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6 Reasons Your Agency Needs an App Store

By Jose Carlos Linares // June 18, 2015

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Jose Carlos Linares is the president and CEO of Open Technology Group.

The need for enterprise application stores within the federal government is growing as the demand for constant connectivity by citizens and employees continues to increase. According to a report forecasting future global mobile data traffic, the number of mobile-connected devices already exceeds the number of people on Earth. By 2019, the study projects 11.5 billion mobile-connected devices and a world population of 7.6 billion – or about 1.5 mobile devices per capita.

To meet their missions in this increasingly connected world, government agencies must provide citizens, partners and employees with critical information on demand via a variety of devices and across multiple platforms. Enterprise app stores can help the government do this in a secure, efficient and cost-effective manner.

Does your agency have an enterprise app store? If not, then consider these six benefits to adoption:

1. Provides Greater Security Control

If an organization does not offer the right apps, employees usually turn to consumer app stores for solutions. However, apps downloaded from consumer-facing stores can introduce malware, spyware and other security concerns, potentially causing disruption to agency networks. With an enterprise app store, agencies can...

Governments Around the World Join Data-as-a-Utility Revolution

By Kevin Merritt // June 17, 2015

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Kevin Merritt is the founder and CEO of Socrata.

Governments around the world are finally leaving the 20th-century analog world and entering the digital age of the 21st century, which has been shaped, driven and disrupted by innovative and consumer-friendly companies like Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Google, Facebook, Uber and airbnb.

The public sector has no choice; it has to catapult its technology forward, because citizens have been using these breakthrough digital products and services for years, and they now expect government technology to look, feel and perform similarly.

Indeed, 20th-century analog government is unsustainable in 21st-century digital societies, and the downside of falling behind the curve in the shift to digital government is immense.

The new public sector push to digitize says digital infrastructure is now just as important as the physical infrastructure of government. It also says citizen services and interactions are increasingly about the flow of digital information and transactions. And, finally, it’s part of a related public sector move toward data-driven digital solutions in other areas like homeland security.

At its heart, the public sector’s current mission-critical “digital first” efforts are based on the very powerful idea that data is a potent strategic asset and...

OPM Hack: Why Email Notification Makes a Bad Situation Even Worse

By Damien Hugoo // June 10, 2015

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Damien Hugoo is a product manager at Easy Solutions.

Last week, millions of government employees were probably quite nervous to hear their personal data had been stolen by hackers (likely from China), who gained access to a trove of data from the Office of Personnel Management.

This week, the same office is opening up even more government employees to more risk, based on its response to the breach. OPM announced it will notify all impacted individuals by email, which makes not only the affected individuals, but also anyone else who is worried they might be affected now a ripe target for a phishing attack.

In its announcement, OPM said, “The email will come from opmcio@csid.com and it will contain information regarding credit monitoring and identity theft protection services being provided to those federal employees impacted by the data breach.”

OPM is using a third party, CSID, to manage this communication, and has now, in essence, provided phishers with a blueprint for creating an attack. Of note, CSID does at least use DMARC, which is one good step it has taken to see how others may be spoofing its domain.

Imagine you have had any kind of interaction with...

Here's What You Can Do to Secure Your Network as the Internet of Everything Nears

By Steve Martino // June 9, 2015

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Steve Martino is the vice president and chief information security officer at Cisco.

The Internet of Everything, the intersection and connection of people, processes, data and things, holds great promise for creating greater operational efficiencies within government entities. It has the potential to help with everything from traffic jams to safety in public parks. Cisco predicts that by the year 2020, 50 billion devices will be Internet connected. As government agencies continue to bring more and more devices from disparate suppliers into their network, cybersecurity models need to radically change.

The huge number and diversity of connected devices and associated applications is challenging our cybersecurity assumptions. It is therefore imperative that security models change to integrate broad-based network visibility and big-data collection that can be leveraged to create the depth of visibility needed to take informed security action and protect against all attack vectors.

Multiple potential threat models make a compelling argument for giving the network the capabilities of a giant sensor. For example, imagine a district office with power switches that associate with wireless access points. An attacker sitting in the parking lot of the office could potentially control all the electrical outlets associated with those wireless access points...

5 Things You Need To Know About the USA Freedom Act

By Ed Ferrara // June 5, 2015

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Ed Ferrara is a principal analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves security and risk professionals.

The Freedom Act adds a higher burden of proof for agencies seeking to place a U.S. citizen, group or company under surveillance. The updated legislation will no longer require private firms to retain data such as subscriber phone records and more clearly defines the rationale required to allow surveillance activities.

Here are some of the bigger changes between the Patriot Act and the Freedom Act that Forrester sees -- and what you need to be aware of:

1. The Freedom Act repeals one of the most contentious provisions of the Patriot Act.  

Privacy advocates and libertarians were angered by the indiscriminate nature of the government's collection process with respect to American citizens' phone records. However, an independent panel determined it had not helped significantly in the counterterrorism effort. The collection and storage of the data will be the responsibility of the telecommunication companies, who use the data for billing purposes. This allows the government to skirt the illegalities of it collecting and owning the data and clearing the way for the legal bulk collection of data by private industry, to be subpoenaed by...