In March, the Biden Administration released the latest guidance aimed at improving the cybersecurity practices of Federal agencies. The National Cybersecurity Strategy builds on the Executive Order for Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity that makes cybersecurity a strategic focus of every agency. This latest guidance drills further into the actions needed to ensure that government systems and citizen data are protected against the ever-evolving threat landscape.
The goal of the strategy is to "rebalance the responsibility to defend cyberspace" and "realign incentives to favor long-term investments." To do this, the responsibility for cybersecurity must be shifted to the organizations that are most capable and best-positioned to reduce risks. It points out that, "a single person's momentary lapse in judgment, use of an outdated password, or errant click on a suspicious link should not have national security consequences." While security is the responsibility of everyone, small businesses, small localities, and individuals simply do not have the resources to support the security needed to protect systems and data. Instead, the guidance proposes new incentives to favor long-term investments in security, resilience, and new technologies.Continue reading →
The government's relationship with cloud computing has been an evolving affair. Initially, there was skepticism that cloud solutions could not provide the needed security that on-premise systems had been providing. With checks and balances provided by FedRAMP, security concerns were slowly but surely overcome. With the move to more remote work and the demand for digital interaction with citizens, cloud has moved from a novel approach to a necessary part of the Federal IT infrastructure.
Cloud and Security
Initial concerns about the levels of security maintained by cloud providers have proven to be unfounded. Cloud systems are built with security as a top of mind concern by some of the brightest, most experienced cyber experts in the world. No matter how skilled Federal IT teams are, they just cannot build an on-premises system that meets the same rigors. In fact, today cloud security concerns lie with the users of cloud rather than the providers.Continue reading →
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been in the spotlight like never before with their critical role in managing the pandemic. While there is a lot of work still to be done on that front, other critical efforts are taking place across HHS agencies that will have an incredible impact on the health and well-being of citizens.
The necessity of sharing data to understand and respond to the pandemic spawned a host of new applications and a new openness to data sharing across HHS as well as governmentwide. The first major HHS data sharing platform was launched in April 2020. Named HHS Protect, this platform provided visibility into more than four billion data elements from 225 sources providing intelligence on rates of infection and hospitalizations. HHS is committed to expanding its use and sharing of data in all areas of its mission with programs including the Data Optimization Initiative, Administration for Children and Families Data Sharing Solutions, and the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).Continue reading →
Pandemic-necessitated remote work and increased reliance on online apps and sites for routine everyday tasks like shopping and transportation showed us that Internet connection is a critical utility. It also proved that getting connected is not enough -- the speed and quality of that connection have a huge impact on how we carry out day-to-day activities. In a timely coincidence, this reliance on connectivity comes at a time when networks are improving their service to supply that exact speed and reliability.
Introducing a Whole New Level of Speed: 5G
5G promises to be faster with less latency when connecting to the network. The speeds afforded by 5G mean that visions for smart, connected cities can be logistically achieved as 5G networks will be better able to handle more users, lots of sensors, and heavy traffic. The Department of Veterans Affairs is already tapping into 5G to allow doctors to use augmented reality to look at and manipulate large imaging files, like MRIs or CT scans.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows tasks that typically require human intelligence to be completed at machine speed. For government agencies, this means that they can make better use of the troves of data they hold for daily decision making, strategic planning, and citizen service.
Protecting the Bat Population
Bats are a critical part of the natural ecosystems as pollinators and in their role of natural insect extermination. However, many bats are at risk due to habitat loss. When they lose their natural habitat, many take to bridges as a new home, causing potential damage and even posing health hazards.