Data helps organizations make more informed decisions about how they serve their customers. Data informs policy and procedures and feeds more personalized interaction with people. But with great power comes vast responsibility. The data that organizations hold can be incredibly personal. It's more than just someone's social security number. It is information about where people live, work, shop, keep their money, get their news, and more. Individuals should have control over who knows this information and, if they do have it, how they use it. However, most of us do little to understand our privacy rights beyond blindly clicking a checkbox that allows sites to collect information about our activities.
Data privacy practices ensure that the data shared by customers is only used for its intended purpose. A multitude of laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been enacted to provide guidelines to organizations and promises of data privacy to individuals.
The latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard showed that all agencies still have passing grades when it comes to meeting federal goals for IT management and reporting, but there was some backsliding in the latest report.
Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Veterans Administration improved their overall scores, while five agencies -- Commerce, Small Business Administration, The General Services Administration, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Aid - all dropped. A positive among the scores was that every agency received at least one A for the first time in the scorecard's history.
The battles of tomorrow will likely not be fought on the ground, they will take place in cyberspace as nation-states and rogue actors alike look to interrupt the everyday functions of a country via high-tech attacks. Recently we saw theRussian hack of software, designed (ironically) to help organizations monitor network problems and anomalies, which has the government and private companies scrambling to determine what data was compromised. With cyberspace being the new battlefield, data and data management have quickly become a strategic asset in the DoD arsenal.
Last fall, the DOD released the Department's Data Strategy. An overarching guidance on how they will manage, secure, and use data. This document supports theDOD's transition to "a data-centric organization that uses data at speed and scale for operational advantage and increased efficiency." The Data Strategy includes 7 goals, nicknamed VAULTIS, to becoming data-centric:
In one of its first acts, the 117th Congress passed theFedRAMP Authorization Act. This bill codifies the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and, in the process,speeds up the time it takes for cloud solutions to be implemented in the Federal government. Currently, cloud solutions must frequently gain separate authority to operate statuses for each agency where they are used. This bill looks to have the General Services Administration (GSA) automate processes to promote reciprocity for security validations from one agency to another.
This bill was passed at a critical time for cloud adoption within government as agencies continue to accelerate their digital plans to meet the needs of a remote workforce. While the way has been cleared for "emergency" use of cloud to keep the business of government running, laws and policy like this Act ensure that there is long term support for the move to cloud services.
The past year has seen us living with the reality of virtual. Video calls, online meetings, streamed events - the majority of our connections have happened through a screen. While this is our current reality it is not virtual reality in the truest sense. By definition, virtual reality (VR) is being completely immersed in a world that is simulated. Augmented reality (AR) allows a user to move around in the real world while interacting with virtual elements (think Pokemon Go). What we've called "virtual" during the pandemic does not fit these exact criteria but our comfort interacting with a screen and the related technologies does pave the way for virtual and augmented reality solutions to become part of daily work and life.