John K. Higgins

About the Author John K. Higgins


Government

IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market

Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.

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Government

VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software

A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA’s action as an example of the administration’s commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.

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Tech Law

SC Ruling Signals New Era for Software Patent Enforcement

The U.S. Supreme Court once again has changed the landscape for software infringement litigation. In a decision released last week, the court severely undercut the ability of plaintiffs to seek out courts that have a track record of being “friendly” to the plaintiff’s position — a practice called “forum shopping.” Legal analysts disagree on the impact of the decision, however.

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Government

Federal Agencies Turn to Software-Defined Data Storage

Federal agencies seeking to deal with huge amounts of information have begun embracing the software-defined data center, a technology tool that has come into vogue for managing and storing data. The SDDC is an offshoot of IT virtualization that uses a software-defined architecture. Agencies have been striving to save money and improve data storage and management in response to government mandates.

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Government

Federal Agencies Mirror Commercial Websites for Encryption

Private and public sector organizations share a common goal in hosting Internet websites: making sure that connections with customers and citizens are secure. However, complete security is not yet universal in either sector. Google and Mozilla, for example, are among many entities promoting Internet security via the adoption of HTTPS versus the basic and less secure HTTP technology.

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Government

Federal IT Acquisition Worth $50B Cleared for Takeoff

A major federal acquisition opportunity with a potential contract value of $50 billion for IT vendors is back on track. The GSA recently resumed processing vendor applications after a legal challenge to the contract was resolved in its favor. As a result, the GSA this fall will reveal the names of approximately 60 vendors who will be eligible to participate in the Alliant 2 IT contract vehicle.

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Government

US Pushes Cybersecurity Acquisition Tools as Contracts Flow

Vendors of cybersecurity offerings are finding that the U.S. government is serious about improving the protection of federal IT assets. A steady stream of data protection contracts has been flowing to providers, including some notable high-value transactions during the last half of 2016. One example is a Department of Homeland Security contract, with a potential value of $395 million.

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Government

Cloud Enters Mainstream in Federal IT Investment Plans

U.S. government agencies will continue to invest hefty sums in cloud computing technology over the next five years. After that period, spending on cloud is likely to moderate, but the amount of investing will remain at impressive levels. Cloud computing is far from mature within the federal government, but it has reached a point at which it is a mainstream component of government IT resources.

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Government

Feds Need to Bolster Cyberprotection Speed and Range

Providing cybersecurity adequate to meet increasing threats is a perpetual catch-up process. Public sector agencies are particularly sensitive targets, with high visibility not only to the citizens they serve, but also to cyberattackers. A recent survey uncovered both a lack of speed in detecting and responding to attacks, and weak defenses of the full range of possible attack channels.

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Government

US Comptroller Gears Up for Blockchain and Internet Finance

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a lot of catching up to do in dealing with innovative information technology, as it affects not only conventional finance, but also new channels of e-commerce made possible through advances in IT. These channels include cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, related “blockchain” technologies, and other Internet-driven financial services.

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Government

US Launches IT Contract to Spur Cybersecurity Purchases

The U.S. government plans to initiate an updated contracting vehicle for the acquisition of cybersecurity information technologies for federal agencies this month. The purpose of the program is to make it easier and more efficient for federal agencies to obtain cyberprotection services. Specifically, GSA will include cybertechnology providers on a major listing of approved federal contractors.

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Government

Outdated Federal IT Gobbles Up Vendor Opportunities

U.S. government agencies spend an overwhelming amount of their annual information technology budgets simply to maintain old and out-of-date systems. As a result, the amount of money available for investing in modernizing IT keeps shrinking, thus depriving vendors of major marketing opportunities at the federal level. The official federal IT budget has remained at about $82 billion per year for several years.

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Government

Feds Seek Vendor Help for Payroll Processing Upgrade

Technology vendors that support the different missions of U.S. government agencies may have a major opportunity to provide innovative IT assistance for a task that is common to all: preparing the payroll for 2.3 million federal workers. The GSA and the OPM have been sifting through responses from IT vendors on a joint RFI on significantly upgrading federal payroll processing.

