FedTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Government https://fedtechmagazine.com/rss.xml en Federal Agencies Experience Mixed Data Center Optimization Results https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/federal-agencies-experience-mixed-data-center-optimization-results <span>Federal Agencies Experience Mixed Data Center Optimization Results</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/62836" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC</span></span> <span>Fri, 06/14/2019 - 10:51</span> <div><p>While some federal agencies were on track late last year to meet Office of Management and Budget data center cost reduction and consolidation goals, a number had only made limited progress toward reaching other data center optimization objectives, according to <a href="https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/698448.pdf" target="_blank">a Government Accountability Office report</a> published in April.</p> <p>The OMB’s <a href="https://datacenters.cio.gov/" target="_blank">Data Center Optimization Initiative </a>encouraged agencies to increase data center efficiency in several areas, potentially decreasing operating costs and agencies’ environmental footprint. The OMB had previously directed agencies to reduce the number of outdated or duplicative data centers in its 2010 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative.</p> <p>The new DCOI recommended agencies <strong>shut down at least 25 percent of their tiered data centers</strong> — facilities that include a separate physical space for IT infrastructure, an uninterruptible power supply, a dedicated cooling system or zone and a backup power generator — by the end of fiscal year 2018.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/11/dhs-sees-value-cloud-shift-it-consolidates-data-centers"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH</strong>: See how the Department of Homeland Security manages storage as it shutters data centers.</em></a></p> <p>Noting that server rooms and closets pose security risks and management challenges, the OMB also advised agencies to <strong>shut down at least 60 percent of any nontiered data centers </strong>and to optimize data center value even more by measuring their performance and working to achieve certain targets for server utilization, power usage and other processes.</p> <p>As of August 2018, 13 federal agencies — slightly more than half of the 24 participating in the DCOI initiative — <strong>had met or had plans to meet their data center closure targets</strong>, according to Carol Harris, GAO director for IT management issues. </p> <p>Fewer, though, were scheduled to achieve the OMB’s performance measurement objectives.</p> <p>“Two-thirds of agencies had also met or planned to meet their cost savings goals,” Harris says. “However, only three agencies met or planned to meet their data center optimization goals.”</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Agencies Advance Toward Some Aims, Yet Not Others</h2> <p>According to findings from the GAO’s performance audit, <strong>13 agencies reported they had already met the OMB’s tiered data center closing goal</strong>, and another three agencies intended to meet the goal by the end of the fiscal year. Six did not plan to meet the objective; two were exempt because they had one or no data centers.</p> <p>Eleven agencies with nontiered data centers reported they’d already closed 60 percent of them, per the OMB’s goal, and three more planned to do so by the end of fiscal year 2018. Nine did not plan to meet the goal; one of them, the Social Security Administration, did not report having any nontiered data centers.</p> <p>According to Harris, many agencies focused on closing data centers as a technique to achieve sufficient cost savings — another DCOI stipulation.</p> <p>The OMB specified agencies should reduce annual costs that were attributable to physical data centers by at least 25 percent, which would result in <strong>savings of at least $2.7 billion for fiscal years 2016-2018.</strong></p> <p>While five did not plan to meet the goal by the 2018 deadline, 13 agencies said they had reached or planned to reach or exceed their OMB goals. Although some agencies weren’t given cost reduction targets — the Department of Education, for example, didn’t report any tiered data centers in its inventory — <strong>three agencies that did not have targets also said they had achieved cost savings.</strong></p> <p>In all, 22 agencies had achieved <strong>$1.94 billion in cost savings from 2016-2018</strong>, and 21 agencies identified an additional $0.42 billion in planned savings through the end of fiscal year 2018.</p> <p>Still, the resulting total — $2.36 billion — comes to roughly $0.37 billion less than the OMB’s original $2.7 billion overall savings goal. </p> <p>The DCOI also tasked federal agencies with measuring their progress toward specific server utilization, energy metering, power usage, facility utilization and virtualization-based data center optimization goals. </p> <p><strong>Agencies reported the most success in power usage effectiveness</strong> — defined by the DCOI as the proportion of energy used by IT equipment compared to the total energy used by the data center — and virtualization. Eight agencies had reached the target power usage goal; six reported they’d met the virtualization target of four operating systems for every one physical server.</p> <p>However,<strong> only three agencies had met DCOI energy metering goals</strong>, and fewer had reached the facility and server utilization targets. Nine agencies had only met one of the five optimization targets, and 10 had not met any.</p> <p>In addition, five of the 22 applicable agencies weren’t able to assess server utilization or power usage effectiveness because they either hadn’t implemented automated monitoring tools at any data centers — another one of the OMB’s requests — or had experienced shortcomings in adding the tools.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">Buy-In and Combining Resources Can Accelerate Optimization</h2> <p>The GAO report also highlighted some of the practices that helped six agencies successfully meet their DCOI goals.</p> <p>Agencies that increased data center efficiency, according to the GAO, <strong>obtained executive leadership support for the effort</strong> and utilized cloud and shared services. Some increased virtualization used or employed an organizationwide communications plan to facilitate consolidation and optimization activities’ adoption.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-323" target="_blank">previous GAO report</a> suggested numerous factors — including having a decentralized organizational structure and competing priorities for resources — had resulted in agencies only making limited progress toward reaching OMB optimization goals through 2016. The majority had not fully addressed those concerns by December 2018, according to the GAO.</p> <p>Agencies have also provided a number of reasons why they feel they haven’t been able to reach their optimization objectives. The Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, said <strong>its project implementation being dependent on funding approval could potentially push cost savings to 2019 </strong>or beyond. </p> <p>In response to the April 2019 data center report, some agencies said they felt certain DCOI stipulations weren’t applicable, due to proposed changes to the initiative the OMB shared in November 2018. These would focus efforts on agencies’ larger, tiered data centers; alter the metrics used to monitor data center performance; and have the OMB and agencies work together to set individualized closure and savings goals.</p> <p>The OMB has not clarified, though, when the changes will be finalized, according to Harris, and the GAO has been told <strong>the August 2016 DCOI guidance will remain in effect</strong> until any revisions are formally issued.</p> <p>“The timing of OMB’s proposed guidance changes, and the fact they were not finalized before the report was issued, made responding to agency comments a little interesting,” Harris says. “A number referred to OMB’s proposed guidance changes as reasons for their particular responses, or for asking that their recommendations be closed.”</p> <p>While agencies await clarification on the changes, the GAO, which has issued several reports on data center optimization in recent years, is already at work on its next one.</p> <p>“GAO is required by the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act to conduct annual reviews through fiscal year 2020,” Harris says. “We are just beginning work on our next review, <strong>which should be completed by spring 2020</strong>.