recommended reading


6 Things the Public Sector Can Learn from Banking

By Brian Gorham // July 7, 2016


Brian Gorham is a sales manager with Escher Group.

Think about when you last wrote a paper check, withdrew money from a bank clerk or only had access to your balance during office hours. All these processes have drastically changed in the last few decades. The sector has evolved into one of the most innovative and progressive developers of technology.

It feels like a seamless development of staggering technological and organizational achievements. Everyday things such as credit cards, ATMs and online banking are all taken for granted. Banking has achieved a level of pre-eminence that has not been surpassed in terms of spending, innovation and progress.

To date, however, the public sector has not realized the same success in embracing many of the same digital solutions in which banks have become immersed. So, why has the public sector been challenged in this progressive direction?

It can be argued that there are obvious constraints and impediments that prevent government organizations from taking the lead in technology innovation and investment. Restricted budgets and recruitment freezes are major factors, but why does it significantly lag behind other industries and sectors?

In many ways, the banking sector has paved the way for public sector...

What Federal Government Can Learn from States in Going Digital

By Angela Futz Nordstrom // July 6, 2016


Angela Fultz Nordstrom is vice president of NIC Inc.

In the game of digital government, federal agencies can close the distance to the goal by taking a page from the states’ “playbook.”

Mobilized by President Barack Obama’s Digital Government Strategy issued in May 2012, federal government agencies exploring streamlined, more citizen- and business-focused digital government. But in the four years since the strategy was announced, progress has been limited, according to a recent survey of federal employees published by the National Academy of Public Administration.  

Most respondents – 81 percent – said their digital government focus is on automating workflow and other existing processes. Only 3 percent say their agencies are “re-imagining their business processes to better engage stakeholders,” which could mean the federal government is missing opportunities for “technology to make a real difference in people’s lives,” as Obama put it.

Delivering on the president’s vision means the federal government must improve on interagency collaborations and take greater advantage of the technologies on which users already rely.

Taking a Page from the States’ 'Playbook'

To speed delivery of citizen- and business-centric digital solutions, federal agencies can adopt best practices from states where online transaction-based services have been used...

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


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


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...