Demystifying PaaS: The missing piece to digital transformation


Demystifying PaaS: The missing piece to digital transformation By William Sanders Sep 21, 2018

Public-sector IT leaders are familiar with the benefits of infrastructure-as -a -service and software-as-a-service offerings. With IaaS,  agencies have on-demand access to a scalable, reliable cloud environment that gives them more flexibility in running workloads than on-premises solutions. SaaS applications, meanwhile, are helping modernize front- and back-office functionality spanning human resources, budgeting and more.

But what about platform as  a service? It often doesn’t get the spotlight like IaaS or SaaS, and yet its role and value in advancing technology modernization in the public sector makes it arguably the most important of all.

Put simply, PaaS is the tooling that allows agencies to build, run, connect, manage, secure and discover innovative possibilities among their IT systems, both in the cloud and on-premises. That means that agencies can instantly gain the benefits of cloud computing  --

Mirai creators helping FBI crack cybercrime cases

Mirai creators helping FBI crack cybercrime casesBy Derek B. Johnson Sep 20, 2018

The three American teenagers who created the Mirai botnet are apparently so good at tracking and identifying criminal activity that the government wants them to continue helping the FBI with cybercrime investigations.

The Department of Justice requested that the community service requirement for  Paras Jha, Josiah White and Dalton Norman be raised from 200 to 2,500 hours, with tasks redefined to include continuing work with the FBI on cybercrime and cybersecurity cases.

"The plea agreement with the young offenders in this case was a unique opportunity for law enforcement officers, and will give FBI investigators the knowledge and tools they need to stay ahead of cyber criminals around the world," said U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder in a statement announcing the sentence.

In court documents, U.S. lawyers revealed that the trio has spent the past year working closely with

Cryptojacking: The canary in the coalmine?

Cryptojacking: The canary in the coalmine?By Stephanie Kanowitz Sep 20, 2018

Cryptojacking -- or the theft of CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies -- is outpacing ransomware as a top cybersecurity concern, reports show. It's affecting more than just business and consumer systems -- cryptojacking has showed up on government websites in India, Australia and Ireland.  It has hit the U.K. Student Loans Company and even the United States Courts websites.

McAfee Global Threat Intelligence data showed ransomware attacks declining 32 percent in the first quarter of this year, while coin mining increased by 1,189 percent. On Sept. 19, the Cyber Threat Alliance reported a 459 percent increase in illicit cryptocurrency-mining malware detections among its members since 2017, a trend it said  "shows no signs of slowing down." Similarly, Tend Micro’s 2018 Midyear Security Roundup found that “cryptocurrency mining detections climbed from around 75,000 detections in the first half of the

Smarter asset management: A 3-step strategy to doing more with less


Smarter asset management: A 3-step strategy to doing more with less By Steve Beard Sep 20, 2018

The standard concept of asset maintenance sounds simple enough: determine what must be done to ensure that any physical asset continues to do what users want it to.

However, as the issues around maintenance resources and the assets themselves become more complex, this simplicity fades. Some organizations, while trying to implement their own maintenance strategy, can make the process and plans more complicated than necessary and result in systems with nonessential assets being over-maintained. It can also lead to inefficiencies and wasted resources. For example, traditional maintenance models often include shutdowns for overhaul. But is an overhaul necessary at all? Are we pulling crucial assets from operation when it is unnecessary?

RCM makes way for RBM

Reliability-centered maintenance helps deliver safe minimum levels of maintenance through standard asset-management practices. However, it may

CDOs: Change agents for data-driven government

CDOs: Change agents for data-driven governmentBy Matt Leonard Sep 19, 2018

As more data becomes available and the tools to analyze it grow easier to use, data-driven government is gaining traction. One sign of such change is the creation of the chief data officer position -- one of the newest jobs in the federal government. The first agency CDO was created less than a decade ago.

