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How Should Agencies Address the Big Data Opportunity?

By Francessca Vasquez // January 19, 2017

Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com

Francessca Vasquez is group vice president of Oracle Cloud & Infrastructure Solutions

The promises and potential of big data have been discussed and analyzed ad nauseam. A greater amount of information promises to bring improvements in everything that we do—from medical research to agriculture. However, such improvements require smart analytics and advanced processing to capture valuable insights in the sea of information available.

Big data is of particular importance for government, as valuable insights from it can significantly improve the everyday life of citizens, including increasing efficiency of public transport and better managing Social Security payments.

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At the same time, the federal government operates under very strict data conservation rules, maintaining huge repositories of data for decades—many still in paper form, surprisingly. Combined with the increasing amount of information gathered through internet and sensors, agencies need a way to capture, analyze and store a big variety of data efficiently and securely.

Administration’s Focus on Big Data

Realizing the potential of big data, the Obama administration launched the Big Data Research and Development Initiative in 2012 to develop big data technologies, demonstrate applications...

With Self-Driving Cars, the Future is Now

By Shawn DuBravac // January 9, 2017

A Google self-driving car is seen on display at Google's I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif.
A Google self-driving car is seen on display at Google's I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif. // Eric Risberg/AP

Shawn DuBravac is chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association and the author of "Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Communicate." Follow him on Twitter @shawndubravac.

In the late 1960s, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite hosted a weekly TV series that predicted what life might be like 30-plus years in the future. "The 21st Century" featured interviews with scientists, researchers and engineers working on the cutting edge of technology.

A half century later, as we saw at the 50th anniversary of CES, the global stage for innovation, much of what was considered the stuff of science fiction—futuristic, even beyond belief—is today, if not taken for granted, then certainly within reach technologically, especially when it comes to today’s transportation transformation.

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Consider the following example from "The 21st Century."

"Autos, Autos Everywhere” was a 1967 look at the cars of the future. Cronkite tests potential concepts like steering controls, screens that give the driver a view behind the car, and an automated route control system that could provide the driver with speed limit...

Priorities for Enhancing National Cybersecurity

By Jamie Brown // January 4, 2017

mozakim/Shutterstock.com

Jamie Brown is the director of global government relations for CA Technologies.

Presidential transitions are a time of considerable change in government, including new agency leaders and evolving policy priorities. But many issues persist, and this is certainly the case with cybersecurity. Advancing our nation’s cybersecurity posture must be a key priority for the Trump administration, especially if we are to maximize the benefits of digital transformation.

The nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity—which includes cybersecurity experts from industry, academia and government—recently delivered policy recommendations and action items for consideration by the new president and Congress. The comprehensiveness of the report reflects the public-private approach the commission took in seeking input on what our nation’s cybersecurity priorities should be in the years ahead.

Still, there are several areas that should be prioritized and improved upon.

First, the report rightly recognizes the critical role of identity-centric security in the digital economy, given identity is a key attack vector. The report recommends the launch of a national public-private initiative to increase the use of strong authentication to improve identity management.

The commission also stresses the importance of authenticating devices in an internet of things environment. But there needs...

4 Skills Every Threat Hunter Should Have

By Carl Manion // January 3, 2017

sakkmesterke/Shutterstock.com

Carl Manion is a managing principal of Raytheon Foreground Security.

Targeted attack campaigns by advanced cyber adversaries have become a mainstay that most—if not all—organizations now need to be concerned about. This type of threat may stay hidden on your network, undetected for long periods of time, laterally moving across your systems as the attackers try to find the valuable information they’re interested in stealing.

Although such targeted attacks are difficult to detect, there are proven techniques and best practices, such as threat hunting, that can be implemented to significantly improve your chances of finding clues that serve as indicators of ongoing attacks. As such, it’s highly critical for enterprises to incorporate best practices into their security operations to mitigate the risks that targeted attacks pose.

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Implementing a threat-hunting capability, along with standard IT security controls and monitoring systems, can improve an organization’s ability to detect and respond to threats. Because threat hunting is primarily a human-based activity, it takes skilled threat-hunting experts to implement an effective program.

So what makes a threat hunter successful? Here’s a list...

Public Sector IT Trends for 2017

By Tom Ruff // December 30, 2016

ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Tom Ruff is vice president of public sector at Akamai.

The government landscape is shifting, not just when it comes to technology, but culturally as well. Regarding technology, the increasing digital demands of the public are coming at the same time as additional technological guidance from the federal government.

On the cultural side, an incredible increase in young workers is coming at the same time as a decline of older workers facing retirement. All of this impacts the business of government and will be top of mind for agencies as they plan for the new year. But before we get into the specifics of this coming year, let’s take a look back at 2016, as some of the most compelling trends will likely carry into 2017 as well.

Biggest Changes in 2016

Not surprising, 2016 was a big year for cybersecurity at the state and federal level. The number and sophistication of breaches that occurred in 2015, along with distributed denial-of-service attacks that made headlines, brought to light what was previously an unfunded mandate. And everyone knew that had to change in 2016. Between the creation of the Cybersecurity National Action Plan and the federal chief information security officer...

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