How Government Workforce Policies and Programs Support the Most Vulnerable

With nearly three million people in the federal workforce, the government has to be prepared to support employees with a wide variety of needs. With a workforce that resembles the population as a whole, the policies that the government puts in place can be used as an example for private sector companies as well as for organizations supporting our nation's more vulnerable populations.

The following three programs illustrate the ways the government is supporting its workforce and citizens when they are in vulnerable situations. Continue reading

Strengthening Internet of Things Security at the Federal, Local, and Consumer Level

"Our world is more connected than ever." This phrase can be interpreted in many ways, one being the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Traditional materials and devices, including bridges, streetlights, water processing machines, home refrigerators, and even our doorbells, are now connected to the internet and to users who need to track how they are functioning. However, this cyber connection also means that these devices are open for others to access and use in ways we never envisioned.

Cybersecurity practices must now extend to non-cyber products to ensure that operational technology does not compromise information technology or the networks that connect them. In fact, 1.5 billion attacks were launched against IoT devices in a single year.

Efforts to secure IoT devices must happen across all levels of users, from the federal government through state and local agencies to even citizen consumers. Continue reading

Developing an AI Training Plan for the Government Workforce

In talking about AI, there is a lot of discussion about "training the models"--feeding large amounts of data into an algorithm and then examining the results to ensure they are accurate. Once the models are deployed, the training does not stop for the models, and even more importantly, for its users.

A study from Deloitte estimates that generative AI could help boost productivity tenfold. However, this jump in efficiency will only be realized if AI and its outputs are being used correctly. Working with AI and AI-generated content requires a different set of skills that include critical thinking, algorithmic understanding, data analysis, deeper domain knowledge, cyber/data hygiene, and more. Continue reading

Department Spotlight: Health and Human Services

In its work to "enhance the health and well-being of all Americans," the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees more than 100 programs across 13 agencies. Ten of these agencies are focused on public health, with three having human services as their main mission.

Across all of these agencies, there is a shared focus on the secure and ethical use of technology to improve public health and wellbeing. In 2023, HHS had an IT budget of $8.5 billion. Despite this spending, HHS has struggled to meet federal requirements. It did not score well on a cybersecurity audit, partly due to a lack of coordination among the operating units. Continue reading