recommended reading


The Network of Tomorrow Can Drive Cost Savings and Better Performance

By David Mihelcic // September 22, 2017

Pasko Maksim/

David Mihelcic is the federal chief technology and strategy officer for Juniper Networks.

When you think about the network of the future, what do you envision? If you’re just thinking “automation,” you may not be thinking big enough. That’s because, as with most things in technology, today’s innovation in automation is really only a stepping point to what comes next. For federal IT, “next” means intent-based networking.

Intent-based networking uses high-level business outcomes to drive network configurations and performance. It’s much different than the traditional approach involving granular, difficult to understand, machine-level specifications. An intent-based network allows teams to determine and define business outcomes, which are then compiled into detailed configurations that are automatically implemented by the network.

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In the very near future, intent-based networking will allow government agencies to achieve better business outcomes with minimal manual input. It can speed up operations and service delivery, reduce network fragility, and potentially help save on operational expenses. Remediation time will be reduced, as networks will quickly and automatically identify and resolve faults in minutes, not hours or days. Cybersecurity postures will...

It's Time Agencies Rethink the Citizen

By Andrew H. LaVanway // September 20, 2017

Nicolas Perez keeps a puppy he named "Irma," stuffed in his shirt, who he rescued from flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Immokalee, Fla.
Nicolas Perez keeps a puppy he named "Irma," stuffed in his shirt, who he rescued from flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Immokalee, Fla. // Gerald Herbert/AP

Andrew H. LaVanway has been active at the intersection of government, technology, and citizen engagement for nearly 20 years. He currently leads ICF’s public sector marketing practice.

Federal agencies are spending a lot of time these days thinking about digital and technology and the citizen engagement. But as we watched heroic volunteers and the “Cajun Navy” pluck person after person from the rising floodwaters in Houston—not at government direction, but on their own initiative—we have to openly wonder if we’re really thinking about engagement in the right way. Perhaps agencies should spend less time reaching citizens and more time unleashing them as a force of positive change. It is time to rethink the citizen.

Fundamentally, citizens are different today than they were even a decade ago. They have different expectations for their experiences sure, but also new ways of adding or destroying value, rapidly advancing technical skills, vast untapped insight and local understanding, sizeable social networks, and near-unlimited wireless connectivity. They have passions, and communities, and capabilities that go largely untapped.

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Nearly all of the public sector digital discussion is...

What Government Buyers Need to Know About Rugged Devices

By John Breeden II // September 19, 2017


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

I was watching some of the post-Hurricane Irma coverage and saw an aid worker with a standard iPhone, which they had protected with a rugged case. She was using an app to track the inventory of supplies her organization was distributing, so it would be safe to classify the phone as mission critical in that instance. Now, I have nothing against OtterBox or other protective cases and have used many in the past. If you have a non-rugged device, adding a case that can serve to protect it against the shock of a sudden drop, or depending on the model, against water ingress or immersion, is a smart move. But that does not make a phone rugged.

Government buyers, or anyone who needs to face a challenging environment, should take steps to protect their electronic devices. Even if your job rarely requires you to leave the office, having a little extra protection for your fragile smartphone or tablet isn...

This Customer Experience Bill Is Building Momentum

By Stephanie Thum // September 18, 2017

Olivier Le Moal/

Stephanie Thum, CCXP,  is the former vice president of customer experience at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She is currently practice director, customer experience and analytics, at Capitol Management Consulting Services. Follow her on Twitter: @stephaniethum.

While it's true that very few bills introduced in Congress become law, one piece of bipartisan legislation gaining momentum in the House right now is worth tracking, especially if digital tools, customer experience, and citizen experience are part of the world you live in.

The bill is called Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents Act of 2017 (H.R. 3076)—CASES, for short. It is important for a few reasons.

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Let’s say you’re a citizen who has an issue with the Veterans Affairs Department, Medicare or Medicaid, Social Security Administration or Federal Emergency Management Agency that you’ve been unable to resolve on your own. Your issue has gotten to the point that you need your elected official to intervene with that agency on your behalf. Right now by law you have to physically print, sign and hand carry or mail a...

How to Prepare for More Attacks from Leaked NSA Tools

By Tal Vegvizer // September 15, 2017

Patrick Semansky/AP File Photo

Tal Vegvizer is the director of research and development of BUFFERZONE.

Russians? Chinese? A disaffected insider with a huge chip on his/her shoulders?

Many theories—conspiracy and otherwise—float around about how hackers got hold of the malware trove allegedly kept by the National Security Agency for use against targets the government wanted to track. And barely a half year since the hacker group Shadow Brokers announced that it had purloined the malware, the world has come to know just how damaging those NSA cyber weapons are.

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Malware and ransomware attacks, including Wannacry, Petya and a host of lesser exploits all have their roots, or owe a good part of their existence, allegedly to NSA. And hackers are by no means finished; after initially releasing a bunch of tools as freebies, Shadow Brokers set up a subscription service, in which other advanced exploits would be released on a regular basis.

One of those apparently subscription-only exploits is an attack that has been making the rounds involves installing tools on hotel Wi-Fi networks that allows hackers to spy on network users. According to FireEye...