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The Byte

While about 33 percent of applications run in the cloud today, federal cloud users predict that 58 percent will run in the cloud by 2020, according to “Destination Cloud: The Federal and SLED Cloud Journey,” a September 2016 report from MeriTalk. The top federal cloud apps include web hosting, collaboration and backup services.

To avoid security challenges, more than half of respondents run their apps in a private cloud. Agencies are especially likely to choose the private cloud model for apps that handle sensitive information or are highly specialized.

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A new report from IDC Government Insights ­underscores ­agencies’ frequent need for external support in ­implementing new technologies. Systems ­integrators play a key role in helping agencies become more agile and responsive in understanding citizen needs.

“Many systems integrators are deploying agile processes and assisting agencies in the design of user-friendly offerings for the data-driven customer, with the goal of driving better mission outcomes,” says Adelaide O’Brien, research director of IDC Government Insights and author of IDC Marketscape: U.S. Systems Integrators Serving the Federal Government 2016 Vendor Assessment. “While some government organizations have adopted agile software development to varying degrees, progress for many has been slow.”

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Echoing similar durability and reliability requirements at other defense agencies, the Army can offer an additional lesson that procurement professionals have learned after purchasing thousands of notebooks per year, including the Getac X500.

The Army leverages the buying power of consolidated purchases to get the most from its IT budget.

Its Common Hardware Systems (CHS) program serves as a clearinghouse for Army project offices to procure tactical network commercial hardware.

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The U.S. Agency for International Development has been upgrading the software it uses to manage its telework program.

The software upgrade, which was expected to go live in late 2016, allows employees to make revisions after submitting their applications, but before supervisory approval, says Brenda Horne, telework executive at USAID.

For example, if they mistakenly requested Wednesday to be a telework day instead of Thursday, they can make the change. “It’s much more employee-friendly,” she says.

The new software will also make it easier for the agency’s telework coordinators to build reports on employee telework data, she says.

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When David A. Bray became CIO at the Federal Communications Commission in 2013, the agency was saddled with cumbersome legacy systems that consumed more than 85 percent of the IT budget.

The cloud offered an effective and cost-efficient solution. A series of projects helped Bray and his team prove that it could be successful.

First, they moved employees to virtual desktops. They then tackled the most frustrating application: The Consumer Help Center was more than 15 years old and required users to download 1 of 18 different forms, fill it out by hand and mail or fax it back.

Transitioning the application to an on-premises cloud or another federal agency site would have cost more than $3 million and taken 14 to 16 months. However, a Software as a Service model would only cost $450,000, including contractor time, and the new solution would be running in less than six months.

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In late August, the FBI secretly arrested a former National Security Agency contractor who has been accused of stealing top secret computer code the NSA used to hack into the systems of foreign governments.

The former contractor, identified in court documents and by the Justice Department as Harold Thomas Martin III, age 51, of Glen Burnie, Md., work for Booz Allen Hamilton, and was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, according to the Washington Post.

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U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung is leaving the federal government to join Amazon Business, according to several reports.

Rung will leave Washington D.C. and head to Washington State, and will move to Seattle to join the Amazon Business team as global leader of its public sector division. Federal News Radio, which first reported the news late last week, said that Rung will run the Amazon unit's strategic supplier program focusing on the government. Rung will stay on in her post untilt he end of September, Federal News Radio reported. It's not clear who will replace her. 

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As agencies pursue data center optimization by adopting private and public cloud services, they have to make sure they don’t end up with stovepiped services that cannot easily share data, says Social Security Administration CIO Rob Klopp.

Agencies can ensure that these services can interoperate by standardizing on a cloud platform up front, he says.

“At the SSA, we will deploy using a cloud platform — maybe Cloud Foundry, maybe OpenShift, maybe something else — to allow applications to move and stretch across these services with elasticity,” Klopp says.

Bob Brown, the data center lead at the Department of Defense, sees three areas where agencies can find savings.

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