA’s Technology Infrastructure Modernization (TIM) Exhibit 300. TIM is the infrastructure piece of the EPA’s IT architecture. In the past TIM centered around data center consolidation, but since the data centers have been merged that are filtering into the EPA’s National Computing Center, the investment is now in virtualization and enterprise mobility. In FY16, the EPA will administer an agency-wide refresh, giving IT vendors the opportunity to sell mobile and infrastructure solutions for TIM’s IT framework. Read more of this post

Cloud Migration Next Big Priority for DOD?

cloud computingStephanie Meloni_65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Lately we’re seeing cloud migration at DOD gain some real traction and more importantly, the IT dollars behind it are making the cloud DOD’s next big IT priority. At DISA and the Army there have been recent signs DOD may finally be taking the necessary steps to migrate data and applications to the cloud. Moving to the cloud is seen as the next critical step for the Joint Information Environment (JIE).

DISA is no longer the designated “cloud broker” for DOD, however the Department is serving as the de facto advisor for cloud computing and will still remain in charge of cloud standards and security requirements. DISA just issued a best practices document for DOD customers looking to purchase commercial cloud solutions. This document is not about DOD policy in regards to the cloud, but rather a reference guide for government customers planning to migrate to the cloud, outlining different cloud models’ features and benefits, based on lessons learned throughout the DOD. The Army’s CIO/G-6 office released the Army Commercial Cloud Services Provider Policy. This publication focuses on the Army’s process of system and application rationalization, ensuring that both are reviewed properly before moving over to Commercial Services Providers (CSPs) in the cloud. It’s important for industry to review these documents in order to understand DOD customers’ processes, as well as the challenges they face as they move to the cloud.
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