FedTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Government https://fedtechmagazine.com/ en How Agencies Can Secure Data from Shared Documents After Users Leave https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/how-agencies-can-secure-data-shared-documents-after-users-leave%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>A decade ago, agencies struggled to build collaborative workplaces because the technology to facilitate teamwork simply didn’t exist. The advent of modern office productivity suites changed that picture entirely.</p> <p>With tools such as <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/g-suite-by-google-cloud-business-subscription-license-1-month-1-user/3575806" target="_blank">Google G Suite</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/onedrive-for-business-plan-1-subscription-license-1-year-1-user/3322079?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Microsoft OneDrive</a> and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/box-digital-business-1000-1y/5747264?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Box</a>, agency teams could quickly and easily work together on a shared document without the version control problems that occurred with file servers and email threads back in the day.</p> <p>Eventually, however, these tools presented a new problem: Specifically, what happens when a user leaves the agency? In the days of shared servers, for instance, files remained on the server even after the employee who created them departed.</p> <p>Agency IT staff must understand how collaboration services behave following the deletion of an employee’s account, and plan now to preserve important data if an employee departs. It’s better to understand the consequences of a deletion in advance than be surprised when critical data disappears later.</p> <p>Here’s how three of the most common collaboration tools handle data associated with deleted accounts.</p> Mike Chapple https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/how-agencies-can-secure-data-shared-documents-after-users-leave%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How to Think Through the Costs Associated with a Cloud Migration https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/how-think-through-costs-associated-cloud-migration%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The federal government’s shift to the cloud over the past decade has resulted in significant benefits, such as the deployment of modern digital services and the ability to scale up computing resources to meet mission needs. The cloud has enabled many agencies to <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-epas-mission-overcame-little-adversity">rapidly expand the use of collaboration tools</a> to support remote workers during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>Despite the benefits of cloud, there are still many costs associated with migrations that IT leaders may be overlooking. There may be confusion over different cloud models, what resources are actually going to be needed to support different applications and how much they expect the use of cloud services to grow over the medium to long term. Additionally, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/qa-fedramps-mahan-how-agencies-can-get-secure-cloud-products">security and compliance costs and considerations</a> need to be taken into account.</p> <p>That is why it is critically important for IT leaders and those involved in cloud migration to conduct thorough cost analyses of such migrations. Without performing such work, agencies could wind up misjudging how much and what kind of cloud resources they need, which can lead to higher costs and lost time.</p> <p>There are clear guidelines IT leaders should follow when approaching cloud migration costs. First, however, they need to know what they may be overlooking.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/11/plan-well-hybrid-cloud-environment-and-see-efficiencies" target="_blank"><strong><em>READ MORE:</em></strong> <em>Find out how to effectively plan for a hybrid cloud environment.</em></a></p> <h2>The Overlooked Costs of Cloud Migrations</h2> <p>One of the biggest issues is that some IT leaders still do not fully understand the <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/iaas-vs-paas-vs-saas-what-cloud-strategy-right-your-agency-perfcon" target="_blank">fundamental differences between</a> Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service.</p> <p>There are also differences in pay-as-you-go and reserve models of Compute as a Service. In a reserve model, an agency would not save money by scaling up or scaling down computing resources.</p> <p>Cloud can be cheaper for agencies if there are services that can be run in a shared cloud environment as opposed to an on-premises data center. However, the more secure applications or data need to be, the more costly running a cloud service can become. Agencies need to comply with standards set out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or from the Defense Department and other governing bodies.</p> <p>It’s important to remember that a cloud service provider will provide a foundational level of security for its cloud environment, but the vast majority of cloud security falls on the agencies. IT leaders need secure their own apps and data.</p> <p>Even adopting managed services does not obviate all of the costs associated with a cloud migration, since agencies would still need to pay for a cloud service-level agreement, which can lead to other costs in the long term.</p> <p>There are other costs to consider as well. Does your agency need redundancy capabilities? How much caching will be needed? How many load balancers? Critically, IT leaders need to think about how much their use of cloud services will grow over the next five years. Leaders need to plan for that growth, since under provisioning at the start of a migration may end up costing the more in the end.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/11/sba-cbp-ustda-turn-cloud-keep-work-flowing" target="_blank"><strong><em>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</em></strong> <em>Find out how the SBA, CBP and USTDA turn to the cloud to keep work flowing.