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/hybrid-cloud-infrastructure-report.html" target="_blank"><img alt="CDW Digital Transformation Insight Report" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/Digital%20Transformation_IR_1%20(1)_0.jpg" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/erin-brereton"> <div>Erin Brereton</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=Erbrer09&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erin Brereton has written about technology, business and other topics for more than 50 magazines, newspapers and online publications. </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:51:05 +0000 Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC 42671 at https://fedtechmagazine.com When to Move to an Enterprise IT as a Service Model https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/when-move-enterprise-it-service-model <span>When to Move to an Enterprise IT as a Service Model </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/62836" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/12/2019 - 16:49</span> <div><p>The federal government spent about $88 billion on IT in fiscal year 2019, according to <a href="https://itdashboard.gov" target="_blank" title="ITdashboard.gov">the federal IT Dashboard</a>. Much of that was spent on in-house technologies and government-owned and operated IT systems. Some agencies are questioning whether so much technology spending — and associated IT tasks — should be done by the government itself. </p> <p>At least that is what several military service branches are asking by shifting to a model known as <strong>Enterprise IT as a Service</strong>. The model outsources some core services to the private sector, including network transport, device provisioning, cloud services and even help desk functions.</p> <p>The goal is to save money, keep pace with technology innovation and allow agency IT personnel to focus on cybersecurity and other core, mission-driven functions. </p> <p>Based on the experiences of the service branches, and their philosophy on the model, agency IT leaders should consider it if they want to <strong>get out of the business of day-to-day IT operations to focus on higher-value work</strong> and if they want to speed up the modernization of their IT infrastructure. </p> <p><em><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/01/how-federal-it-leaders-can-adapt-accelerating-tech-change" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Find out how federal IT leaders can adapt to accelerating technological change.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Army, Air Force Embrace Enterprise IT as a Service Model</h2> <p>In March, the Army made clear it would be moving to the Enterprise IT as a Service model, which the Air Force began undertaking in 2018, and which follows the Navy’s consolidation of its IT infrastructure into the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet in 2001.</p> <p><a href="https://federalnewsnetwork.com/army/2019/03/army-plans-to-follow-navy-air-force-in-outsourcing-much-of-its-it-infrastructure/" target="_blank">Federal News Network notes</a>: “The Army estimates that 70 percent of the servers, routers and end-user devices on its 288 worldwide facilities are at or near the end of life. The figure is even higher for the equipment that handles voice communications — about 90 percent.” </p> <p>Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army’s CIO, has said if the Army proceeded as normal, it would take until at least 2030 to modernize all of that equipment, all while it footed the cost for maintaining the legacy infrastructure, the publication reports.</p> <p>In April, the Army posted a <a href="https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?tab=documents&amp;tabmode=form&amp;subtab=core&amp;tabid=dacad49d45571512d54d8c4983ea7306" target="_blank">request for information</a> about the new model, seeking information on commercial IT services for networking, end-user devices, compute and storage needs. </p> <p>According to the RFI, <strong>the Army plans to conduct an EITaaS pilot</strong> that will allow it “to evaluate commercial solutions and their ability to strengthen enterprise IT service delivery, improve user experience and integrate with existing government-only systems, architecture, processes and facilities, while maintaining an aggressive cybersecurity posture.”</p> <p>The Army is planning <strong>three pilot projects to test out the model in 2019, with six to eight more likely to follow in 2020</strong>, Crawford said at a March event at the Association of the U.S. Army’s headquarters in Arlington, Va., according to Federal News Network. </p> <p>The Army is following the Air Force’s lead on Enterprise IT as a Service. Last fall, the Air Force <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/11/air-force-pushes-ahead-its-mobile-and-cloud-initiatives">began an experiment</a> at 20 out of its 187 bases to test the model and use commercially owned and operated IT services at those bases to learn and adjust before transitioning the rest of the service branch in 2020. </p> <p>In March, the Air Force <a href="https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1778451/second-experiment-for-it-services-begins-at-eight-bases/" target="_blank">inked a contract</a> to expand the pilot to several more bases to transform them to “a commercially provided, as-a-service approach for information technology service management, enterprise service desk, and end user device management, according to an Air Force statement.</p> <p><em><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/edge-computing-air-force-and-fema-take-advantage-intelligent-edge-perfcon" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Find out how edge computing benefits feds.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Why Enterprise IT as a Service Could Be Right for Your Agency</h2> <p>Why should an agency consider Enterprise IT as a Service? There are several reasons, including<strong> an improved user experience and the ability to free up personnel</strong> to perform tasks IT leaders think are more essential than responding to help disk tickets. </p> <p>“The strategic intent is two-fold,” Bill Marion, Air Force deputy CIO, said in the statement. “First, improve the IT user experience and mission effectiveness of our Airmen and second, to <strong>focus less on running commodity IT services and more on our core competencies</strong> in the cyber warfighting domain.”</p> <p>Another consideration to keep in mind is whether moving to the model will allow your agency to leapfrog ahead in terms of infrastructure modernization. Working with a commercial partner can help increase the pace of IT modernization, leverage commercial best practices and allow personnel to focus on internal cybersecurity platforms and projects. </p> <p>“It’s almost like a Gordian Knot we’re trying to untie when you look at the effort to modernize the enterprise,” Crawford said, according to Federal News Network. “The Army’s enterprise network, at its current level of investment, cannot meet the immediate and future warfighting requirements to optimize force readiness.”</p> <p>Not every agency will need to adopt Enterprise IT as a Service, but <strong>it should be a model worth considering</strong> as the push for government IT modernization continues. </p> <p><em>This article is part of FedTech's <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/capital">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> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/11536"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/Morgan.jpg?itok=10521-AF" width="58" height="58" alt="Keshun Morgan" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/taxonomy/term/11536"> <div>Keshun Morgan</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Keshun Morgan is a Federal Solutions Manager at CDW•G. </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 12 Jun 2019 20:49:02 +0000 Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC 42666 at https://fedtechmagazine.com New Shared Services Initiative Plans to Standardize Agencies' Business Practices https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/new-shared-services-initiative-plans-standardize-agencies-business-practices <span>New Shared Services Initiative Plans to Standardize Agencies&#039; Business Practices</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/62836" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/11/2019 - 14:51</span> <div><p>The federal government is taking another run at consolidating some basic business practices across agencies, and experts say that new technologies and improved governance could give this latest iteration a better chance of success.</p> <p>This latest effort to create a shared services ecosystem aims to <strong>lower costs and ensure best practices</strong> while delivering modern infrastructure across a range of business needs.</p> <p>“This could allow agencies to better concentrate on serving the American people. It would get them out of some of the blocking and tackling of running the federal government,” says Tom Suder, president of the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center.