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Did you know the federal government is developing a national strategy to guide agencies’ Big Data research and development programs, policies and investments over the next five to 10 years?

The Big Data Senior Steering Group at the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) is spearheading the effort. The group released a draft of the National Big Data R&D Strategic Plan in October, but more work is ahead.

The steering group and its member agencies envision an ecosystem in which agencies are empowered to make decisions and discoveries based on data sets that are large and diverse and can be accessed in real time, according to the draft plan. Another priority is educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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Big changes are ahead for the Federal Risk Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP. A new two-year roadmap released in December details more than 40 initiatives aimed at accomplishing three overarching goals for the federal cloud security program: increasing stakeholder engagement, including the number of agencies implementing FedRAMP; improving program efficiencies by automating FedRAMP documentation; and adapting FedRAMP to support evolving cloud offerings and security policies, while focusing on risk management rather than compliance.

Called FedRAMP Forward, the new roadmap will also ensure that the cloud security program is implemented more consistently, and it will clear up agency misconceptions that restrict competition among cloud providers vying for federal business. The roadmap groups initiatives in six-, 12-, 18- and 24-month intervals.

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Paul Austin

Paul Austin, the CTO of EMC’s federal division, recently answered some questions from FedTech managing editor David Stegon about the evolution of hybrid cloud use within the federal government.

FEDTECH: What are the most common government uses for hybrid cloud?

AUSTIN:  Government missions are now demanding more from IT — asking for choice in devices; requiring greater and faster access to infrastructure and applications; and driving new demands about application flexibility, such as where to deploy, for how long and with how many resources. To meet these expectations, government IT organizations must deliver IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) via a well-run hybrid cloud that brings together the trust, control and reliability of private cloud with the simplicity, low cost and flexibility of public cloud, while maintaining interoperability and visibility.

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Steven VanRoekel has left his post as chief innovation officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, FedScoop reported. Last September, VanRoekel announced he would be stepping down as federal CIO to join USAID's efforts to fight Ebola. President Barack Obama announced last month that Tony Scott, VMware's former senior vice president and CIO, would take the reins as federal CIO.

VanRoekel told FedScoop he wanted to spend time with his family and does not have another job lined up. Read more here.

 

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The federal government is serious about catching a Russian cybercriminal believed to be the mastermind behind the Game Over Zeus botnet. The FBI announced Tuesday it would pay out $3 million for information that leads to the arrest of Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, according to Bloomberg. This is the largest reward the FBI has offered.

"Game Over Zeus has infected more than 1 million computers and cost victims over $100 million," CNN reported.

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A 2010 cloud-first policy required federal agencies to default to secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud-based solutions when evaluating options for new IT deployments. Since then, agencies have moved numerous systems to the cloud, including email, help desk functions and web hosting. As agencies move more sensitive data into the cloud, questions about security, management and disaster recovery capabilities remain. CDW•G can help.

CDW•G’s latest ebook, available for download through the Technology Insights app, offers practical guidance for working through these issues and achieving financial and operational efficiencies in the cloud.

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More than a decade has passed since Congress approved comprehensive legislation for securing government systems. Federal cybersecurity has come a long way since then, but agencies must continue to evolve as cyberthreats persist.

December 2002:

Congress passes the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, requiring agencies to develop, document and implement an information security program.

January 2008:

President George W. Bush launches the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative to help secure the U.S. in cyberspace.

February 2013:

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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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A new report released by Sen. Edward Markey's office found that "security measures to prevent remote access to vehicle electronics are inconsistent and haphazard." Many drivers depend on wireless capabilities and navigation tools, but these technologies could be vulnerable to hackers seeking to steal drivers' personal data or alter the operation of their vehicles. 

“Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyberattacks or privacy invasions,” Markey told The New York Times.

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Dan Tangherlini will step down as head of the General Services Administration next month.

In a message to GSA staff, Tangherlini praised employees for their work to introduce new technologies, smarter acquisition platforms and innovative workspaces at the agency. Tangherlini came to GSA from the Treasury Department in the wake of a conference spending scandal that led to the 2012 resignation of former Administrator Martha Johnson. At Treasury, he served as assistant secretary for management, chief financial officer, and chief performance officer

“Much has changed at GSA since I arrived here in April of 2012 as a result of your hard work, Tangherlini said in his message. “Today, GSA is stronger, more efficient, and better able to serve our partner agencies and the American people.”

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