</em></a></p> <h2>How Cloud Migration Costs Can Be Analyzed</h2> <p>To get a better estimate of cloud migration costs, IT leaders need to draw out a proper picture or storyboard of their cloud growth, either internally <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/solutions/cloud/cloud-computing-migration-strategy-services.html.html" target="_blank">or with trusted partners</a>.</p> <p>The storyboarding needs to focus on an agency’s current cloud needs as well as the expected growth in cloud services. Typically, agencies upgrade most of their IT every three to five years, so IT leaders may be inclined to think about cloud costs being fixed during that three- to five-year window. However, cloud models do not work that way,</p> <p>Cloud is constantly changing. Software insurance costs may go up. New spikes in demand may come, as was the case when agencies shifted to massive telework deployments this spring.</p> <p>Digging into that scenario, let’s say agencies are deploying <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/11/vdi-or-daas-which-desktop-solution-best-your-agency" target="_blank">virtual desktop infrastructure</a> for their users via the cloud. Should they deploy that VDI setup for eight or nine hours per day to avoid paying for 24 hours of costs? They can, but they will need to get users into the mindset that they do not have physical desktops that can be accessed at any time of day. Do they need the entire infrastructure or just access to one application?</p> <p>So, agencies need to define what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Agencies also need to analyze the compliance costs associated with the mandates they need to meet and the risks they are willing to accept.</p> <p>If agencies do not accurately estimate their cloud costs and what they will need in terms of cloud resources, they will wind up sizing incorrectly and using the wrong capabilities. That could end up costing agencies two to three times what they might have paid for cloud services.</p> <p>Accurately determining cloud migration costs and the costs of maintaining a data center will help IT leaders persuade CIOs, CTOs and CFOs of the need for a cloud migration.</p> <p>The shift to remote work and the ability to increasingly <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/how-remote-workers-can-safely-access-classified-data" target="_blank">access sensitive information via the cloud</a> shows how quickly cloud environments can change. That’s why it is critical for cloud migration costs to be accurately estimated before a migration gets underway.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>FedTech<em>’s <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/capital" target="_blank">CapITal blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FedIT" target="_blank">#FedIT</a> hashtag.</em></p> <p><em><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/capital"><img alt="CapITal blog logo" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://fedtechmagazine.com/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/CapITal_Logo.jpg" /></a></em></p> Peter Dunn https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/how-think-through-costs-associated-cloud-migration%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Federal IT Leaders at DHS, NSA Highlight Election Security Efforts https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/federal-it-leaders-dhs-nsa-highlight-election-security-efforts%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>With less than 100 days to go before the general election on Nov. 3, federal cybersecurity leaders have been using their platforms on social media to highlight how the government is helping states enhance their election security.</p> <p>In the past few weeks, these officials — all of whom are among <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/30-federal-it-influencers-worth-follow-2020"><em>FedTech</em>’s 30 Federal IT Influencers Worth a Follow in 2020</a> — have turned to Twitter to showcase federal election cybersecurity initiatives and highlight resources for officials involved in such security efforts at the state level.</p> <p>“This is a highly scrutinized space,” <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/november-looms-so-do-cybersecurity-concerns-elections" target="_blank">says Geoff Hale</a>, director of the <a href="https://www.cisa.gov/election-security" target="_blank">Election Security Initiative at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency</a>, part of the Department of Homeland Security. “Anything that goes wrong can be used to undermine confidence in the institution.”</p> <p>In the run-up to the November vote, the federal government has stepped up efforts to help states and local officials increase their resilience to election security threats, both foreign and domestic. Those efforts are led by CISA and supported by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Guard.</p> Phil Goldstein https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/federal-it-leaders-dhs-nsa-highlight-election-security-efforts%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E The Pivot to Mass Remote Work: VA Tackles a ‘Once in a Century’ Event https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/pivot-mass-remote-work-va-tackles-once-century-event%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p><em>Editor's Note: This is one of a series of Q&amp;As FedTech has conducted with government IT leaders on how they pivoted to remote work. For more entries in the series, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-7-agencies-made-switch" target="_blank">click here</a>.</em></p> <p>Before the novel coronavirus crisis began in mid-March, the <a href="https://www.va.gov/" target="_blank">Department of Veterans Affairs</a> supported up to 50,000 remote workers on any given day — more than 10 percent of the agency’s 400,000-person workforce, which includes thousands of healthcare workers.