MGT Passed-So What Now?

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act became the law of the land on Dec. 21, when President Trump signed it into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the much-vaunted revolving capital fund-cut out of the original FITARA bill in committee-that establishes a central bucket of money at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), for Feds to modernize legacy IT systems. Great idea when you consider that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) tells us Uncle Sam owns 777 supply chain systems and over 600 HR systems-and in light of the fact that we spend 80 percent of the $80-120 billion annual IT budget on life support for geriatric systems that should long since have been euthanized...

Show Me the Money.

However, while MGT is now the law, what does it really mean? This is an interesting question. Recent talk of MGT has trumpeted the $500 million central revolving capital fund-exciting, but a long step down from the $3.1 billion IT modernization piggy bank originally attached to FITARA. That said, it's significant to note that while the MGT Act made it into law, appropriators sat on their hands. Yes, believe it or not, there's no funding for MGT at this time. And, interestingly, there's a discrepancy between the bill, that authorizes $250 million each year in FY18 and FY19, and President Trump's budget request for MGT FY18, which was $228 million.

So, MGT NBD? Absolutely not. And, here's why... Continue reading

The Value of Vendor-Led Events

On the surface it may seem easy to write off vendor-organized events as one big sales ploy, but by doing so, you may miss out on valuable professional development and experiences. While admittedly vendors put on events to drive sales, these events are not just a long sales pitch. Instead, they are designed to educate the audience on solutions to the challenges they are facing day in and day out. And yes, that vendor's solution may "just so happen" to provide the technology and functionality being discussed, but that does not mean there is nothing to gain by attending.

Here are several reasons to add vendor-driven events to your 2018 calendar:

  • No one does it alone. The reality is in today's complex IT and data environment there is a wide variety of solutions that have to work together to get business done. Organizations need to understand how different technologies work together. Vendor-driven events provide an opportunity for discussion and hands-on demos. Take a glance at the agenda for vendor-led events and you'll typically see speakers and presenters from several different companies. Shows that do offer multiple presenters are more likely to be well-rounded and offer numerous ways to approach key challenges.
  • Government speaks. You'll often see government professionals discussing their successes (and failures) at most vendor-driven shows. What we hear again and again from our vendor partners is that government representatives are hungry to talk about what's working and to collaborate with peers. You won't hear endorsements from these government speakers, only the straight facts about what they implemented and how it worked.
  • Find your ROI. The reality is that government agencies at all levels are invested in technology brands. Knowing everything you can about what that technology offers helps you to get the most out of that investment. The chance to get hands-on with solutions under the guidance of the people who designed it is an incredible opportunity that you cannot get in your day-to-day work.

Continue reading

19 Actionable Steps to Protect Online Privacy – Part 4 of 4

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

  1. Consider not using Google

This goes not only for the main Google search engine but also all of the other tools - Google Analytics, Gmail, Google Apps, Google Drive, etc.

Due to its huge network and portfolio of tools, Google knows basically everything about you there is to know. Whether you're comfortable with this from an online privacy point of view is up to you.

When it comes to the main search engine, DuckDuckGo is an alternative worth considering, or even Bing (but then we're back in camp Microsoft).

As for things like Gmail and Google Drive, there are multiple viable solutions on the web. For example, SpiderOak is an interesting alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox that even has Edward Snowden's approval.

  1. Probably delete Facebook from your phone

There have been multiple stories appearing lately describing Facebook's alleged "in the background listening" practices. Some people are reporting concerns related to the Facebook app listening on to the conversations they're having over the phone and then suggesting ads based on the things mentioned in those conversations.

In all likelihood, or at least we'd like to believe so, this is not entirely plausible - and Facebook obviously denies. However, getting rid of the Facebook app from your phone surely won't hurt your overall online privacy.

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19 Actionable Steps to Protect Online Privacy – Part 3 of 4

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

File shredder by Dr. CleanerOnline privacy is a topic that grows in importance every single year. With more and more web services, connected apps, and even home assistant devices that are gaining in popularity, it's now more crucial than ever to understand what the dangers to your online privacy are and how to protect it consciously.

This online privacy guide is all about that.

Here are 19 actionable steps to help you remain anonymous on the web and protect your online privacy. No sophisticated computer knowledge required.

  1. Update to a newer mobile device

It seems that every year companies like Apple, Samsung, Google try to convince us to buy the latest smartphone and toss our old ones away. Naturally, we resist. But we can't resist forever. At least not if we don't want our online privacy to take a hit.

What we need to remember is that modern mobile devices are computers. Just like your desktop PC or Mac, but only slightly less powerful. Therefore, they're also prone to various security threats, and just like any other device, they require constant updates to stay secure.

New devices are being updated constantly, so that's no problem. Older ones, not so much.

For example, Nexus 7 - a device that's still relatively popular (you can buy them on eBay right now) stopped getting security patches after June 2015. This means that whoever's using it has been left on their own and exposed to new security threats for more than two years now.

Whether we like it or not, at some point, a new device is unavoidable. Continue reading

How To Maximize Your Public Sector Events: A Q & A With Kerry Rea Of GovEvents

Recently Katie Hanusik with SpeakerBox Communications interviewed GovEvents President, Kerry Rea. Here's the article we wanted to share:

I recently had a chance to catch up with Kerry Rea, President of GovEvents, who shared her thoughts on the changing government events landscape. In the following Q&A, she discusses how topics have changed over time, how event planners can ensure success for their public sector events, and how to avoid common event planning mistakes.

Q: Can you give us a quick overview of GovEvents?

GovEvents was created as a complimentary service to government and military personnel, contractors, vendors, and event organizers to provide one place on the web to find and post government-related events. Without GovEvents, government personnel looking for professional development and networking opportunities would have to search numerous sites and monitor dozens of email newsletters to get a look at options open to them. Industry had the same challenge in developing their event plans each year - determining which events to attend, exhibit, and sponsor.

The site provides in-depth information on hundreds of events, from major industry tradeshows and government conferences, to agency-sponsored roundtables, government job fairs, training events, webinars, and on-demand webcasts.

The site has grown to more than 80,000 members. On average, 90% of the events on GovEvents are posted by members. Continue reading