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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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NBASE-T specifications allow agencies to increase network speeds over legacy copper cabling, making them a logical choice for departments that want to improve bandwidth without a major investment.

A new white paper from CDW provides customers with an outline of NBASE-T and describes how it can delay the need to purchase new network cables. Readers can download the white paper at fedtechmagazine.com/nbaset.

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It’s well known that the federal government maintains many legacy IT systems. A new report from the Government Accountability Office details just how old some of them are — and urges agencies to make updates.

The federal government spent more than 75 percent of its IT budget for fiscal year 2015 on operations and maintenance (O&M) investments according to the report. Such spending has increased over the past seven fiscal years, the report says, which has resulted in a $7.3 billion decline from fiscal years 2010 to 2017 in spending on development, modernization and enhancement of technology.

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The General Services Administration is rolling out a new service to help federal agencies upgrade and improve their IT, and in the process is solidifying the place of 18F, GSA’s digital services unit, into the federal bureaucracy.

The new service, called the Technology Transformation Service, will house 18F, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. GSA aims to be the one-stop-shop for agencies looking to improve their technology, and the new service will be the home of new, emerging technology initiatives at GSA.

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Next-generation networks help keep up with explosive user growth and advances in cloud computing while providing applications with increased bandwidth. Technologies such as software-defined networks, the Internet of Things and IPv6 provide agencies with a way to improve network performance.

Agencies interested in investing in network advances need a strong game plan. For help, IT leaders can download CDW’s guide to next-generation networks to develop a forward- thinking strategy for proactively managing their network at fedtechmagazine.com/nextgennetworks.

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The Defense Department wants hackers to test the security of the Pentagon’s nearly 500 websites through its “Hack the Pentagon” initiative, the first cyber bounty program in federal history.

Led by the Defense Digital Service, the program challenges vetted hackers to identify vulnerabilities in a department system. The most successful hackers will earn a cash prize and recognition.

“I am always challenging our people to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon,” says Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Defense officials say the pilot will be the first in a series of programs designed to test for vulnerabilities in the Defense Department’s applications, websites and networks.

Read more at fedtechmagazine.com/hackers.

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The Justice Department said on Monday that it had cracked the iPhone 5c of one of the gunmen in the December terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., without Apple’s help. The DOJ received aid from an unnamed third party.

Apple had been fighting a court order compelling it to help the FBI break into an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, which set off a roiling debate about security and privacy within the government and the wider world. While the announcement ends the federal government’s immediate battle with Apple, there are still many unresolved questions, as The New York Times notes.

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