</p> <p>Within a few weeks, the department scaled up telework by more than a factor of three, with around 135,000 employees consistently working remotely. But the department’s largest expansion of remote tools has been for <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/05/va-video-telehealth-program-keeps-rapidly-expanding-demand" target="_blank">clinicians delivering telehealth services</a>. </p> <p>James Gfrerer, VA CIO, says that the agency’s 8,000 IT staffers worked seven days a week at one point to support employees across the organization and navigate the crisis. The department has relied on tools including <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft/microsoft-teams.html" target="_blank">Microsoft Teams</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/cisco/cisco-work-intuitive.html?key=cisco" target="_blank">Cisco Webex</a>, cloud infrastructure and VPN connections to provide employees with secure access to IT resources.</p> <p>The VA <a href="https://www.oit.va.gov/" target="_blank">Office of Information and Technology</a>’s (OIT) Office of Strategic Sourcing also collaborated and partnered with vendors at the onset of the pandemic to help them understand VA IT requirements. This office, led by Luwanda Jones, with Tina Burnett, James Bryant and supporting offices, worked to ensure OIT stayed ahead of customer demand. </p> <p>Gfrerer tells FedTech how the VA has responded to the challenges of the novel coronavirus crisis.</p> Calvin Hennick https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/pivot-mass-remote-work-va-tackles-once-century-event%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E At the Senate’s First Virtual Hearing, an Expert Delivers Testimony from a Truck https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/senates-first-virtual-hearing-expert-delivers-testimony-truck%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Before joining the U.S. Senate’s first-ever virtual hearing, Lorelei Kelly drove a truck all over her family farm in New Mexico, looking for the best internet connection on the 23-acre property.</p> <p>“In rural America, you never know if you will have a signal,” says Kelly, director of congressional modernization at Georgetown University’s <a href="https://global.georgetown.edu/georgetown_units/beeck-center-for-social-impact-and-innovation" target="_blank">Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.</a></p> <p>On April 30, she served as one of three witnesses on the Senate’s <a href="https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/hearings/roundtable_-continuity-of-senate-operations-and-remote-voting-in-times-of-crisis" target="_blank">Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ hearing</a> on the importance of allowing the Senate to meet and vote remotely in times of crisis.</p> <p>When Georgetown closed its Washington, D.C., campus in March because of the novel coronavirus, Kelly drove to her family’s farm in San Juan County, N.M., to shelter in place and work remotely.</p> <p>In doing so, she’s learned about the trials and tribulations of trying to get access to rural broadband. Every day, the location with the best cellular connection changes. So, before the virtual hearing began, she drove her sister’s truck around for 10 minutes before finding the best internet connection, next to a shed. She parked and used her <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/?key=ipad&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">iPad device’s</a> cellular connection to jump on the <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/?key=cisco%20webex&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Cisco Webex</a> videoconference.</p> Wylie Wong https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/08/senates-first-virtual-hearing-expert-delivers-testimony-truck%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Fall 2020 https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/magazine/issue/2020/7/fall-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/magazine/issue/2020/7/fall-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E What Agencies Learned from the Unexpected Telework Experiment https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/what-agencies-learned-unexpected-telework-experiment%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Federal agencies have lived through government shutdowns and prepared for floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. They’ve written, tested and revised business continuity plans designed to keep operations running in dire circumstances. But they’ve never been through anything like COVID-19.</p> <p>While traditional business continuity practices tend to focus on short-term disasters and outages, the coronavirus crisis forced agencies to send employees home for months. <em>FedTech</em> magazine asked federal IT leaders to discuss how systems and staffers met the challenge. We spoke with <strong>Jerry Golley</strong>, CIO of the Farm Credit Administration; <strong>Jack Gumtow</strong>, CIO of the Defense Intelligence Agency; <strong>Edward Mays</strong>, executive director for the Enterprise Data Management and Engineering Directorate at U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and <strong>Vaughn Noga</strong>, CIO of the Environmental Protection Agency. </p> <p><em>Editor's Note: For our full series of Q&amp;As with government IT leaders on how they pivoted to remote work, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-7-agencies-made-switch" target="_blank">click here</a>.</em></p> <h2><strong style="color: #c74037;">FEDTECH: </strong>What portion of your agency usually teleworks, and what sort of increase did you see during the pandemic?