</p> <p> </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/hybrid-cloud-infrastructure-report.html" target="_blank" title="CDW Modern IT Infrastructure Report"><img alt="CDW Modern IT Infrastructure Report" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1_0.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">New Plan Falls Under the President’s Management Agenda</h2> <p>The Office of Management and Budget <a href="https://www.fedscoop.com/shared-government-services-omb/" target="_blank">announced the new initiative</a> this spring, placing the effort under the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Presidents-Management-Agenda.pdf" target="_blank">President's Management Agenda</a>, which sets a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government.</p> <p>The plan calls for creation of multiple <strong>Quality Services Management Offices</strong> responsible for standardizing processes, reducing the technology footprint and shrinking operating costs.</p> <p>The General Services Administration will take the lead on human resources transactions, while the Treasury Department will streamline financial management services. The Department of Health and Human Services will consolidate grant management, and the Department of Homeland Security will handle cybersecurity.</p> <p>Despite past efforts at consolidation, <a href="https://www.performance.gov/sharing-services-memo-release/" target="_blank">the OMB memo</a><strong> points to “significant duplicative effort”</strong> across the federal government when it comes to delivering on these basic business needs. </p> <p>The OMB envisions big savings for agencies that tap into these shared services, noting that common mission-support services such as processing hiring transactions or managing federal finances, travel and payroll costs taxpayers <strong>more than $25 billion annually.</strong></p> <h2 id="toc_1">DHS Will Oversee the Government Cybersecurity Marketplace</h2> <p>DHS officials <strong>envision a governmentwide marketplace for cybersecurity services</strong>, a single consolidated source for the most cutting-edge tools and capabilities available from both governmental and private-sector suppliers.</p> <p>“We are effectively putting in place the government storefront, with roles for industry and agency partners,” says Matt Hartman, acting director of Federal Network Resilience in DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.</p> <p>Like the other QSMOs, DHS has until September to develop a five-year plan for its shared-service offering, and it’s seeking agency input to inform that effort. </p> <p>“We are in the process of engaging agencies, communicating out a high-level vision and then working with agencies to get the feedback that we can use to tailor or refine our approach,” Hartman says.</p> <p><strong>DHS already delivers some shared cyber capabilities </strong>across government, especially through its <a href="https://www.dhs.gov/publication/continuous-diagnostics-and-mitigation-cdm-program" target="_blank">Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation</a> efforts. It will aim to leverage that experience in support of specific agencies’ needs. </p> <p>“We intend to start slowly, providing services that deliver value and fill critical gaps, services agencies truly need,” Hartman says.</p> <h2 id="toc_2">At HHS, The Focus Is on Streamlining the Grants Process</h2> <p>Officials at HHS likewise say their grants management effort will be aimed at delivering on practical end goals. By pulling together routine and repeatable aspects of the grant process, “we are trying to streamline the user experience,” says <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/qa-hhs-chief-product-officer-promotes-shared-services">Todd Simpson</a>, chief product officer for HHS. </p> <p>“That means centralized access and simplified data inputs to create process efficiencies across the whole grants lifecycle. <strong>A more structured process will lead to efficiency gains</strong>, with a single portal, a single sign-on,” he says. All this consolidation “should bring about economies of scale, which should lower cost.”</p> <p>The OMB memo acknowledges that this is not the first time the government has attempted shared services, and that there is more to do: “Today's federal environment still presents incredible challenges in effectively, efficiently and cost-competitively delivering mission-support functions to agencies.”</p> <p>What’s going to be different this time around? Experts say that <strong>new technologies could smooth the path</strong>, and they also point to OMB’s governance strategies as a possible mark in favor of this latest effort.</p> <p>Past shared-services efforts include the 2004 creation of the <a href="https://fcw.com/articles/2010/03/22/financial-systems-integration-office-shuts-down.aspx" target="_blank">Financial Systems Integration Office</a>, which shut down in 2010, and a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/assets/egov_docs/LoB_ConOps_1_0.pdf" target="_blank">Concept of Operations for Line of Business Initiatives</a> released in 2006, which aimed to consolidate IT and business practices in key areas including financial, human resources and grants. A <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2012/05/02/introducing-it-shared-services-strategy" target="_blank">Federal IT Shared Services Strategy</a> superseded some of the LBIs in 2012.</p> <h2 id="toc_3">Cloud Computing Makes Consolidation More Likely</h2> <p>“The idea was to nudge people toward working in a common system. But it’s difficult to get people to consolidate, because everyone wants to control their own systems,” says Shawn P. McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights.</p> <p>The advent of cloud computing changes the game. If the QSMOs were to leverage the cloud in order to deliver their service offerings, which they almost certainly will, <strong>that could give agencies the impetus that was lacking in the past,</strong> McCarthy says.</p> <p>“The cloud marketplace — where you can spin up a new iteration as you need it — has been inexpensive enough and flexible enough that people may believe it actually is easier” than mounting agency-specific systems, he says. “The move to cloud has taken away so much maintenance and improved security so much, it’s kind of hard to argue with it.”</p> <p>Others note that in addition to cloud, the rise of application programming interfaces and standardized commercial off-the-shelf connections also will empower the sharing of services.</p> <p>“In the old days, if you were across the country, you’d have delays in processing,” Suder says. With ubiquitous cloud service and easy interconnections, <strong>“it allows you to deliver services on a much wider basis.”</strong></p> <p>The new initiative calls for engagement with the experts on the ground — the various chief executive councils representing procurement, accounting, IT and other key business areas.</p> <p>“Now you have practitioners evolved. The people who have actually done this are now more part of the process, are being structurally included,” says Jim Taylor, a managing director in the public sector practice at Grant Thornton.</p> <p>In addition, the clear authority given to the QSMOs could help empower the effort. “This is a different leadership role than we have seen under prior initiatives,” says Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel to the Professional Services Council. “<strong>They’ve been very explicit about roles and responsibilities this time</strong>.”</p> <p>As agencies await the launch of the new shared service offerings, experts say this may be an ideal time to take stock of in-house capabilities. It makes sense to look not just at universal needs — those routine tasks that could be easily shared with others — but also at the more unique aspects of an agency’s operation.</p> <p>“You’ve got to know where you are doing most of your manual or custom activities,” Taylor says. “Then, <strong>when you are ready to go, you’ll know where the weak spots are</strong>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/11361"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/AdamStone2_0.jpg?itok=cCl1Z1mX" width="58" height="58" alt="Adam Stone" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/taxonomy/term/11361"> <div>Adam Stone</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Adam Stone writes on technology trends from Annapolis, Md., with a focus on government IT, military and first-responder technologies.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 11 Jun 2019 18:51:14 +0000 Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC 42661 at https://fedtechmagazine.com Executive Order Aims to Close Cybersecurity Workforce Gap https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/executive-order-aims-close-cybersecurity-workforce-gap <span>Executive Order Aims to Close Cybersecurity Workforce Gap</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/62836" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:30</span> <div><p>The latest executive order on cybersecurity from the White House puts even more emphasis on the necessity to grow and sustain the nation’s cybersecurity workforce with new training programs that cover both private and public sector needs.