Top 3 HHS IT programs planning procurements in FY22

By Jessica Parks, market intelligence analyst

In a previous blog post, I went over the top three IT programs at the Department of Justice planning acquisitions. Now that the new administration has released the official FY22 budget, I would like to explore similar opportunities at another large agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. (As I’ve mentioned previously, this information is all publicly available in the Exhibit 53.)

Read on for a brief description of these programs and how you can position yourself accordingly.

1) CMS Federally Facilitated Exchange

Based within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the FFE is the platform that supports the health insurance marketplace. This is the single largest IT investment at HHS and has been a crucial system for the agency for many years. Total IT funding for FY22 is expected to be more than $417M, with $176M being DME funding (i.e., new money to spend on program upgrades and additions).

The main objectives for this investment are to stay innovative and ensure minimal downtime. Automated customer service solutions as well as solutions that ensure secure information sharing could play a role here. Talk to the folks in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight for more detail.

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The importance of data monitoring and Zero Trust in battling ransomware

By Derek Giarratana, supplier manager

Ransomware is real and security threats continue to evolve, with new ones emerging daily. At times, organizations can feel that they won’t fall victim to ransomware, but now is not the time to ignore the facts. In 2019, it was reported that ransomware attacks were up by 41 percent, and in 2020 with the pandemic at the forefront, it was predicted that an attack occurred every 11 seconds.

In addition to the sheer volume of attacks, today’s ransomware and malware are also gaining in sophistication. Using random extensions and file names, the latest threats are making detection using blocked list solutions difficult and, in many cases, completely ineffective.

Every time an attack occurs, it takes significant time and money to remediate. Recovery time takes, on average, at least 16 days, and 67% of organizations that have been hit by an attack have lost all or part of their data. This is particularly problematic for public sector organizations that are faced with strict compliance requirements such as HIPPA, GDPR, CIPA, and CJIS.

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NIST IoT Security Guidelines Will Impact Federal Vendors

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Last week, NIST released draft IoT security guidelines which will have far reaching impacts on security requirements contractors must follow before selling IoT-related technology to the government. These guidelines are some of the action items coming from the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020, a law passed in December that calls for established cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased by the federal government.

The new law requires NIST and OMB to shape and enforce security standards agencies need to follow when purchasing IoT devices. NIST has until March 2021 to finalize standards and guidelines. These draft regulations represent that first step. Vendors are invited to submit comments by February 12, 2021 – and they should take advantage of this opportunity!

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Are passwords really on their way out?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, manager

If you don’t have a few passwords swirling around in your head, you’re likely not living a digital life. Passwords have been the default entry to computers and devices for decades. As soon as it became possible for multiple users to have access to the same computer system, so too was the need for some form of identity authentication.

Today, the prevalence of internet banking, personally identifiable information and corporate records stored online have made passwords a prime vector for cyberattacks.

Why are passwords so attractive? One word: convenience.

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Blockchain is all the rage and now government is interested

Tom O'KeefeblockchainBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Everyone’s piling on blockchain as the hip buzzword of the year. Companies that have inserted blockchain in their name have seen their stock prices rise, and simply mentioning that blockchain is part of your technology can be a surefire way to secure investment from venture capital firms.

And now, the federal government is getting in on blockchain, with a recent NIST draft publication highlighting where and when blockchain could be valuable. And federal agencies are paying attention.

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Could regulation be the best thing for IoT?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.cybersecurity, IoTBy Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence manager

A new year inspires a fresh look at various issues facing the IT industry and one of them is how the Internet of Things devices should be regulated.

There have been several relevant bills on the Hill since summer, but a recently introduced bill addresses perceived vulnerabilities in the security of IoT devices sold to the federal government. It also addresses the security of medical devices that connect to the Internet. IoT device manufacturers would also have responsibilities to ensure security over the life of the devices.

The counter-argument to this legislation is that disclosure and certification requirements could create additional liability for device manufacturers.

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IoT snapshot: the potential and the risks

By Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

During immixGroup’s 4th annual Government IT Sales Summit, government and industry IT leaders addressed what’s under the IoT umbrella and how public sector enterprises are using these tools now.

Here are some highlights of the IoT snapshot: The potential and the risks panel:

Where in this ecosystem should our partners and suppliers spend most of their time to bring the most value to their customers?

If you look at IT versus IoT, the world of IT was clients and servers. The client was relatively smart ­– your phones, tablets, PCs – so it balanced the IT issue between the client and the server. Now that we’re progressing into more IoT, the challenge is that the endpoint node is going to be really dumb; it’s not going to have a lot of processing power or memory. We end up with this new thing called a gateway, and that gateway is where we’ll control nodes, processing and the edge compute work, and this is the new platform from which IoT will work on.

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3 challenges facing IoT adoption in government

By Kevin Shaker and Mark Wisinger, senior analysts

There’s no question that the internet of things market, whether government or commercial, is going to grow dramatically over the next few years.

We recently blogged about the federal market growing to $3 billion by 2018, which is a 20 percent jump from 2016. An even more dramatic prediction is that the number of devices connected to the internet will hit 20 billion by 2020.

“There’s going to be more IoT devices on the internet than everything else we’ve ever touched before,” said Stephen DiFranco, principal of the IoT Advisory Group, at immixGroup’s recent Market Intelligence event.

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New IoT Security Principles On the Way

Tom O'Keefeiot-security_blog090816By Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant

If you want to look for a growing area of investment in federal IT, look no further than securing the Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s been a lot of recent talk about the IoT, with one of the latest conversation led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at an August 31st workshop to help industry get a grasp on the roadmap the federal government is pursuing in the coming year. IoT leaders across federal agencies will outline strategic principles that will guide near-and-long term purchasing decisions in securing internet-connected devices.

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The Virginia Opportunity to Jump on Now

Rachel EckertWelcomeToVirginiaBy Rachel Eckert, Consultant

In business, one company’s loss can be another’s gain. In the case of Virginia disentangling from its 13-year, $2.3 billion IT contract with Northrop Grumman, it will be several companies’ gain.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently reported that the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) decided to launch a new strategy, going from the current single-service provider to multiple vendors for shorter periods of time.

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