Planning for the Worst: Making Disaster Recovery a Priority

Hurricanes, wildfires, gun violence, data breaches. It's been a rough news cycle and an even rougher reality. As painful as it is to think about these recent events, it is important for organizations to plan for the worst. This includes the logistical (if we lose access to our building, how will we work?), the technical (how do we maintain access to our data and IT systems?), and the personal (how do we contact and support employees during a disaster?).

Lucky for those of us who shudder at thinking about worst-case scenarios, there are professionals whose job it is to map out a plan that can be used in the event of disaster. These disaster recovery experts share theoretical and tactical guidance at a number of events throughout the year. Below are some upcoming events listed on GovEvents that can help anyone be better prepared for a disaster:

Continue reading

Are We There Yet? Achieving IT Reform in the Federal Government

In this post, we provided an overview of The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and the various other Acts that have been passed to help streamline the procurement and use of IT for a modern government. Even with all of this focus on improving IT infrastructure, compliance with FITARA has been slow. Grades on the self-assessment scorecards are stagnating, and compliance with other related acts has been just as slow. It's easy to agree that government IT needs a boost to meet the expectations of citizens, so why, with all of these incentives and compliance checks in place, is progress so slow?

In an IT and "business" environment as complex as the federal government, there are many reasons for the slow improvement toward FITARA goals. Here are just a few of the challenges agencies are facing in meeting what seems to be "no-brainer" directives: Continue reading

Death, Taxes, and Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay and it is an incredibly powerful way to promote brands and ideas. For event organizers and attendees alike, social media is a valuable tool to utilize.

For attendees, events provide a terrific way to quickly expand your follower base. By using event handles and hashtags you can expose like-minded people to your thoughts and account. Try it just once. Tweet at an event using the hashtag and see how many new followers you gain. Likely the number from just a couple of tweets will be greater than you typically see in a week or even a month's time. For organizers, social media can drive attendance and expand the exposure to your content during and after the event.

With the value of using social media clear, how can we make it less burdensome? Here are a few tips: Continue reading

FITARA and Friends

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) was enacted in December 2014 with a goal of promoting IT modernization and workforce development for the employees who will work with and manage that modernized IT.

FITARA is focused on four key areas:

  • Data Center Consolidation
  • IT Portfolio Review Savings
  • Incremental Development
  • Risk Assessment Transparency

The overarching goals of this Act are more effective use of technology financially (through government-wide purchasing where applicable) as well as better security and usability.  The Act also aims to give more authority to Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in making strategic and budget decision regarding technology use and purchase.

To help speed along progress, Congress has passed a number of other Acts that support these goals. Continue reading

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Going into its (lucky) thirteenth year, the recognition of October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is becoming as integral to fall as football, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. Championed by the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, Cyber Security Awareness Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of proper cyber behavior in our personal and professional lives.

In 2016, the NCSAM campaign saw over 151 million impressions of the hashtag #CyberAware, over 43,000 hits to NCSAM webpages, and more than 85 partners hosted NCSAM events. 2017 is shaping up to expand the reach of the program with five themed weeks of activity:

  • October 2-6 - Simple Steps to Online Safety
  • October 9-13 -Cyber Security in the Workplace is Everyone's Business
  • October 16-20 - Today's Predictions for Tomorrow's Internet
  • October 23-27 - The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cyber Security
  • Week 5: October 30-31 - Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

Continue reading