</p> <p>Since 2015, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. has increased by more than 50 percent, with <strong>about 314,000 unfilled positions today</strong>, according to a report by the <a href="https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/190129_Crumpler_Cybersecurity_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" title="Report by Center for Strategic and International Studies">Center for Strategic and International Studies</a>. Globally, the shortage stands at about 1.8 million positions, the report states.</p> <p>President Trump’s <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-americas-cybersecurity-workforce/" target="_blank" title="Trump executive order on cyberworkforce">executive order</a>, issued on May 2, aims to allow cybersecurity professionals to <strong>move more easily between public and private sectors</strong> and between government agencies. Among the programs it proposes are:</p> <ul><li>A <strong>“rotational assignment program”</strong> that will temporarily move IT and cybersecurity professionals to the Department of Homeland Security to help improve their skills, and moved DHS employees to other agencies to beef up their capacities</li> <li>A new, annual <strong>President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition</strong> to find and reward the best cybersecurity workers in the federal government</li> <li>The use of <strong>aptitude assessments</strong> to find current federal workers who might have the talent for cybersecurity</li> <li>The incorporation of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework <strong>(<a href="https://www.nist.gov/itl/applied-cybersecurity/nice/resources/nice-cybersecurity-workforce-framework" target="_blank" title="the NICE Framework">the NICE Framework</a>) </strong>into programs designed to find new cybersecurity workers, new contracts for IT and cybersecurity solutions and efforts by state, local, private and other enterprises who are searching for new cybersecurity workers.</li> </ul><p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/cyber-security-report.html" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/Cybersecurity_IR_howstrong_700x220.jpg" /></a></p> <p><strong>“Government and private-sector action is urgently needed to grow and sustain our cybersecurity workforce, which is a strategic asset to our country,”</strong> reads a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-strengthening-americas-cybersecurity-workforce-secure-nation-promote-prosperity/" target="_blank">statement accompanying the executive order</a>. “An inadequate cybersecurity workforce jeopardizes our critical infrastructure, national defense, and modern economy.”</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Executive Order Expands Existing Directives</h2> <p>The executive order also <strong>includes several deadlines</strong>: Agencies must identify the aptitude assessments they will use by the end of the year. They must report by next May how they’ve incorporated the NICE Framework. The first President’s Cup competition must be held by the end of the year.</p> <p>The order builds on other White House initiatives, including the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Presidents-Management-Agenda.pdf" target="_blank" title="President's Management Agenda">President’s Management Agenda</a>, the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Cyber-Strategy.pdf" target="_blank" title="National Cyber Strategy">National Cyber Strategy</a> and a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-executive-order-strengthening-cybersecurity-federal-networks-critical-infrastructure/" target="_blank" title="Executive Order on cybersecurity">separate 2017 executive order</a> on cybersecurity.</p> <p>Trump’s proposed rotational program is similar to one included in <a href="https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/minority-media/senate-passes-peters-hoeven-bill-strengthening-federal-cybersecurity-workforce" target="_blank">the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act</a>, passed by the Senate on April 30. Introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the bill would create a civilian personnel rotation program for cybersecurity professionals at federal agencies.</p> <p>This would enable employees to serve across multiple government agencies and offer experience beyond their primary assignments, says Kami Capener, a spokesperson for Hoeven.</p> <p><em><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/11/agencies-should-think-creatively-find-cybersecurity-pros"><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Agencies use creative ways to find new cyberworkers</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Military Provides Examples of Cyber Reskilling</h2> <p>In a Feb. 13 statement introducing the legislation, Peters said the proposed rotational program was <strong>based on similar joint duty programs for the military services and intelligence communities.</strong></p> <p>“By offering these kinds of dynamic and rewarding opportunities, this legislation will help retain highly talented cyber professionals and strengthen our government’s own security by developing greater inter-agency awareness and collaboration,” he said.</p> <p>The legislation, which must still be passed by the House of Representatives, <strong>should help with recruitment and retention of federal cybersecurity employees</strong> as well as foster a collaborative, cross-agency network of professionals better equipped to deal with increasingly sophisticated threats, Capener says.</p> <p>“We appreciate the president including a rotational program in his executive order, and we will continue working to advance our legislation to help the federal government better fulfill its need for cybersecurity professionals,” she says.</p> <p>Peters is <strong>pleased with Trump’s executive order</strong> and says he will continue to push for the legislation he sponsored to be signed into law.</p> <p>“This program is an important first step to help minimize our cybersecurity vulnerabilities, fortify our existing networks and systems, and build new and innovative infrastructure that puts safety and security front and center,” Peters said <a href="https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/minority-media/05/02/2019/peters-applauds-president-trumps-executive-order-creating-federal-cybersecurity-rotational-program" target="_blank">in a statement</a>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/erin-cunningham"> <div>Erin Cunningham</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erin Cunningham is a writer and editor based in Maryland with experience writing about state and local government, education, technology and more.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 11 Jun 2019 15:30:51 +0000 Elizabeth_Neus_pdwC 42656 at https://fedtechmagazine.com GSA Plans Civilian DEOS Cloud Contract for Agencies’ Back-Office Functions https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/gsa-plans-civilian-deos-cloud-contract-agencies-back-office-functions <span>GSA Plans Civilian DEOS Cloud Contract for Agencies’ Back-Office Functions </span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 06/06/2019 - 09:21</span> <div><p>The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract has been receiving <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-10/jedi-cloud-contest-isn-t-tainted-pentagon-s-review-concludes" target="_blank">the lion’s share of attention in recent months</a>, but the DOD has also been pursuing another contract in parallel to JEDI, known as <strong>DEOS, or Defense Enterprise Office Solution</strong>.</p> <p>The DEOS contract, <a href="https://fcw.com/articles/2019/05/14/deos-bpa-sked.aspx" target="_blank">which is expected to be awarded this summer</a>, is designed to modernize several legacy DOD IT systems by moving them into the commercial cloud, including its enterprise email, portal and collaboration systems. The goal is to shift the department to “<strong>common communication, collaboration, and productivity capabilities </strong>that are mission-effective, efficient, more widely accessible, and facilitate DoD operations worldwide,” according to a contract solicitation document released in January. </p> <p>Now, the General Services Administration is looking to <strong>implement a similar vehicle for the civilian side of the federal government</strong>. </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/hybrid-cloud-infrastructure-report.html" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1%20(2)_0.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://fedtechmagazine.com/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1%20(2)_0.