Technocrat | August 20, 2018: The (Security) Struggle is Real

What’s New This Week:
The (Security) Struggle Is Real
Chances are you already know former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly recorded conversations with President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly. While we’re not here to talk politics, the recordings show that there are serious issues with honor-system security. Omarosa claims her convo with Kelly took place in the Situation Room, one of the White House’s highly secured SCIFs that prohibits all types of electronic devices.

Even calculators are off-limits (Stephen Colbert did a skit about that on The Late Show, but we’ll refrain). The White House could invest in some white noise machines and body scanners, but they may potentially cause other problems.

We hear locking people in a room until they learn security hygiene also works. That’s what the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to do with its employees. NGA is developing training exercises that involve sticking employees inside escape rooms and testing their knowledge of cybersecurity. Sounds daunting, but effective. Heck of a team builder.

Speaking of teams, cybersecurity talent is in high demand. Just ask federal technology leaders, who are finding it difficult and costly to keep fully staffed security operations centers. Systemic budget issues are part of the problem. No surprise there.

Here’s some alphabet soup you need to learn: Sure, you’ve heard of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Now, get ready for SOCaaS? It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but industry experts believe security operations centers as a service may be the next big trend in federal cybersecurity. They place the nation’s cyber defenders on the front lines like modern-day minutemen—monitoring the network for the first signs of potential threats.

Want to know more? BGOV’s Chris Cornillie has your exclusive look at the emerging “security as a service” trend set to reshape federal cyber operations.

Time to consider centralizing your security operations, ladies and gents!

Before you go—the House and Senate are still hammering out the particulars of how much money the Technology Modernization Fund will receive in 2019. Can it be saved? Next time, on the hit new budgetary drama, “Continuing Resolutions.”

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 Get Smart

“Agencies should take time to scope down processes, and gain a complete understanding of their data, services, and security capabilities to better manage security operations.”

—Dan Jacobs, cybersecurity coordinator for General Services Administration’s Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management team

Strategy & Leadership

FBI Goes on a Hiring Spree

After a wave of high-profile departures, several new top and mid-level cybersecurity and IT executives are joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Among them is former counterterrorism special agent Matt Gorham and 27-year FBI veteran Amy Hess. Read more.

New Director Joins IARPA

Stacey Dixon is now director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, and she has some exciting plans for the agency. They include preventing terrorist attacks with machine learning, storing data within molecules, and predicting epidemics through crowdsourcing. Read more.

Beyond Legacy

Dreaming of Health Care Interoperability

Interoperability is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of health care. Several tech giants pledged to change that at the Blue Button 2.0 developers conference. But it won’t be easy. The “promised land of interoperability” will take some work, they said. Read more.

A Happy Place for USDA Employees

The Department of Agriculture is on a mission to create a central intranet that employees enjoy going to—a place that houses relevant news, facts, events, and training opportunities. It will also have sections with “fun things to lighten your day,” per the USDA. Aw, that’s nice! Read more.

Next Tech

EPA Really Likes Data Analytics

Not all scientists hate working for the Environmental Protection Agency, despite a recent survey showing that morale is low at the agency. EPA’s chief data scientist Robin Thottungal is actually excited about building a data science platform in the cloud. Here’s why. Read more.

OPM Has Money to Spend on E-Learning

The Office of Personnel Management is in search of a contractor to update its knowledge management portal, USA Learning. The recompeted contract could be worth $235 million over 10 years. Any takers? Responses to OPM’s request for information are due any day now. Read more. (Client Exclusive)

Big Moves

GSA Parts Ways With Key Leaders

Three executives are leaving the General Services Administration, including Kay Ely, head of the agency’s technology-focused acquisition team. Sources say another exec, Joel Minton, is moving to Google after working on the program for more than two years. Read more.

Ban on Chinese Tech Companies Is Here

Lawmakers have been beefing with Huawei and ZTE for a while, so it’s no surprise that government agencies are now officially forbidden from buying or using telecom and surveillance products from the Chinese manufacturers. The ban will go into effect over the next two years. Read more.

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