A new report from the IBM Center for The Business of Government digs into the role of federal CDOs and offers recommendations for getting the most out of the position. “Data-Driven Government: The Role of Chief Data Officers,” describes why CDOs are being established and how they are evolving in different agencies.  The author, Jane Wiseman of Harvard's Kennedy School, also offers advice on how new CDOs can succeed the federal level, based on her research of the first CDOs and the experiences of

Cybersecurity for smart cities: Changing from reactionary to proactive


Cybersecurity for smart cities: Changing from reactionary to proactive By Will Ash, Britt Norwood Sep 18, 2018

Threats of data breaches are no longer concerns of only retailers and major corporations -- they are a real threat to all business, industries and governments, including smart cities. Connected technology in cities is opening up more access points for hackers, which means city officials must  adopt a proactive cybersecurity mindset in which  IT teams actively monitor networks and quickly respond before a breach does serious damage.

Officials can no longer effectively protect smart city infrastructure and citizen data by simply reacting to security incidents. Modern smart city infrastructure is fully integrated, with multiple systems connecting and sharing data with each other through the network. As the backbone of any smart city project, the network must remain protected to ensure all other parts of the city remain safe.

The growing number of

Developing low-code apps for city services

Developing low-code apps for city servicesBy Sara Friedman Sep 17, 2018

To access city services, Oakland, Calif., residents used to have to visit various city offices or  agency-specific websites to get their questions answered. Now the city's OAK APPS portal  gives residents a one-stop shop for city services -- and offers officials a single view of each resident's app use that can be used to improve services delivery.

Once residents register through the OAK APPS portal, they can check zoning for specific areas, find out about required business permits, track rent increase complaints against landlords and file complaints against police officers using a set of apps.

“The Department of Housing had an application built that didn’t do all of the things that the department wanted [it] to do,” Oakland CIO Andrew “Pete” Peterson told GCN. “We wrote the entire application and included all of the features that they wanted for

Government wireless networks desperately need an upgrade


Government wireless networks desperately need an upgrade By Chris "CT" Thomas Sep 17, 2018

Today’s government IT networks are at a crossroads. For too long, these networks have been locked into old technology, and agencies have not had the budget to innovate. Current systems are delivering a poor experience – for both end users and IT teams – and prevent new technologies from enabling agency missions.

While government IT has stagnated, private-sector IT has raced forward, roughly doubling performance and capacity every five years. Technology giants such as Google and Amazon have leveraged new technologies to unlock gigantic value and productivity, creating new consumer experiences. They have dramatically raised expectations of what IT can accomplish and how it should be provided.

Wireless is the new network onramp for accomplishing the mission. Industry partners with both traditional Ethernet and wireless expertise can provide government agencies with an IT infrastructure on

Overcoming information governance inertia


Overcoming information governance inertia By George Parapadakis Sep 13, 2018

Making information governance a high priority in the enterprise is a tall order. It is fair to say that perceptions around IG and its predecessor, document management, are that of back-office IT functions that reside “out of sight and out of mind” in a faraway data center. Hot tech concepts like DevOps, cloud, internet of things and digital transformation grab more headlines than IG, which is often perceived as being “not close to the business.” As such, it frequently gets pushed to the back of the line when it comes to IT prioritization.

Nevertheless, IG is challenged by sprawling amounts of siloed agency data, with petabytes of unknown information floating around on servers, driving ever-increasing storage costs while inhibiting access to current, accurate and legally-compliant data across the enterprise. What’s more, a robust IG policy is essential to enable

Microsoft revs up government cloud drive

Microsoft revs up government cloud driveBy David Ramel Sep 13, 2018

Although Amazon Web Services enjoys the lion's share of government cloud infrastructure market, Microsoft is ramping up efforts to attract public sector clients.

In March, the company announced availability to handle classified workloads through Azure Secret along with two new regions that would handle classified data for civilian, defense and intelligence agencies. In July, Microsoft made the Azure Government cloud available in its Arizona and Texas data center regions.

Microsoft Azure Stack was recently made available for Azure Government customers, following plans announced in March to integrate the two services.

Azure Stack is described by Microsoft as an extension to the Azure cloud for running hybrid applications on-premises. In that March announcement, Microsoft said "Azure Stack will integrate with the Azure Government cloud, enabling connections to Azure Government identity, subscription, registration, billing, backup/DR, and Azure Marketplace."

The Azure team followed through