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">GSA Seeks Cloud Efficiencies via New Contract</h2> <p>Alan Thomas, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said last month that the coming Civilian Enterprise Office Solution (CEOS) is still in the “early stages” of development, <a href="https://fcw.com/articles/2019/05/07/ceos-gsa-cloud-civilian.aspx" target="_blank">according to <em>FCW</em></a>. CEOS will look to gain similar efficiencies via the cloud as DEOS, and the focus will be on standardizing enterprise functions, Thomas said, <a href="https://federalnewsnetwork.com/cloud-computing/2019/05/gsa-looks-to-launch-deos-cloud-contract-for-civilian-agencies/" target="_blank">according to Federal News Network</a>. </p> <p><strong>“The federal CIO’s offices said, ‘Hey, we ought to do something similar for civilian,’” </strong>Thomas said regarding DEOS and CEOS in a keynote at the BMC Exchange event in Washington, D.C., on May 7. </p> <p>“CEOS won't be a carbon copy of DEOS,” Thomas told <em>FCW</em> in an interview after his presentation. “You’re not going to get every agency in the federal government on one email system,<strong> but we could do some standardization and create some efficiencies there</strong>.”</p> <p>DEOS is designed to support the Pentagon’s vision to shift to an “integrated/interoperable communication, collaboration, and productivity service, by facilitating trusted information sharing between” combatant commands, services and agencies, and via the consolidation of multiple DOD enterprise services into a single environment. </p> <p>DEOS will unify and <strong>modernize legacy Defense Information Systems Agency IT enterprise services</strong> such as DOD Enterprise Email, DOD Enterprise Portal Service, Defense Collaboration Services, and other DOD-wide legacy capabilities. </p> <p>"We’re early. I haven’t mapped it out yet,” Thomas said of the CEOS timetable. “Obviously, it won’t be on the same timeline as DEOS.”</p> <p><em>FCW</em> separately reports that when DEOS is awarded this summer, it will include “an initial task order, with integration and initial testing taking place in the fall, and migration planned from fiscal 2020 through 2022,” according to Kevin Tate, a management analyst for the Defense Department CIO’s portfolio lead on enterprise capabilities and productivity services.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/CoMfravQ_400x400.jpg?itok=W9IAwS8L" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 06 Jun 2019 13:21:49 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42651 at https://fedtechmagazine.com Feds Ramp Up Robotic Process Automation Efforts https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/feds-ramp-robotic-process-automation-efforts <span>Feds Ramp Up Robotic Process Automation Efforts </span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/05/2019 - 11:57</span> <div><p>Robotic process automation is evolving from a curiosity in the federal government to a technology that is receiving serious attention. </p> <p>RPA allows organizations to <strong>automate certain repetitive tasks</strong> — often mundane and tedious work that users do not want to spend much time doing. It is <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/how-robotic-process-automation-will-help-agencies">still relatively nascent in the government</a>, but it is more prevalent in the private sector. </p> <p>In April, the General Services Administration <strong>created a community of practice</strong> (CoP) for RPA to help federal leaders "explore opportunities, share ideas, and collaborate on how RPA can be effectively implemented in their respective agencies,” Ed Burrows, robotics process automation program manager at GSA, wrote in <a href="https://www.gsa.gov/blog/2019/04/18/gsa-calls-on-federal-emerging-tech-leaders-to-form-rpa-community-of-practice" target="_blank">an agency blog post</a>.</p> <p>So far, RPA has not produced dramatic cost savings, <strong>but will over time as some jobs are eliminated and federal employees are put to work on more high-value tasks</strong>. Federal CIO Suzette Kent said last month that agencies should plan to reinvest those savings into other IT projects. </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/digital-transformation-report.html" id="" rel="" target="_blank" title=""><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://fedtechmagazine.com/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">GSA Aims to Spur RPA Adoption Across Government</h2> <p>Many agencies are piloting RPA or have bots in production, Burrows notes in the blog post. “With the advancements in emerging technology, it’s important for the federal government to capitalize on technological solutions in order to obtain the <strong>benefits of cost-effectively automating manual, repetitive, and rule-based operations</strong>,” he says. </p> <p>Yet, according to Burrows, there is much more that agencies can do with RPA by collaborating together and with industry. </p> <p>RPA will help agencies shift from low-value to high-value work, one of the cross-agency priority goals in <a href="https://www.performance.gov/PMA/Presidents_Management_Agenda.pdf" target="_blank">the President’s Management Agenda</a>. An August 2018 Office of Management and Budget memo specifically cites RPA as one of the technologies that can be used to cut the number of repetitive administrative tasks agencies perform.</p> <p>RPA will help agencies in several other ways, Burrows argues. These include <strong>re-engineering and improving processes as they are automated</strong>; increasing the efficiency of existing operations; <strong>cutting costs over time by allowing agencies to maintain the quality of work </strong>and take on new tasks without hiring additional personnel; and <strong>reducing errors and costs connected to work delays</strong>. </p> <p>“By creating an RPA CoP, the federal government can reduce duplication and streamline efforts to implement RPA across government to help advance agency missions today, and into the future,” Burrows says. </p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/01/voice-assistants-can-streamline-customer-service-agencies" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Find out how voice assistants can streamline customer service for agencies. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Agencies Can Put Savings from RPA into Tech Modernization</h2> <p>For agencies to reinvest savings from RPA, they will need to appropriately track the budget and workforce effects of it, Kent said, <a href="https://www.fedscoop.com/rpa-savings-federal-agencies-reinvest-suzette-kent/" target="_blank">according to FedScoop</a>. Those savings need to be <strong>quantified and would then need to go into a working capital fund</strong>, authorized via <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2017/12/how-mgt-act-will-spur-agencies-it-investments-2018-and-beyond">the 2017 Modernizing Government Technology Act</a>.</p> <p>Just six agencies have created working capital funds: the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, the General Services Administration, the Small Business Administration and the Social Security Administration, according to <a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-58" target="_blank">an April report</a> from the Government Accountability Office.</p> <p>“There’s a whole structure for how it works,” Kent said after the 2019 Department of Labor Tech Day, according to FedScoop. “What we still have to do is get more precise in how the benefits are generated and making sure we can capture those and reinvest them.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/CoMfravQ_400x400.jpg?itok=W9IAwS8L" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 05 Jun 2019 15:57:09 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42646 at https://fedtechmagazine.com Windows 7 End of Life https://fedtechmagazine.com/ad/windows-7-end-life <span>Windows 7 End of Life</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/05/2019 - 10:58</span> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-vertical" data-layout="vertical" data-url="https://fedtechmagazine.com/ad/windows-7-end-life" data-title="Windows 7 End of Life" data-via="FedTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <span> <span>Jun</span> <span>05</span> <span>2019</span> </span> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's vertical template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-counter="true" data-url="https://fedtechmagazine.com/ad/windows-7-end-life" data-title="Windows 7 End of Life" data-via="FedTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&amp;q=https%3A%2F%2Ffedtechmagazine.com%2Frss.xml%3Fdestination%3D%2Farticle%2F2018%2F11%2Fdhs-sees-value-cloud-shift-it-consolidates-data-centers%26_exception_statuscode%3D403" target="_blank"><span class="pw-box-counter cdw-taboola" data-channel="twitter"></span></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's horizontal template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-url="https://fedtechmagazine.com/ad/windows-7-end-life" data-title="Windows 7 End of Life" data-via="FedTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="twitter"></span> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="facebook"></span> </div> </div> Wed, 05 Jun 2019 14:58:58 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42641 at https://fedtechmagazine.com What Is Serverless Computing, and How Can It Benefit Your Team? https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/06/what-serverless-computing-and-how-can-it-benefit-your-team-perfcon <span>What Is Serverless Computing, and How Can It Benefit Your Team?