From home improvements to auto repair, using the proper tools makes a job easier. A true expert can often get the job done better and in far less time when equipped with the right tools. Agencies have long found that IT operates the same way. Once the proper tool is implemented, the mission is far easier to accomplish. This has been true for decades — with incredible successes such as electronic income tax filing and the computer-tabulated census.
It’s true on the battlefield as well. The military services are always looking to find new tools to help them accomplish their missions more safely and effectively. Cloud computing is one tool that is coming into its own. The Army Brings the Cloud to the Battlefield explores how the services, led by the Army, are using the cloud to collect intelligence and provide analysis to troops on the ground more quickly than ever before.
The services are also looking for the right tools well behind the front lines. Defense Agencies Lead Windows 8 Deployment details how several Defense Department agencies have entered an enterprise agreement for Microsoft software tools, including Windows 8 and Office 2013, to improve back-office operations.
Finding the right tools is critical for nonmilitary agencies as well. Feds Test and Deploy Smartphone Accessories to Access Agency Data reports on how agencies are getting more use out of mobile devices by attaching accessories such as smart-card readers to them. And How Federal Agencies Track Down Improper Payments with Smart Data Management explains how data-mining tools and business analytics are helping agencies avoid millions of dollars in improper payments.
Finding the right tool is only half the battle; the other half is using them effectively. The article These Data Center Tools Can Streamline Computing Resources offers best practices for using data center infrastructure management tools. And How to Defend Against Evolving Threats suggests how best to use tools such as data loss prevention and encryption technologies to keep agency data safe from evolving cyberthreats.
What tools are coming down the pike for agencies to try out in the coming years? The IT Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology tests new technologies to see how they could be used by the government. Lab Director Chuck Romine discusses some of these technologies in the FedTech Interview.