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Give Us 3 Minutes of Your Time

By Katherine McIntire Peters // March 19, 2014

Maryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock.com

In partnership with the Government Business Council (the research arm of Government Executive Media Group) Nextgov is conducting quarterly surveys of federal IT professionals to gauge, among other things, how well agencies are doing in meeting the Obama administration’s IT priorities.

Our Federal Tech Insiders Poll will explore things such as the influence of CIOs and CTOs on agency missions; barriers to innovation; the opportunities and challenges posed by cloud computing; the risks and benefits of releasing more data to the public.

We know you’re busy, so we’ve designed this to be quick and painless (it will take you 3 minutes, according to our research team). And for making that small investment of time, we'll share the results with you first. Please take the survey here.  

Will Your Agency Meet Digital Recordkeeping Deadlines?

By Marty Heinrich // March 3, 2014

Catz/Shutterstock.com

Upcoming deadlines to comply with the 2012 President’s Managing Government Records Directive are putting new pressure on federal agencies to develop, fund and implement the new requirements and milestones.

The directive is also an opportunity: Agencies now have the chance to finally make the transition to electronic recordkeeping and address the challenge of managing email electronically for both records management and eDiscovery purposes. 

The directive -- issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the National Archives and Records Administration on Aug. 24, 2012 -- has two primary goals: It requires agencies use electronic recordkeeping to ensure transparency, efficiency, and accountability, and that they demonstrate compliance with federal records management statutes and regulations.

The Email Requirement and NARA’s Guidance on Managing Email Records

One of the greatest challenges of the directive is the need to manage all permanent and temporary email as electronic records by 2016. Email is a major factor for agencies in the event of litigation, Freedom of Information Act requests and investigations — and the volume is growing to where many agencies are creating well over one million email messages daily.   

NARA’s Guidance on a New Approach to Managing Email Records, dated May 2013, addresses this ...

Do You Work in Federal Technology? We Want to Hear From You.

By Katherine McIntire Peters // February 18, 2014

PhotoXpress

The link between mission success and solid IT performance has never been clearer. That’s long been the case, but the rocky rollout last October of the website designed to support the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration’s signature policy achievement, brought home how easily an ill-managed technology program could undermine and jeopardize a major government initiative.

While software glitches, schedule delays and cost overruns have become a staple of more large IT programs than not, the spectacular Obamacare debacle reinforced the efforts of lawmakers in both parties to reform the way agencies buy and manage large technology programs. As such, the roles of chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief information security officers and their staffs are shifting -- or at least there’s a growing contingent of observers who believe they need to evolve to better manage programs that have in many ways become unmanageable.

To better understand the changing dynamics of IT management, the Government Business Council -- the research arm of Government Executive Media Group -- is launching quarterly surveys of government IT professionals. We intend to explore a number of issues, including the influence of CIOs and CTOs on agency missions; the opportunities and challenges posed by ...

Not a Belieber: Senator Offers to Sign Digital Petition to Deport Pop Star

By Ross Gianfortune // February 4, 2014

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

If the Obama administration decides to take action on the popular We The People petition asking to deport Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, he'll have support from at least one member of Congress: Sen. Mark Warner, Va.

Non-Belieber Warner told a Hampton Roads morning radio show that he would sign the petition to deport the Canadian superstar. The Senator told WNOR's "Rumble in the Morning" host Rick Rumble that he would sign if if he could locate it online.

"As a dad, with three daughters, is there some place I could find [the petition]?" Warner asked during the interview.

Warner later sent out a message from his official Twitter account Tuesday morning on the subject:

The petition currently has more than 245,000 signatures, while signatures on opposing petitions total to just over 10,000. The threshold for a White House response to a We The People petition is 100,000 signatures.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his press briefing Friday that the administration will ...

What World War II Code Breaking Tells Us About Cybersecurity

By Jean Gordon Kocienda // Cisco // February 3, 2014

The Enigma machine, right, once used by the crews of German U-boats is shown in a British museum.
The Enigma machine, right, once used by the crews of German U-boats is shown in a British museum. // Alex Dorgan Ross/AP file photo

World War II may seem like an unlikely place to go looking for the origins of data analytics or insights into building predictive cyber intelligence programs, but the lessons of the past can help inform even a digital future. British code breakers who deciphered the encrypted messages of the German Enigma machines during World War II not only made breakthroughs in mathematics, but also in understanding and predicting the behavior of German code clerks. The success of Bletchley Park’s code breakers stemmed in part from their insight into human behavior.

The British cryptanalysts had an advantage that we do not always enjoy today – they knew who their enemy was. They could analyze linguistic and cultural patterns within the encrypted messages – searching for recurring communications such as weather reports, or common phrases such as Heil Hitler, to identify patterns. Predicting cyberattack behavior on a global, 21st century scale is more complex. Networks are under constant bombardment from communications that may have hopped numerous times before arriving at their destinations. Malicious actors are always innovating and morphing. Still, human ‘fingerprints’ are bound to appear within the network data to help us identify them, and hopefully to predict and safeguard against ...