As we head towards the end of a second pandemic-influenced year, sports and entertainment facilities are back up to full capacity, albeit with varying levels of mask and vaccine requirements. This holiday season feels a bit more normal, as family gatherings are becoming routine and larger group celebrations are being reintroduced. With this shift to comfort in gathering, we wanted to take the pulse of the government community. As we've done twice before, we reached out to our members to gauge their interest in and readiness for professional events.
At the time of the survey fielding (November 2021), 73% of respondents said they would be comfortable attending an in-person event in 2022. Within this response, we looked at people who had responded "no" to attending in-person events on the last survey (August 2021), and about 50% of those people changed their response to"yes." In August, our survey found only 51% comfortable with attending an in-person event by the end of 2021, a 24% decrease from the responses in May. However, with the most recent rise in readiness back up to 73%, public comfort with in-person events is back to what it was in the spring of 2021.
GovWhitePapers has launched as a central hub for government employees and supporting industry to find the information they need to understand the government market's trends and offer solutions to its challenges. A sister-site to GovEvents.com, GovWhitePapers will serve the 100,000+ audience who have been using the centralized source for all government-related events.
"Eleven years ago we launched GovEvents as a gathering place for the government community to find events that would help them advance their careers as well as their agency missions," said Kerry Rea, president of GovEvents and GovWhitePapers. "With GovWhitePapers, we're giving this community more of what they want--content and current knowledge on the latest trends and technologies making government more efficient and effective."
The GovWhitePapers team has collected materials relevant to the government audience on topics as diverse as Artificial Intelligence, Citizen Experience, Cloud Computing, Acquisition, Cybersecurity, Healthcare, and more. GovWhitePapers' goal is to make finding educational and thought leadership content less tedious, allowing the government community to: Continue reading
For the past 17 years, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Cybersecurity Alliance have led a month-long national focus on cybersecurity best practices. In coordination with a number of organizations around the country, each October features events and campaigns to help educate businesses and individuals on avoiding dangers lurking online. As with everything else, the activities for the 2020 Cybersecurity Awareness Month will look a bit different. But perhaps it is fitting that most of it will be taking place online. It's a great opportunity to practice what you preach when hosting virtual events and resources.
The theme for 2020 is "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart," encouraging individuals and organizations to look at their own role in protecting cyberspace and providing proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity. A big part of this is the idea of "if you connect it, protect it." Resources and speakers will focus on securing devices at home and at work, securing Internet-connected healthcare devices, and looking ahead to the future of connected devices.
In government, doing "your part" means making a transition to a zero trust security environment where access controls are maintained around data and systems even after someone has shown the proper credentials to get into the network. The name "zero trust" implies a difficult hurdle that has to be overcome to earn the trust, but that is not the case. A different way of looking at it is "context-based trust" or "variable trust" meaning that devices with network access will receive immediate entry. Other devices that are unknown to the network will be subject to additional checks and balances. Key to this is establishing what is perceived as normal behavior on the network and by users. As activity deviates from that norm, systems and data can be locked up until legitimate access is verified. Continue reading
For the first time ever, every government agency received a passing score on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard. Now, this does not mean that everyone made the honor roll, rather the general GPA is around a C.
FITARA was enacted in 2014, and report cards come out twice a year to measure and track progress in meeting the modernization efforts outlined in the legislation. The scorecard has evolved over the years as deadlines have passed, and new modernization metrics have been implemented.
The coronavirus pandemic underscored the need for modernization. Agencies had to hustle to move processes fully online and make them accessible to a remote workforce and the public who could no longer visit government offices to conduct business. It reinforced the need for modernization to move from a wish list or "we'll get there" item to a critical need.
In this 10th report, The General Services Administration (GSA) received an A+ grade on the scorecard for the second time in a row. The Education Department dropped out of the A-range, falling to a B. They joined two other agencies in dropping scores, while seven agencies showed improved results, and 14 stayed the same. The majority of agencies passed in the C-range. Continue reading
DevOps, a combination of the words development and operations, is designed to smooth the frequently problematic handoff between an organization's developers and its operations staff. It is an operational philosophy that has technology developers and the operational team who will use the technology working together closely through the entire development of a technology solution. The goal of this approach is quick releases of solutions that have an immediate impact on how people do their jobs.
On the surface this sounds like a perfect fit for government, an "industry" in need of fast digital transformation to meet citizen needs. The DevOps promise of making application development quicker and cheaper is incredibly attractive to the government. However, the third part of the promise, collaboration, proves to be the most problematic as culture and process stand in the way.
From a culture perspective, organizations need to break down silos and create brand new teams focused on an application's output, rather than on tactical roles. To achieve this goal, individuals need to be empowered with autonomy and be enabled with strong communication skills to ensure everyone understands their roles and buys into the overall project objective. As U.S. Special Operations Command CIO Lisa Costa described it, "creating a DevOps culture is akin to practicing tactical shooting. You remove all extraneous movement, and that's how you get efficiency." She said her team focused on stripping away processes that had accumulated over the years but were not serving the objective of getting solutions out to the field quickly. Continue reading