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/03/2019 - 14:10</span> <div><p>When it comes to computing models, federal agencies have thankfully evolved beyond the mainframe. There is <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/iaas-vs-paas-vs-saas-what-cloud-strategy-right-your-agency-perfcon">cloud computing</a>, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/edge-computing-air-force-and-fema-take-advantage-intelligent-edge-perfcon">edge computing</a> and even <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/03/what-fog-computing-tech-can-spur-government-it-modernization-perfcon">fog computing</a>.</p> <p>However, as agencies eye automation in key elements of their IT, and as the Office of Management and Budget prepares <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/04/omb-release-government-strategy-automation-technology">new policy guidance on automation technologies</a>, there is another model federal IT leaders should consider — and which some already are: <strong>serverless computing</strong>.</p> <p>In a serverless architecture, agencies can reduce their computing costs compared to traditional cloud environments, experts say, and can <strong>maintain computing environments with less effort</strong>. They also gain agility and the ability to upgrade their underlying code and software in a more seamless fashion.</p> <p>Serverless is still new in federal IT today, but could become more promising in the years ahead. “We are starting to see more of a shift towards serverless in some agencies, not all. It is still relatively nascent,” Dan Tucker, vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, who leads the company’s digital platform capability team, <a href="https://www.meritalk.com/articles/serverless-computing-federal-managers-must-explore-benefits-and-risks/" target="_blank">tells MeriTalk</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/authors/b/scott-buchholz.html" target="_blank">Scott Buchholz</a>, CTO for Deloitte’s government and public services practice, agrees. “I would characterize it as ‘toe in the water,’” he says of federal serverless adoption. “It’s new. It’s different. <strong>People are trying to figure out whether they’re comfortable using it.</strong>” </p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/01/how-federal-it-leaders-can-adapt-accelerating-tech-change" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH: </strong>Find out how federal IT leaders can adapt to accelerating technological change.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">What Is Serverless Computing?</h2> <p>As <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft.html" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> explains <a href="https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/what-is-serverless-computing/" target="_blank">on its website</a>, there are still cloud-based servers involved in serverless computing, but it is a fully managed service. That means that “the setup, capacity planning, and server management are invisible to you because they’re handled by the cloud provider.”</p> <p>Traditionally, developers need to provision and configure servers, install software and manage the infrastructure. In the serverless model, <strong>all of that is taken care of by the cloud vendor</strong>.</p> <p>“Serverless architectures are event-driven, <strong>highly scalable, and only use resources when a specific function or event occur</strong>,” Microsoft notes. “You only pay for the resources you use or the time your code is running. Developers use serverless architectures for <strong>many purposes including web and mobile apps, Internet of Things (IoT) back ends, image manipulation</strong>, and processing events from software as a service (Saas)-based applications.”</p> <p>According to Buchholz, in the commercial sector, Deloitte is increasingly seeing a shift to a “NoOps” model, in which server administrators and operators are turning into engineers over time.</p> <p>“As people look to move from reactive administration to proactive engineering, the number of people that need to do the job starts to decrease and the nature of the job changes,” he says. “And what we’re really seeing happening is people move and change the nature of operations from being a manual process to an automated process.”</p> <p>As part of this growing trend, “CIOs are taking their automation efforts to the next level with serverless computing,” Deloitte’s Ken Corless, Mike Kavis and Kieran Norton <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/tech-trends/2019/noops-serverless-computing-transforming-it-operations.html?id=us:2ps:3gl:cloudps19:eng:cons:11619:em:tt19:opK8sGer:1135000533:325787454921:b:RLSA_Tech_Trends_Cloud:NoOps_Serverless_World_BMM:nb" target="_blank">write in a research report</a>.</p> <p>As they note, in serverless computing, cloud service providers “<strong>dynamically and automatically allocate the compute, storage, and memory based on the request</strong> for a higher-order service (such as a database or a function of code).”</p> <p>Traditionally, with cloud, agencies needed to create and provision such IT resource allocations manually.</p> <p>However, with serverless, the end goal is “to create a NoOps IT environment that is automated and abstracted from underlying infrastructure to an extent that only very small teams are needed to manage it. CIOs can then invest the surplus human capacity in developing new, value-add capabilities that can enhance operational speed and efficiency,” the Deloitte experts say.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/02/edge-computing-air-force-and-fema-take-advantage-intelligent-edge-perfcon" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Find out how edge computing benefits feds.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">What are the Benefits of Serverless Computing?</h2> <ol><li><strong>Serverless Computing Reduces Costs.</strong> One of the major benefits of serverless architectures is reduced cost. In serverless models, agencies do not pay by reserved computing capacity they have on hand but by their actual usage. Applications often have either very low but consistent usage or spiky utilization rates when demand for capacity surges, Buchholz notes. Often, though, agencies never use all of the capacity they have set aside for their apps. Serverless can save agencies 70 to 90 percent, depending on the system, he says, though highly utilized systems will produce less savings. <p> “Basically, in a serverless architecture, the computing instance is spun up only as needed, and billing for the cloud service (in most cases) is based on the running time,” says <a href="https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=PRF004840" target="_blank">Shawn McCarthy</a>, director of research at IDC Government Insights.</p></li> <li> <p><strong>Serverless Computing Requires Less Manpower.</strong> Another benefit of serverless is that it requires less manpower to manage the system. “The effort to manage a serverless system in a NoOps environment where the cloud vendors are doing most of the heavy lifting is significantly less,” Buchholz says.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Serverless Computing Allows IT Teams to Be More Agile. </strong>A third key benefit of serverless is increased agility. “If you think about it, you have far less people involved in touching the process,” Buchholz explains. “Therefore, developers can, in many cases, write code, push a button and just deploy it.”</p> </li> </ol><p>As long as agencies have processes in place “to make sure they don’t blow things up, essentially, you have got a lot more agility.” </p> <p><a href="https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=PRF004321" target="_blank">Larry Carvalho</a>, research director of IDC’s Platform as a Service practice, agrees on that front. “The main benefits of serverless are quick development due to abstraction of all developer processes, rapid scaling and low costs,” he says. “Agility and associated benefits to time to market help in digital transformation efforts.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/digital-transformation-report.html" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://fedtechmagazine.com/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">How Federal Agencies Can Use Serverless Architectures</h2> <p>It’s important to note that serverless architecture should not be used for everything. The apps that are the best candidates for the model are those that are <strong>discrete, limited in scope and that have limited user populations</strong>, Buchholz says.