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Research based on interviews with 302 public sector cybersecurity leaders suggests that better use of data analytics would improve cyberdefense. The findings:

86%: Mining Big Data can improve IT security.76%: IT teams tend to be reactive rather than proactive.61%: Better data could help detect breaches.51%: Agencies would monitor threats in real time if possible.49%: Data should be used to perform post-attack reviews.

SOURCE: MeriTalk, “Go Big Security,” May 2015

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Public cloud deployments can be tricky for federal agencies looking to protect the public’s information. To help government move to the public cloud, CDW has outlined three critical security factors that can reduce data security risks for public cloud deployments in a new white paper available here.

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A recent study estimates that federal spending on vendor-provided cloud computing services will increase at a 21 percent compound annual growth rate between now and 2019. The growth is attributable to a number of factors, including agencies looking to the cloud to provide shared services, according to Deltek's “Forecasting Federal Cloud Computing, 2014-2019: The Market Keeps Growing,” report from November 2014.

2015: $2.375 billion2016: $2.8 billion2017: $4.075 billion2018: $5.245 billion2019: $6.48 billion

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“No matter what you do, the most important thing is to focus on the experience of the end user. Everything else is just a detail about the process for achieving that.”

Robert Read is a developer at 18F, a specialized team of coders and developers at the General Services Administration that focuses on bringing innovation to the government. Read discusses whether project teams should code or design first when tackling projects in a recent post on the 18F blog (, one of FedTech’s 50 Must-Read Federal IT Blogs. See the full list here.

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The National Security Agency is working on a new website to streamline its hiring process, partnering with other intelligence agencies on a data-centric approach.

The site will administer exams to would-be applicants and then create reports about job candidates for hiring managers, says Kathy Hutson, NSA’s human resources director.

By improving the quality of applicants selected for interviews and further testing, the semi-automated process should save hiring managers time in finding the right people to work in jobs that require high skill levels, Hutson says. Ultimately, intelligence agencies also want to improve retention by identifying and hiring candidates that are the best fit for these federal jobs.

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Microsoft's next big operating system upgrade arrived Wednesday, and brings with it a host of new features.

Along with the sleek, new user interface design, the biggest changes that come with Windows 10 are the return of a traditional start menu, Microsoft's new web browser Edge, and Cortana, a personal digital assistant. Windows 10 also comes with a new feature called Continuum which allows for seamless transition of work from a tablet to desktop.

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Cyberthreats stay on government networks an average of 16 days before being detected, according to a new report from MeriTalk funded by Splunk, but some experts believe an increase in Big Data analytics could reduce that number.

The study, titled “Go Big Security,” interviewed 302 federal, state and local government cybersecurity leaders in March to get a clearer view of the cyber challenges facing the public sector.

“Government organizations have access to a wealth of cyberthreat information,” Kevin Davis, area vice president of Splunk public sector, said in a statement. “The challenge is managing that data and connecting the dots in real time. That's how we get immediate insight into threats. Agencies need to detect threats faster and start to predict when and how they will occur.”

Some key findings from the study are:

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The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a nonprofit organization that promotes security best practices in cloud computing, will share its research on software defined perimeter (SDP) specifications with the federal government at the organization’s federal summit Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Jim Reavis, CSA CEO, said SDP is a next-generation architecture, built on the same principles that the government’s three-letter agencies — the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. — use to protect its classified networks.

The CSA developed a framework for developing them in the cloud in an open-source manner based on collaboration from more than 100 organizations, including Coca-Cola, Verizon and Mazda.

“We see this as an architecture that will be used more in the coming years that will allow for more use of public clouds with high-security needs,” Reavis said. The CSA defines SDP in more detail:

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The Office of Personnel Management surveyed nearly 400,000 federal employees across 82 agencies about their job satisfaction and workplace culture. OPM asked feds about their agencies’ telework programs and how often they work remotely. Here’s what they learned:

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