The General Services Administration is considering a new, governmentwide acquisition contract that will allow Federal agencies to buy a range of cloud services to replace expiring blanket purchase agreements. The new contract would allow agencies to purchase infrastructure, platform, and software services and purchase integrated delivery solutions like hybrid cloud, Stan Kaczmarczyk, director of the […]

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Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella took Washington, D.C., by storm Tuesday and detailed the software giant’s rapid transformation from being the target of choice for hackers because of poor security and coding practices to becoming one of the computing world’s leading information security and cyber intelligence firms. The distinction is an important one for […]

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The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a little-known contract Tuesday for virtual reality software that could one day have a dramatic impact on the ability of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to deal with the various symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In a relatively small contract of just $77,496, the VA partnered with the […]

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This article originally appeared Nov. 10 as a LinkedIn post and is printed here with the permission of the author. In late June, I was honored to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches. My testimony focused on the broader […]

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The cloud is becoming a popular tool for businesses across the country, with 88 percent of enterprises saying cloud improves responsiveness to business needs, 69 percent saying it has enabled them to re-engineer one or more of their business processes, and 65 percent saying it improves overall operations, according to Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ 2016 State […]

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The U.S. Census Bureau is running out of time to upgrade its IT systems ahead of the 2020 head count and could save $1.4 billion by using administrative records instead of foot soldiers that go door-to-door to find nonresponders, the Government Accountability Office says in two new reports. Enough is enough, the report says as […]

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Big data and analytics hold great promise for improving the performance of Federal agencies and services. But leveraging data to improve agency operations while also maintaining security is not always easy. MeriTalk recently talked to Webster Mudge, the senior director of technology solutions at Cloudera, about how the open-source enterprise data management company approaches big […]

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is looking for two “experienced and energetic innovators” to help expand and modernize the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). The two new hires?a software platforms architect and a data integration and management architect?would be part of the CDC Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program and would work hand-in-hand with […]

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) produced some good commentary from members of Congress and witnesses alike. Here are five comments from testimony and the subsequent discussion that provide perspective on the hearing. “I am so grateful to this committee for FITARA. I think […]

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Before Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAOs) can perform security assessments of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) for FedRAMP, they need the approval of a nonprofit in Frederick, Md. The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, or A2LA, isn’t a household name in cybersecurity. But with Federal agencies spending billions of dollars on cloud computing, A2LA has an […]

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Editor’s Note: Richard Beutel is the original author and legislative manager for the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a landmark piece of legislation signed into law in December 2014. He is also the former lead acquisition and procurement policy counsel for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. This column […]

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Cloud service provider Autonomic Resources’ was the first CSP to earn compliance from FedRAMP and the first to earn compliance from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). What’s next?

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Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., has a unique take on Federal IT. That’s because he’s one of just four members of Congress with a degree in computer science. The congressman likes to joke that he’s a “recovering computer scientist,” but his background gives him credibility when he discusses issues like two-factor authentication or IT innovation. That’s […]

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a long-awaited implementation plan last week for the intelligence community’s overarching strategy for making more information available to the public about intelligence activities, programs, and oversight mechanisms. The Principles of Intelligence Transparency Implementation Plan comes nine months after Clapper first outlined what those principles were and seeks to […]

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Our bad habits make agencies and organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks. So what can agencies do better to improve cybersecurity? Hint: Don’t click on those links. Analytics and two-factor authentication also can help, and organizations must reduce dwell times so they identify cyberattacks more quickly. Matt Alderman, vice president of strategy at Tenable, spoke with […]

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report calling for better management of Federal IT service contracts at the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the General Services Administration. The Oct. 22 GAO report follows a similar directive issued last week by the Office of Management and […]

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Chief information security officers (CISOs) and other IT executives have become more proactive in their approach to cybersecurity investment and risk management, according to a new study. “Over the past couple of years the landscape has changed dramatically,” researchers at Southern Methodist University’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security found. “Cyber risk is now a […]

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The Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) Tuesday by an overwhelming vote of 74-21. The bill, which now goes to the House, would improve cybersecurity by enabling more rapid information sharing on emerging threats between the government and the private sector. Lawmakers struck down five amendments to the bill that were designed to […]

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Retired General Keith Alexander told a group of Federal government and industry experts that the U.S. must do more to protect the Internet and boost cybersecurity. “We are the nation that created the Internet. We ought to be the first to secure it,” Alexander said at the Splunk GovSummitt in downtown Washington on Thursday. Alexander, […]

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Repeated cyber attacks seemingly have done little to improve cybersecurity awareness among employees. A social experiment over the summer by IT industry group CompTIA resulted in nearly one in five people putting computers at risk by sticking a thumb drive into a device without knowing whether the USB carried a virus or contained other threats. […]

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With Internet security on everyone’s mind and secure cloud on everyone’s bucket list throughout the Federal government, Verizon is expanding secure access to cloud services for Federal customers on its private IP network. Federal agencies now can securely connect to a growing roster of FedRAMP-certified cloud providers via Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect (SCI) service. Featuring […]

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Forty-five percent of Federal agencies reported that they were the target during the past year of a digital insider — an employee with authorized network access who knowingly steals or unwittingly exposes sensitive data. And at least a third of those agencies reported suffering an actual loss of data. But as MeriTalk’s recent survey of […]

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Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) didn’t waste any time at a recent field hearing to say Federal agencies are dragging their feet when it comes to cloud computing. “We deserve a Federal government that harnesses innovative solutions such as the cloud to modernize record keeping, improve critical government functions, maximize security, and be wise stewards of […]

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new report on how it can expand its information technology capabilities to meet the relentless and growing demands the agency faces. The report, titled “Mission Possible: How FDA Can Move at the Speed of Science,” is the work of the FDA Science Looking Forward Subcommittee, and […]

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Peter Romness, the Cybersecurity Solutions Lead for Cisco U.S. Public Sector, spoke with MeriTalk at this year’s Cyber Security Brainstorm in Washington, D.C., about the security challenges posed by what Cisco refers to as the Digitization of Everything (DoE). Taped on Sept. 23 Peter Romness: The MeriTalk Interview View on YouTube

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  FedRAMP last week unveiled an online training course to help users understand the new review and approve process. The training is available on the agency’s training page. The new training is intended to help FedRAMP cloud service providers (CSPs) and others understand the lengthy and complex process to receive FedRAMP compliance. According to FedRAMP, […]

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