MeriTalk Staff

MeriTalk

As the one-year anniversary of the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order (EO) nears, join Federal government and industry experts on May 19 for MeriTalk’s in-person Cyber Central conference to explore how agencies are building a more resilient government cybersecurity posture.

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As advances in computing power and the ability to leverage large data sets and complex algorithms have increased in recent years, Federal agencies are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to gain new insights from data and improve operational efficiencies in everything from healthcare to transportation to citizen services and public safety.

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The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) sets out broad, ambitious goals for improving the customer experience and empowering the Federal workforce. While technology underpins these goals, in-depth understanding of the agency mission and challenges is required to truly realize the promise of the PMA. MeriTalk sat down with Joe Kehoe, vice president of the Department of Defense (DoD) practice at Maximus, to learn how his company approaches agency engagements and leverages emerging technologies to modernize agency systems – with the goal of providing the best experience for his customers’ customers: American citizens.

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Your agency has acquired the latest and greatest cloud business communications platform. It allows employees to collaborate on projects, store documents in the cloud, instant message, and hold video calls – increasing employee productivity. Your agency isn’t alone. Gartner reports that almost 80 percent of workers used collaboration tools in 2021, an increase of 44 percent since the start of the pandemic.

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When NASA needed to land a probe on Mars, the landing sequence was the riskiest part of the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar mission-critical program. Prior to launch, NASA simulated the process under all potential weather and environmental conditions. Leaving nothing to chance, they used DDN storage solutions to fuel the artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning applications. After the successful landing on Mars, DDN was further entrusted with the data that made the 91-million-mile journey back to earth for analysis and other simulations.

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Today every Federal agency is working to implement zero trust. Each will begin in a unique place that is dictated by its current cybersecurity posture, cybersecurity investments, and agency missions. Still, many questions must be answered as agencies plot their zero-trust journey. Which pillar in the Zero Trust Maturity Model is most urgent? Which data is more vulnerable to attacks? How do you find and classify the most sensitive information?

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CISA

On December 13, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an emergency directive that called for agencies to disconnect or turn off any SolarWinds Orion products by noon the following day, due to an exploit of Orion network monitoring software that posed a “grave risk” to agencies, critical infrastructure providers, and other private-sector organizations.

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The Department of Defense (DoD) recently called cATO the “gold standard” in cybersecurity. However, the current process for obtaining authorization to operate (ATO) is “point in time,” costly, and time consuming. Based on these issues, an alternative, continuous authority to operate (cATO), is gaining momentum.

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MeriTalk Staff
MeriTalk