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Government

Defense Department Drifts Toward Commercial Cloud

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on a project that is designed to further the incorporation of commercial cloud capabilities into DoD’s information technology operations. Vendors have been asked to submit bids for the project, known as “Mil-Cloud 2.0.” The procurement is one element of a comprehensive DoD strategy for expanding cloud operations.

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Government

Feds Make Big Strides in Big Data Management

U.S. government agencies gradually have been getting a handle on utilizing the potential of big data and data analytics. At the same time, the Obama administration has recognized that significantly more investment will be required for federal big data research in order to guide agencies toward maximizing the value of processing huge chunks of data and improving their data analysis capabilities.

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Government

Changes in Federal IT Spending Require Nimble Contracting

Federal agencies will continue to spend heavily on IT over the next five years, but the pace and direction of spending will be complicated by shifting priorities, congressional constraints and a presidential election. The bottom line is that the overall rate of IT spending will be above $98 billion each year for next six federal fiscal years, according to a forecast Deltek released last month.

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Government

Feds Seek to Cut Software Costs and Expand Licenses

Software vendors who sell their wares to the U.S. government soon will face a significantly different marketing environment in terms of how federal agencies acquire the programs and technologies that keep IT systems going. Federal agencies spent nearly $9 billion in 2015 on software, and the OMB has directed them to adopt practices that will simplify and streamline software acquisition.

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Government

The Tricky Business of Crafting Solid Cloud SLAs

In the five years since the U.S. government put a clear emphasis on utilizing cloud technology, federal procurement offices have engaged in seemingly endless tinkering of contracting vehicles to promote cloud adoption. The core element of virtually every type of federal cloud procurement contract is the service level agreement, upon which billions of dollars of cloud investments are based.

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Government

Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints

What’s not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.

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Government

IT Execs Join Federal Cybersecurity Panel

Key components of the Obama administration’s multipronged cybersecurity initiative keep falling into place. One of the most recent developments was the formation of a federal Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Another was the formal introduction in Congress of the administration’s information technology investment plan, which is heavily tilted toward cybersecurity protection.

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Government

Treasury Department Examines Internet’s Impact on Finance System

Information technology — especially the Internet — can have a positive impact on the U.S. financial system. Used improperly, however, such tools can wreak havoc on the financial sector and consumers. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a unit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has launched an initiative on the future of e-commerce finance in light of technology innovation.

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Government

Feds Prep for Cybersecurity Buying Spree

The U.S. government’s objectives for improving cybersecurity are taking shape in updated contracting procedures, contracts and projected increases in spending. Recent developments have underscored the federal commitment to IT security. The GSA has asked vendors to respond by Wednesday to a research survey on what it should do to expedite federal acquisition of cybersecurity products and services.

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Government

CFPB Asserts Jurisdiction Over E-Commerce Privacy Regulation

Another federal agency has entered the arena for regulating e-commerce companies regarding the protection of consumer data. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has closed its first and so far only privacy case with a consent agreement between itself and an online payments processor. The CFPB charged that Dwolla misled consumers that its information was encrypted and stored securely.

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Government

FCC Privacy Proposal Troubles Broadband Internet Providers

Broadband Internet service providers are wary of a government plan to impose consumer privacy protection regulations on the sector. The Federal Communications Commission likely will issue the proposed regulations by Friday. It will accept public comment on the proposal before taking final action. The program would require ISPs to meet privacy standards similar to those covering phone companies.

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Government

White House Puts Clamps on Data Center Development

The federal program for improving the operation of thousands of government data centers has entered a new phase that will impact significantly how electronic information is stored and managed. Proposed updates to data center operations will affect providers of data management products and could spur the use of cloud technology. Vendors have been invited to comment on the proposals by April 1.

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Cloud Computing

For Federal Cloud Investing, Change Is the Only Constant

Vivek Kundra, the former federal CIO, envisioned that 25 percent of the funds the federal government spends each year on IT could productively be deployed through cloud-based systems. Two recent reports show that for government IT managers, market and technical factors that were nonexistent or modest in their impact when Kundra was serving as federal CIO will affect future cloud deployments.

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