</p> <p>“Those are easy places to start,” he says, “to understand the nature of what you’re doing,” as well as the trade-offs and security concerns.</p> <p>Most organizations do not put major, critical systems in serverless architectures, Buchholz acknowledges. The goal is to get comfortable with the model and how the technology deployment, release management, incident management and other factors play out.</p> <p>Then, agencies “will be able to make a more informed decision” about how much they want to use serverless. </p> <p>“I’ve seen it used in circumstances where an agency<strong> has a large data set they want to do something with, such as sorting and reporting, but they don’t need the full data set to always be available</strong>,” McCarthy says.</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/01/digital-twin-technology-what-digital-twin-and-how-can-agencies-use-it-perfcon" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> Find out what digital twin technology is and how agencies can use it.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_3">How to Select the Right Serverless Computing Vendor</h2> <p>If an agency wants to move toward serverless,” they need to look at whether they will have an ongoing need for a specific computer function, or if it really is a one-off or a seldom-used solution,” McCarthy says.</p> <p>“Serverless prices tend to be cheaper if it’s seldom used, but it may not be if they are constantly spinning up the service for additional uses,” he says.</p> <p>Carvalho notes that agencies “have <strong>a number of solutions available on GovCloud</strong> and should evaluate their applications if they suit a serverless architecture.”</p> <p>Often, though, he says, “the cost of refactoring an application is much lower that the benefits gained from adopting a serverless architecture.”</p> <p>Some of the key serverless players are also key cloud service providers, including Microsoft and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/google-cloud.html?" target="_blank">Google</a>.</p> <p>If agencies do decide to adopt serverless computing, they should <strong>make sure they have the personnel and skill sets to take advantage of the benefits of the model</strong>, Buchholz says.</p> <p>“In some cases, there is technical change, [but] in many cases there is not,” he says. Agencies that adopt serverless use a different set of processes and controls for their computing needs.</p> <p>“How do we do it in ways that enable DevOps, better security?” he says. “How do we use this an opportunity to potentially rethink the way we are using doing testing and validation?”</p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>Serverless vs. Containers: What’s the Difference?</h3> <p>Although containers and serverless computing are related, there are <strong>key differences</strong> in the technology.</p> <p>“Containers are packages that rely on virtual isolation to deploy and run applications that access a shared operating system kernel <strong>without the need for virtual machines</strong>,” <a href="https://searchitoperations.techtarget.com/definition/container-containerization-or-container-based-virtualization" target="_blank">TechTarget notes</a>.</p> <p>“The ability of containers to be able to host very small workloads makes it an essential component of serverless architecture so the cost is very low, especially for small workloads,” Carvalho says. “As a result, <strong>containers and serverless architecture go hand in hand</strong>, with containers enabling the delivery of application code written as small components.”</p> </div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/CoMfravQ_400x400.jpg?itok=W9IAwS8L" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 03 Jun 2019 18:10:35 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42631 at https://fedtechmagazine.com Air Force Wants to Accelerate SaaS Deployments https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/05/air-force-wants-accelerate-saas-deployments <span>Air Force Wants to Accelerate SaaS Deployments</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:30</span> <div><p>Over the past year, the Air Force has been busy <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/11/air-force-pushes-ahead-its-mobile-and-cloud-initiatives">moving enterprise applications</a> to the commercial cloud and migrating users to <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/office365.html" target="_blank">Microsoft Office 365</a>. </p> <p>Now, the service branch wants to<strong> find avenues to speed up the rollout of Software as a Service apps</strong> to handle unclassified data and information not related to national security. </p> <p>According to Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s director of cyberspace innovation, the service is working on a pilot that focuses on the “rapid assessment of SaaS offerings,” especially apps that handle business processes and information at the Defense Department’s<strong> cloud security Impact Level 4</strong> or lower, <a href="https://www.fedscoop.com/air-force-looks-speed-atos-saas-business-applications/" target="_blank">according to FedScoop</a>. </p> <p>As FedScoop notes, “IL4 cloud services are approved to handle controlled unclassified information like personally identifiable information (PII), health data, export control information and other sensitive collections, not including national security information.”</p> <p>Other elements of the armed forces have embraced SaaS with gusto. For example, <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/03/why-army-corps-engineers-believes-saas">the Army Corps of Engineers is moving to SaaS apps</a> so that users can access the data they need wherever they are, whether they are on a mobile device or not. The Corps also wants to move to a cloud-based collaboration platform that would allow users to more freely share data. SaaS tools give the Corps greater flexibility and make the command more efficient.</p> <p>Knausenberger said at the <a href="https://www.fedscoop.com/events/security-through-innovation/2019/" target="_blank">Security Through Innovation Summit</a> in April that the Air Force’s pilot is based around the idea that “we should be <strong>adopting SaaS as broadly as we can within our business systems</strong> and using it to make a lot of the processes we do daily much easier,” according to FedScoop. </p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/05/hci-helps-feds-find-new-ways-store-and-analyze-data" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH:</strong> See how HCI helps agencies find new ways to store and analyze data.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Air Force Wants to Speed Up Apps That Deal with Sensitive Data</h2> <p>The Air Force should adopt the cloud security practices of the financial and medical industries if it is dealing with apps that handle PII, Knausenberger said. However, she acknowledged, “we’ve had trouble with that, especially in the DOD, because of the level of control” the department requires. </p> <p>To overcome the hurdles to getting authorizations to operate, the Air Force wants to<strong> streamline some parts of the process upfront</strong>. That includes research into a cloud company’s background and ownership as well as tests of the software. Regarding the latter, for example, Knausenberger said, “if they have an ongoing bug bounty program, that might meet that requirement.” </p> <p>The Air Force wants to also get more information upfront about how cloud service providers continuously update their software from a security perspective, she said. </p> <p>“But this is something where we could do a little bit of testing, a little bit of documentation and an authorizing official could say we’re going to go forward with this,” she added.</p> <p>The process will <strong>likely be easier on larger cloud vendors and more difficult for startups</strong> that have not been vetted or used by the government much, Knausenberger acknowledged. However, it will save cloud companies both time and money if the Air Force can speed up the SaaS accreditation process. </p> <p>“Vendors tell me that it’s a year or more” to accreditation for IL4 SaaS applications, she said. “I expect that we will be able to accredit some SaaS offerings in a month or less. It could be faster if they had everything ready to go and we had a team ready to go test anything that was needed to be tested.”</p> <p>The first kind of apps the Air Force is looking to authorize under the pilot are<strong> those that use military medical data or Social Security numbers for members of the DOD</strong>, Knausenberger said. </p> <p>“We’re starting small and then we’ll learn from that process and hopefully we can look at something where there is a little bit more of a fast track to getting these offerings approved,” she said.