</h2> <p><strong>Golley — </strong>A large portion of our staff does audits. They’re traveling a lot, so it’s a mobile workforce. We also have a large portion of people who telework one day per pay period, so a large ­number of people were mobile-ready. What we didn’t know was if we could support everybody teleworking ­simultaneously. Previously, we might have had half the agency at any one time working remotely. </p> <p><strong>Mays — </strong>In my organization, about 20 percent of the population normally teleworks three days a week, but we’ve always been prepared for the larger telework in case of emergencies. </p> <p><strong>Noga —</strong> We have a fairly robust teleworking culture. Prior to this, we were at about 58 percent of the agency teleworking, and that was one or two days per pay period. Now, we’re at about 96 percent of folks teleworking. </p> Calvin Hennick https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/what-agencies-learned-unexpected-telework-experiment%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How Contactless Payments Can Help Federal Agencies Limit Coronavirus Spread https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/how-contactless-payments-can-help-federal-agencies-limit-coronavirus-spread-perfcon%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>For federal agencies that accept in-person payments, rethinking common touchpoints — including point-of-sale terminals — represents a critical step in curbing the spread of COVID-19.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces" target="_blank">recent data</a> from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Princeton University, the new coronavirus “is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces.” That means that if an infected customer touches a POS system that isn’t properly disinfected between transactions, later customers and even workers are at increased risk of catching and further spreading the virus.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/03/fewer-people-carry-cash-agencies-evolve-pos-systems">Contactless payment</a> systems have the potential to reduce this risk significantly by enabling agencies to offer no-touch transactions. They also deliver the knock-on benefit of increased transaction security — a feature that in isolation hasn’t been enough to drive mainstream adoption of the technology. The COVID crisis, however, has tipped the scale: <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/select/mastercard-survey-contactless-payments/" target="_blank">CNBC reports</a> that more than 51 percent of Americans now use some form of contactless payment, opening the door for government agencies to follow suit.</p> Doug Bonderud https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/how-contactless-payments-can-help-federal-agencies-limit-coronavirus-spread-perfcon%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E 30 Federal IT Influencers Worth a Follow in 2020 https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/30-federal-it-influencers-worth-follow-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The federal IT landscape, like most aspects of life, has been transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, a broad spectrum of government agencies <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-7-agencies-made-switch" target="_blank">embraced telework tools and technologies as never before</a> to keep the business of government running this past spring.</p> <p>2020 was always going to be a pivot, with the November election looming and either a new administration taking office in January 2021 or a second term for the Trump administration likely bringing changes in federal IT personnel and policy. Some of those changes are already underway, with Federal CIO Suzette Kent <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/06/federal-cio-suzette-kent-stepping-down" target="_blank">stepping down from her role</a> in July. </p> <p>The pandemic has also upended what it means to be an influencer in federal IT. With so many in-person events going virtual, it is no longer the person taking a keynote stage at a conference who commands the most attention. Having a robust online presence is more of an asset now than ever for officials and organizations looking to get their message out to the government IT community. </p> <p>With that in mind, we have crafted a fresh “influencer list” of bloggers, Twitter personalities, podcasts, LinkedIn pros and those who use their social channels to influence the conversation. They have a lot to say on the topics of the day — from remote work to cybersecurity, digital transformation, election security and more. With so many people working from home, these thought leaders have a ready audience that is hungry for what they are offering, which is right at users’ fingertips. </p> <p>We hope these 30 federal IT influencers, listed in alphabetical order by first name, will be your guiding stars for insights and opinions on the latest in government technology — and if you’re on the list, spread the news and grab our IT influencer cover image for your social media pages or websites.</p> Phil Goldstein https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/30-federal-it-influencers-worth-follow-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E The Pivot to Mass Remote Work: How SEC Kept the Mission Humming https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-sec-kept-mission-humming%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p><em>Editor's Note: This is one of a series of Q&amp;As FedTech has conducted with government IT leaders on how they pivoted to remote work. For more entries in the series, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-7-agencies-made-switch" target="_blank">click here</a>.</em></p> <p>When he started his new job in January 2020, <a href="https://www.sec.gov/" target="_blank">Securities and Exchange Commission</a> CIO David Bottom learned that teleworking was a routine part of the SEC’s operations. </p> <p>But little had prepared him for the scenario he would face after barely two months on the job, when the coronavirus crisis forced nearly the entire SEC staff to work from home full time. </p> <p>Bottom was concerned about the agency’s ability to scale telework operations so rapidly, as well as the ability of the agency’s network to handle the additional capacity. He soon found, though, that the SEC’s previous IT investments served the agency well in an emergency.</p> <p>In this Q&amp;A, he describes the steps the SEC took to ensure a smooth transition to full-time remote work for the entire agency. </p> Calvin Hennick https://fedtechmagazine.com/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/article/2020/07/pivot-mass-remote-work-how-sec-kept-mission-humming%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E