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Commerce Department Now Embraces GitHub for 'Collaborative Problem Solving'

By Steve Cooper and Tyrone Grandison // June 28, 2016

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Steve Cooper is the chief information officer at the Commerce Department and Tyrone Grandison is the deputy chief data officer at the Commerce Department. This post originally appeared June 27 on LinkedIn Pulse and has been edited for style.

On June 2, 2016, the Office of the Chief Information Officer for the Commerce Department issued another game-changing announcement: "GitHub can be used to collaboratively build open source software.”

GitHub is a popular tool used by the developer community for version control and collaboratively problem solving. 

In May 2016, a technical review of the GitHub was conducted using the department's Technical Review Process, which consists of evaluations in the following areas:

  1. Terms of Service
  2. IT security
  3. Records management
  4. Privacy 
  5. Section 508 Compliance

Various subject matter experts conducted technical assessments in their specific area of expertise and provided their findings to Commerce’s Technical Review Board, which is composed by enterprise architects from Commerce bureaus. Based on these findings, the TRB recommended the use of GitHub for collaboratively building open source software.

It is hoped that this will be a catalyst for solution development and user engagement in helping the department -- America's data agency -- tackle some of the most challenging...

The Essential ‘Soft Side’ of Running a Security Operations Center Investigation

By Steve Bongardt // June 14, 2016

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Steve Bongardt is regional vice president of security consulting services at Fidelis Cybersecurity.

Your security operations have all the technical controls, processes and equipment in place. You have all the right experts, yet, you need more. What about your team’s ability to communicate and share information, their state of mind and behavior?

It’s an important factor to a Security Operations Center, or SOC, investigation often missed. If you ignore the “people side” of the equation, other complexities can arise.

I learned a thing or two in my 20 years at the FBI as a member of the Computer Analysis Response Team, profiling units, major terrorism case responses and counterintelligence emergencies. Reflecting on human behavior (what I call “the soft side”), I experienced first-hand our emergency personnel’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the crash of TWA Flight 800, the 1998 East African Embassy Bombings and International Olympic Command Posts. I see interesting parallels and similar behaviors tied to critical SOC breach investigations. Here are some similarities and insights:

1. You Can’t Perform at 100 Percent, 100 Percent of the Time

There is a tendency for those in command to run their people...

5 Things to Watch for When Alliant 2 Hits the Streets

By Brian Friel // June 6, 2016

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Brian Friel is the founder of One Nation Analytics, an independent research and analytics firm for the federal market. This post first appeared June 3 on LinkedIn Pulse and has been edited for style and clarity.

The General Services Administration announced June 3 the final request for proposals for the largest federal IT services opportunities of the decade -- Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business -- will be issued on or after June 20. I've been working with companies to assess their chances of winning based on my scoring of all the potential bidders. Here are five things I'll be watching for in the final RFPs:

1. Teaming. Section 867 of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act requires agencies allow small businesses to form teams to bid on multiple-award contracts such as Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business. The law does not discuss large businesses. In the recent VETS 2 final RFP, GSA permitted teaming involving an SDVOSB prime and any small businesses that could contribute relevant experience points. I expect the same to be true in the final RFPs for the Alliant 2 contracts.

2. Penalties for new teams. VETS 2 came with a catch. It introduced...

What Possibilities Can Virtual Reality Bring Beyond the Gaming World?

By John Breeden II // May 11, 2016

Visitors wearing virtual reality devices play games at a display booth for Qualcomm at the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Thursday, April 28, 2016.
Visitors wearing virtual reality devices play games at a display booth for Qualcomm at the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Thursday, April 28, 2016. // Andy Wong/AP

John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology and government. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys.

Virtual reality is one of those technologies that has sat on the edge between reality and science fiction for decades, but is now finally going mainstream. And although this first modern generation of VR is beginning life mostly focused on games, don’t think that is where this technology will end up.

Being a huge nerd, my first real VR experiences go back a bit, to the Dactyl Nightmare arcade game. It was a stand-up unit, probably costing something like $100,000 at the time. You shot a really blocky-looking crossbow at an opponent in the neighboring pod, and also defended against an annoying pterodactyl (hence the name) that liked to swoop down from your blind side.

It was far from an immersive experience, and while that didn’t keep me from spending a small fortune mastering the game, its possible real-world applications were rather limiting.

In fact, VR mostly died for a while around that...

4 Steps to Consider When Creating a Cloud Strategy in 2016

By Adam Clater // May 6, 2016

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Adam Clater is a chief cloud architect in Red Hat’s public sector.

Ever since the National Institute of Standards and Technology published its definition of cloud computing, government agencies and industry have worked together to diligently embrace and deploy cloud infrastructure throughout government IT.

We have seen a combination of public as well as private clouds -- with some agencies emerging as providers to others within the federal government. We have also witnessed different agencies pooling cloud resources to create community clouds so they adhere to various regulatory compliance mandates while saving time, money and resources.

We can say with confidence that government has made strides in the adoption of cloud technologies. In fact, a recent report by Market Research Media projects federal cloud spending to surpass $10 billion by 2020.

The reasons for this growth are manifold. At its core, the cloud helps agencies improve the services they provide while lowering the cost of providing and maintaining the resulting applications and infrastructure. Agencies can do this while providing an environment for innovation and better engagement with end users. These results have become the rallying cry of CIOs throughout the government.

Expectations of end users and customers have evolved as...