Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke frankly about the need IT modernization in the State Department last week, both referencing his personal experiences with the department’s servers and tying it into a larger need for reorganization in the department, but failing to lay out any concrete plan for the changes. […]

The May Cybersecurity Executive Order and the White House’s IT Modernization Report have encouraged agencies to look for ways to use shared services to improve cybersecurity. The Department of Justice has been looking into using shared services before the push from the White House, giving the agency a head start at shared services centered on cybersecurity for the enterprise.






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Johnson Joy, CIO of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said that he came to the Federal government hoping to use his private sector expertise to disrupt the public sector. “I’m a disruptor so I want to bring what the private sector has to offer to the government,” Joy said.






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Jeff T.H. Pon, the nominee for director of the Office of Personnel Management, said that his top priority for the agency will be IT modernization. “Outside of work, Federal employees are able to access nearly any piece of information they need, from their bank accounts to student loans to car insurance, all on their phone,” he said. “We need to work toward providing the employees of the Federal government with the same conveniences with regards to their employment within the Federal government, with appropriate attention to information security.”






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Hewlett Packard Enterprise will discuss how it helps agencies plan for the IT modernization process at the MeriTalk produced event Road Map: Tomorrow’s Data Center in a Cloud-Driven Digital World on Oct. 24.






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When starting an IT modernization project, agencies should ask what their end goal is before trying to figure out what their current state of affairs is, according to National Technical Information Service director Avi Bender.






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Government IT executives are finding that the IT modernization process is increasing security challenges, according to a recent Unisys survey. However, Unisys Federal President Venkatapathi “PV” Puvvada said that the journey to more modern, and therefore secure, IT can often make cybersecurity harder before it gets better.






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Though new initiatives like the Cybersecurity Executive Order cover many of the same issues tackled by past administrations, the focus on IT modernization will make a big difference in actually improving cybersecurity, according to Barry West, senior adviser and senior accountable official for risk management at the Department of Homeland Security.






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The Government Accountability Office found that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not completed a modernization plan for its existing IT systems, which will make it difficult to reach its modernization goals.






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