As Federal agencies and the Office of Management and Budget work to develop reorganization plans as part of a March executive order, Congress needs to improve its oversight of those agencies, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp D-N.D., said at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing. […]

The conversations during the planning part of the acquisition process are the most important to the success of the contract vehicle, according to agency procurement officials. “What I think is most important is how we come together to meet the business solutions to enable our mission,” said Soraya Correa, chief procurement officer at the Department of Homeland Security, at AFCEA’s Homeland Security Conference on Sept. 13. […]

MeriTalk compiles a weekly roundup of contracts and other industry activity. Here’s what happened this week in the Federal Information Technology community. […]

The Treasury Department announced sanctions against 11 entities and individuals involved in cyberattacks by Iranian actors. The sanctions include two Iran-based networks that are responsible for cyberattacks against U.S. financial systems. […]

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass, Richard Blumenthal D-Conn., Sheldon Whitehouse D-R.I., and Al Franken D-Minn., introduced a bill on Sept. 14 to require accountability and transparency for credit report companies that are collecting and selling personal information about consumers. The legislation follows the Equifax breach, which affected 143 million Americans. […]

The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning on Sept. 14 to consumers to be on the alert for phishing scams related to the Equifax breach. The FTC said people might call asking to verify consumers’ account information due to the Equifax hack. “Stop. Don’t tell them anything,” the FTC said in a statement. […]

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said that he expects his Modernizing Government Technology Act to pass the Senate within the next week as an add-on to the Senate’s 2018 National Defense Authorization Act deliberations. “Buying IT goods and services in the Federal government is pretty silly,” said Hurd, criticizing the fact that agencies must use all of their IT funding for the year or risk losing it. “That is an insane way to purchase things to defend our digital infrastructure,” […]

The problem with IT modernization is often a people problem. “There’s a cultural challenge within the IT community,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting CIO Stephen Rice, at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference on Sept. 13. “Changes aren’t just within the technology but also within the culture of those managing the technology.” […]

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke released a binding operational directive on Sept. 13 requiring agencies to identify and plan to remove all Kaspersky Lab products within the next 90 days. “The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” DHS noted. […]

Creating one cloud architecture for the civilian agencies will make it easier for hackers, according to Beth Dunphy, program director of cybersecurity technologies at IBM. The White House’s recent IT Modernization Report calls for the Federal government to invest in two to three cloud models to support the different agencies. “At the end of the day it’s just going to make it easier to repeat the attacks from the attackers,” Dunphy said at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference on Sept. 12. […]

With 80 percent of every Federal IT dollar spent on life support for legacy systems, the Federal IT community is exploring new options to modernize and innovate – virtualization, cloud computing, Flash technology, software-defined options, shared services, and more. MeriTalk is staying close to the leaders on the front lines, bringing you new ideas and lessons learned.

And, as Federal IT leaders work to meet demands of an “always-on” highly mobile government, we bring you the stories and breaking news on balancing productivity with security. Our government IT news includes how agencies manage advanced persistent threats, and the steps that help guard against socially engineered threats. We look at the latest trends in malware, spyware, ransomware, and spear phishing. And – how can Federal agencies protect data from tomorrow’s cyber threats?

The MeriTalk “Industry Insider” column, offers a weekly news roundup of contracts and other activity in the Federal IT industry. Check with MeriTalk daily for the government technology news you need to know, or subscribe to get the latest stories delivered directly to your inbox. You’ll stay up to date with interesting and timely Federal IT stories on cybersecurity, big data, data center modernization, cloud, mobile, and other developments in your community – from what’s next for the MGT Act to the highly anticipated Federal IT revolving capital fund, MeriTalk brings you the trends and breaking IT news to help you modernize, innovate, and transform public sector technology and the missions you support.