How Agencies Can Cut Through the ‘Fog of More’ in Cybersecurity

By Ted Ritter // April 14, 2015


Ted Ritter is a senior security analyst with TaaSera.

The harsh reality of today’s cyberwar is nine out of 10 organizations’ defenses are already compromised by malware and malicious insiders. And federal agencies cyber-incidents are increasing at a rate of 33 percent year over year.

To combat this reality, agency IT security teams are continually looking for new security products and services to get ahead of the threat. Vendors are more than happy to oblige, continually offering new products: existing product upgrades, repurposing current technologies, and completely new technologies and approaches.

This rapidly expanding solution landscape mapped against the constantly changing threat landscape is creating a “fog of more” scenario, where it’s increasingly difficult for agencies to focus on the greatest risk, the greatest threats and the most-effective means to address them. 

For example, malware defense is just one critical component of every agency security architecture. It consists of a plethora of vendor products. Figuring out the best product with the right underlying technology to meet the current and future agency needs is a daunting task.

Agencies must find a way to cut through the fog and quickly project a new technology’s potential impact on the agency ...

How to Not be the Next

By Luke Fretwell // April 2, 2015

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh as well as an adviser for civic and government-focused businesses. 

Rightfully so, there’s somewhat of a backlash to the newly re-designed that launched today.

The site has never really lived up to its potential, but hopefully this will begin to change now that it has moved beyond past issues and could get support from 18F and U.S. Digital Service.

Nextgov has a short historical overview of the vendor issues related to its storied past, FierceGovernmentIT’s Molly Bernhart Walker has a great post with respect to the release’s impact on businesses who rely on the service as part of their core offerings, as does Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington related to the impact on transparency.

Regardless of the vendor drama and complexity around delivering data specific to USAspending, here is a simple formula for any government working on the release of a new public-facing website:

Data first, design second. Regardless of what the site looks like, the data should be publicly accessible via an application programming interface or bulk download. Every government website that launches from here on out should have a data strategy and execution plan ...

Drop the ‘Magic’ Cloud Talk and 5 Other Steps to Cloud Migration Success

By Dan Chenok // March 27, 2015

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Dan Chenok is the executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government

The IBM Center recently hosted a roundtable discussion among several agency chief information officers and IT leaders about the state of play when it comes to cloud migration.

Participants shared insights and perspectives about success factors, lessons learned and areas where further thinking and research would benefit government.

Six key themes emerged from the discussion:

1. Establishing Consistent Understanding of What “Cloud” Means  

There is a need for common understanding and language across agencies -- and between CIO organizations, business units and program offices -- to clarify the conversations around "cloud."  

The Office of Management and Budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the General Services Administration can help to advance this consistent framework, which could address a number of elements:

  • The connection between cloud and data center consolidation
  • A way to describe migration of applications and workloads into the cloud
  • Setting out a common view for how cloud is operationalized and consumed. Elements include: bandwidth, storage, electricity, rent, cost models and user expectations
  • Shared performance metrics and service-level agreements across agencies, in areas spanning security, availability, scalability, price and efficiency

2. Adopting an Enterprise ...

Ideas for the New White House Chief Digital Officer

By Luke Fretwell // March 25, 2015

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh as well as an adviser for civic and government-focused businesses.

On Tuesday, the White House named former Twitter product lead Jason Goldman as the nation’s first chief digital officer.

From Goldman announcing his new role:

“The platforms that have been the most successful are the ones that have created the best and most meaningful opportunities for participation. My job will be to use those online tools to create meaningful opportunities for American citizens to participate in our government.”

In his announcement, Goldman asks citizens (using the hashtag #socialcivics) to share their answers to the question, “How can we  -- our government and you and your communities  -- better connect online to make America better?”

Here are my ideas:

  • Turn into a media outlet for our times. The White House is essentially a media machine, telling the story of the president and, more broadly, the executive branch. It produces great content -- blogs, videos, photos — but as we currently know it is a product built for 2009 and so much in media and Web product design has changed since then. We are starting to learn, and even know more about, what a ...

Agencies Need Broadband Today – Why Wait for NS2020?

By Tony Bardo // March 23, 2015


Tony Bardo is assistant vice president for government solutions at Hughes.

Last year, the General Services Administration announced the Network Services 2020 Strategy will supersede Networx, the federal government’s existing telecommunications program that expires in 2017.

A slow initial migration to Networx caused agencies to miss out on literally hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of savings and -- according to the Government Accountability Office -- caused GSA to spend $66 million to support it. GSA recently announced a three-year contract extension for the Networx program, pushing the transition time frame from 2017 to 2020.

However, agencies immediately need capabilities offered by NS2020, and will suffer financial and operational setbacks the longer they wait in procuring these capabilities. And the truth is, in many instances, they don’t have to wait: Much of the emerging technology is available today under the GSA Schedule.

There is much to be excited about in NS2020. In addition to addressing a common agency complaint about the lack of bundled ordering in Networx, it seeks to bring more private sector competition into this program. It divides its offerings into categories for Infrastructure Solutions, Satellite, Mobility/Wireless, Advisory Services, Emerging Technology and Services, and Government Shared Services ...