Sep 18 2012

FedBytes: Big Data’s Growing Pains

Hardware, software and tech news from across the government and around the country. This week: big data.

Data is a big deal—especially when organizations don’t know what to do with it (i.e., big data) and carriers are overcharging you (i.e., mobile data). And if all of that data is sensitive and being accessed at home and in coffee shops, it had better be secure. All that and more on data in FedBytes!

  • Service members in the Army and the Marine Corps have long been able to call in airstrikes when they need more firepower. The next step will be to call in offensive cyberattacks. That’s the plan for the “Cyber Effects Request Format, or CERF, a system that allows combatant commands to request cyber operations from U.S. Cyber Command.”  Currently, commanders can call in such support, but the Army hopes to expand this capability to tactical units on the ground. Find out more from Foreign Policy.
  • A recent study shows that wireless carriers sometimes overcharge for data use. The study, conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, says that carriers are generally accurate, but when they get it wrong, it’s usually by overcounting. If the thousands of federal wireless accounts are subject to overcharging, that would represent a considerable expense for the government. Read more on BGR.
  • IT is an indispensible tool for preventing waste and fraud in government spending, writes Ramani Vaidyanathan, a senior director for SAP’s Public Sector division. Vaidyanathan points to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board as an example of an agency that uses the Web to track down improper payments. The board has used the website to improve the transparency of payments on federal projects. Read more on Nextgov.
  • Automated cameras are a relatively new phenomenon to help government agencies keep an eye on things. Perhaps the next step is using cameras to monitor cameras. Prince George’s County in Maryland is mounting video cameras to monitor the cameras is uses to enforce speed limits, which have been the targets of vandals and cost $30,000 to $100,000 to replace. If the whole thing sounds a little too meta, that’s because it is. “It’s only a matter of time before they put up cameras to monitor the cameras that are monitoring the cameras,” writes The Washington Post’s Mike Rosenwald. Read more on The Washington Post.
  • “Deciding which mobile devices should be granted access to government internal networks, what the security settings should be and where information collected by the device should be stored, needs to be part of the mobility governance discussion,” writes Shawn McCarthy on IDC Government Insights. In a recent post, McCarthy offers points that agencies should consider as they establish mobile security frameworks. Read more on IDC Community Insights.
  • Large companies and government agencies are optimistic about what they can accomplish with big data, according to a recent survey, but it’s not clear exactly what they’ll be able to do. What is clear is that big data is gathering steam: 85 percent of the corporate and government executives surveyed said they have big data initiatives planned or in progress. Read more on the Harvard Business Review.
  • The Veterans Affairs Department plans to establish innovation as one of its key strengths, writes Jonah J. Czerwinski, founding director of the VA Center for Innovation. In an article on the Government Executive website, Czerwinski writes that the VA has focused on fostering innovation for years, resulting in a portfolio of more than 120 innovations. Read more on Government Executive.
  • The Homeland Security Department and National Institute of Standards and Technology are working together to build a “cyber ecosystem” in which “computer systems, devices, applications and users will automatically work together in near real time to anticipate and prevent cyber attacks.” The agencies are requesting information from industry to determine how “automated collective action, including information sharing between cyber devices” can improve the nation’s overall cybersecurity posture. Read more on Nextgov.

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