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/CoMfravQ_400x400.jpg?itok=W9IAwS8L" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 30 May 2019 14:30:58 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42626 at https://fedtechmagazine.com IRS Lays Out Its Technology Modernization Vision https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2019/05/irs-lays-out-its-technology-modernization-vision <span>IRS Lays Out Its Technology Modernization Vision</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/29/2019 - 14:08</span> <div><p>As the Government Accountability Office <a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2016/05/gao-5-government-it-systems-are-more-50-years-old">detailed in 2016</a>, the Treasury Department’s taxpayer data program uses assembly language code — a low-level computer code that is difficult to write and maintain — and operates on an <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/ibm.html" target="_blank">IBM</a> mainframe. At this point, it is about 60 years old. </p> <p>That is why the IRS and Treasury have devised a comprehensive modernization plan to propel the revenue service into the 21st century. The plan, formally known as <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/irs_2019_integrated_modernization_business_plan.pdf" target="_blank">the IRS Integrated Modernization Business Plan</a>, was released in April and details how the IRS plans to <strong>modernize its processes for the digital age and improve services for citizens</strong>. </p> <p>During a congressional hearing in April, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig cited IT modernization as one of the agency’s most important priorities over the next few years. The replacement and modernization of the IRS’ aging IT systems is expected to cost between <strong>$2.3 billion and $2.7 billion</strong> over the next six years, beginning with $290 million requested in the president’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, <a href="https://www.fedscoop.com/irs-modernization-charles-rettig-testimony/" target="_blank">as FedScoop reports</a>. </p> <p>While that is a substantial sum of money, the IRS plan makes clear that it will cost the agency more in the long run to maintain legacy systems than it will to modernize. “The cost to operate the IRS technology infrastructure annually now exceeds <strong>$2.2 billion</strong> and is expected to exceed <strong>$3 billion </strong>by FY2026 if current trends continue,” the plan states. “Modernization is necessary to deliver efficient taxpayer services and enforcement with enhanced user experiences and to curtail the rising operational costs.”</p> <p>A key element of the modernization plan is to streamline IRS operations through the elimination of millions of lines of legacy code.</p> <p>Through modernization, the IRS wants to be able to, among other things,<strong> reduce call wait times and case resolution times</strong> with customer callback technology, online notices, and live online customer support;<strong> speed up tax return and refund processing with real-time return processing</strong> and taxpayer error correction; <strong>simplify identity verification to expand access to online services while protecting data</strong>; and increase systems availability for taxpayers and tax professionals. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/digital-transformation-report.html" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://fedtechmagazine.com/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">IRS Focuses Modernization on the User Experience</h2> <p>Speaking last month to Congress, and in asking for funding for modernization, Rettig described how the IRS’ legacy IT systems are insecure and unsustainable in their current form.</p> <p>“They have been patched through the years and IRS systems have been asked to take on more and more tasks,” he said, according to FedScoop. “We have about <strong>60 different applications</strong>. We have<strong> 12,000 or 13,000 servers on 12 mainframes</strong>. It’s difficult to continually patch. At some point, we need to replace. And we’re definitely at that point.”</p> <p>The modernization plan is based on four pillars: <strong>the taxpayer experience, core taxpayer services and enforcement, modernizing IRS operations, and cybersecurity and data protection</strong>.</p> <p>“Rapid advancements in the digital customer service experience offered by private industry increase customer expectations of superior service from government agencies, including the IRS,” the plan notes. </p> <p>In an introductory section of the plan signed by Rettig, Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Jeffrey Tribiano and Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Kirsten Wielobob, the IRS leaders say that they ultimately aim to enhance the citizen experience and make the IRS’ IT systems more resilient. </p> <p>“We all know that advances in technology will require adjustments over time and that challenges lie ahead,” they say. “If and when disaster strikes, the story shouldn’t be that a system went offline but rather how quickly we recovered and resumed normal operations.”</p> <p>To that end, the plan calls for the IRS to <strong>use more web applications</strong> for self-service options, establish secure information exchange options and build internal capabilities. “By enabling authorized third parties and taxpayers to interact digitally with the IRS, the investment will provide a better user experience, achieve significant savings by moving some service interactions to lower cost channels, and deliver consistent data and services through reusable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs),” the plan states.</p> <p>The IRS also plans to target younger citizens and develop “<strong>digital notices through the secure messaging platform</strong> that provides communications to taxpayers who prefer that channel over mailed correspondence, including digital chat.”</p> <p>Another project involves <strong>converting more than 200,000 lines of legacy assembly-language code to modern software language</strong>. Similarly, the plan says, “efforts are underway to migrate from text-based legacy programming languages (e.g., Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL)) to modern, common languages (e.g., .NET, JAVA), which will promote programming language standardization and reduce workforce sustainment risks.”</p> <p><a href="https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2018/11/data-migration-process-how-agencies-can-successfully-move-data-modern-systems-perfcon" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM FEDTECH: </strong>Find out how your agency can successfully migrate data to modern architectures. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Cloud and Cybersecurity Are Key Elements of IRS Modernization</h2> <p>To maintain the efficiency of its apps and underlying tax data, the IRS needs to have end-to-end visibility and be more agile. As a result, the plan says, the IRS will <strong>transition its “data, applications, and services from onsite to the cloud, where applicable.”</strong> </p> <p>Moving to the cloud “will reduce fixed investment, minimize the risks of aging hardware, and improve scalability and elasticity.” </p> <p>In particular, migrating to private and hybrid cloud architectures “will support long-term and emergent business requirements for enterprise IT orchestration and service management,” the plan says. “IRS systems must accommodate heavy demand during peak times, resulting in the critical need for both infrastructure scalability and flexibility.”</p> <p>The plan also emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity. “To protect IRS systems and retain public trust, we must maintain a strong security posture with a focus on <strong>Identity &amp; Access Management (IAM), vulnerability and threat management, and enterprise-wide security operations and management</strong>,” it says. </p> <p>The IRS aims to implement existing IAM capabilities as a set of common services to standardize authentication and authorization across its platforms. The revenue service also wants to be able to “proactively identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities through the use of real-time intelligence information and analytics.”</p> <p>Additionally, the IRS says it will “establish security standards and reusable security services and tools appropriate to the evolving technology ecosystem. We will integrate security processes into the service design/operations lifecycle to deliver systems and processes with security built in at the outset.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/fedtechmagazine.com/files/styles/face_small/public/people/CoMfravQ_400x400.jpg?itok=W9IAwS8L" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 29 May 2019 18:08:37 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42621 at https://fedtechmagazine.com