Will the Federal government’s embrace of Silicon Valley actually achieve anything of importance? In a column published in Federal Computer Week, Cisco Systems executives Alan Balutis and Stuart Robbins raise concerns about a government partnership with Silicon Valley that is in danger of producing little more than a few new shiny apps and websites.

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A MeriTalk survey finds that Federal agencies are in need of an efficiency jump-start, and 78 percent of Feds believe DevOps will help agencies innovate faster responses and services. Legacy systems are slowing agencies down, and new apps just add to the inertia.

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Federal agencies could save $40.7 billion in annual productivity by switching from legacy voice systems to a Unified Communications solution, a new MeriTalk survey found.

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To help agencies better understand the potential that big data holds for the larger Federal enterprise, MeriTalk chats with Steve Totman, a big data technology evangelist with New York City-based Cloudera, and Webster Mudge, senior director of technology solutions at Cloudera.

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The 34-page Protected Health Information (PHI) Data Breach Report analyzed 392 million security incidents and 1,931 data breaches, including breaches at the Department of Health and Human Services and a “significant number of records” from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Up against a cyber wall in recent terror attacks, the intelligence community is turning to Magnet Forensics, a Canadian company with software that can recover key digital evidence left by terrorists on cellphones, smartphones and tablets. The intelligence community’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel on Thursday announced it is investing in the digital forensics software developer […]

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The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) will allow agencies to run and look like private sector organizations, panelists at MeriTalk’s FITARA Forum said. And that’s a good thing. “I think it’s wonderful that the government and the industry are collaborating and that the government is looking a lot more” like industry, said Jean […]

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A new Federal agency is in the works to take over the security clearance process from the Office of Personnel Management, according to former intelligence officials with knowledge of the discussions. Word of the plan to create a new National Investigative Service Agency comes as security officials this week are scheduled to brief leaders of […]

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Faster is better, and government acquisition could move much more quickly. That’s why companies are signing up for a new way to sell cloud products and services to Federal agencies. The General Services Administration (GSA) added a new special item number to IT Schedule 70 of the agency’s Federal Acquisition Service in June. With the […]

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Federal agencies and other organizations are increasingly relying on analytics to detect and stop fraud, but experts recommend they start with small projects and small data sets to pinpoint risk. Learn how the U.S. Postal Service, World Bank, General Services Administration, and IBM approach the use of big data analytics to prevent fraud in government. […]

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Should email and other personal electronic data be protected by the Fourth Amendment in the same way that a written letter or other personal effects are protected? This and other questions like it were debated today before the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing comes as HR 699, the Email Privacy Act, approaches a House vote. […]

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Army

The market for virtual reality headsets—like the popular gaming system known as Oculus Rift, or the many headsets that are now shipping with consumer drones—is poised for rapid growth starting this holiday season. In fact, Juniper Research estimates that global sales of VR headsets will hit 3 million next year and as much as 30 […]

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MeriTalk caught up with Murthy Mathiprakasam, principal product marketing manager for Informatica’s Big Data products, at the Nov. 19 Big Data Brainstorm in Washington, D.C. Although Federal agencies are sitting on a lot of data, a significant effort must be made to first prepare that data to be mined and analyzed. Listen to the podcast […]

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MeriTalk caught up with Department of Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer Karen Neuman Nov. 19 at MeriTalk’s Big Data Brainstorm in Washington, D.C. Listen to the podcast.

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Just a handful of agencies have accounted for the nearly $2 billion saved by closing Federal data centers through the first five years of the program, according to scorecards distributed by Congress, and that trend is likely to continue. The Treasury Department, Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, and Commerce Department saved a combined $1.652 […]

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With cybersecurity threats mushrooming across the Federal government, members of a House committee said this week that the Education Department is failing to protect the data of millions of Americans. DoEd’s systems have been penetrated many times by the inspector general, and the department has failed to correct many recommendations from the IG and General […]

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The U.S. Postal Service found more than it expected when it began using big data and analytics to detect mail theft. The postal service’s office of inspector general used analytics to set up trip wires, which set parameters around data to help detect anomalous activity. That allowed postal inspectors to determine that a carrier was […]

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The majority of Federal agencies still rely heavily on legacy systems with little funding to buy new systems. But the good news is, most agency IT managers feel they can still squeeze a few more years out of their current systems, if given the right application upgrades, according to a new report from MeriTalk. The […]

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The Paris attacks did more than reveal the growing capabilities of the Islamic State to carry out attacks in the West; they revealed what some fear are chinks in America’s big data armor. In a world where everything seems to be connected digitally and everyone seemingly leaves behind traces of digital dust that can be […]

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One day big data may be able to help forecast cyberattacks before they occur, panelists said at MeriTalk’s Second Annual Big Data Brainstorm on Thursday. “I think the opportunities of using big data for cyber defense are really enormous,” said Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Using the digital signatures […]

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Agencies and other organizations are relying on analytics more and more to detect and stop fraud, but agencies should start with small projects and small data sets to pinpoint risk.

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Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas who served two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, introduced legislation Tuesday that would delay the termination of the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program until the Obama administration can certify that its proposed new architecture for keeping the data in private-sector hands will not have a […]

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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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