What’s New This Week:
To the Cloud and Beyond
Welcome to December, the most wonderful time of the year! Although the federal government isn’t feeling so jolly with a possible partial shutdown looming. Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Dec. 7, but more on that next time…
Amazon dominated the headlines this week after it announced pay-as-you-go cloud computing in space. Sound like fiction? It’s not. The company’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, unveiled a new offering that allows satellite operators to rent time on Amazon-managed ground stations for sending and receiving data from space. Dubbed AWS Ground Station, the fully managed service could benefit smaller companies that need access to a ground station on short notice and pay-as-you-go basis without being locked into expensive long-term contracts. Amazon said there will be 12 ground stations in operation by mid-2019.
Amazon also announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin to integrate AWS Ground Station with the government defense contractor’s Verge antenna network, which uses the cloud to process and store large amounts of data. While the service is still in beta mode, government AWS customers will have a “full range of data classifications” available to them—including unclassified, sensitive, secret, and top secret—according to Lockheed Martin.
And let’s not forget about JEDI. It’s turning into a never-ending saga (much like the “Star Wars” movies that inspired its name). The Government Accountability Office officially denied Oracle’s bid protest against the cloud contract in a 19-page ruling this month. There are several reasons why GAO concluded the single-award approach will benefit the Pentagon most, including issues related to IT complexity and security. In this week’s exclusive story, BGOV’s Chris Cornillie shares five takeaways from GAO’s ruling and the factors influencing its decision.
Despite all the criticism, the Defense Department is planning to migrate as much as 80 percent of its current IT systems to JEDI. But it won’t be DOD’s only way of accessing cloud services. Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb told Federal News Network the agency will require “multiple clouds from multiple vendors” and JEDI is the first step. It’ll be interesting to see how all of this will actually play out.
Here’s some more news you can use.
“When evaluating a single cloud against a multi-cloud environment, it’s necessary to weigh the risks of creating a single point of failure against that of multiplying the number of seams and access points, where cloud environments are most vulnerable.”
—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government
Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.
Army Taps Microsoft for Augmented-Reality Devices
The Army is quickly becoming one of Microsoft’s most important customers, despite protests by the tech giant’s employees against the partnership. Microsoft just scored another major contract—worth $480 million—to supply the Army with prototypes for augmented-reality devices. Read more.
Study: DOD Isn’t Directing Tech Funding Where It Should
It’s no secret that the Defense Department is investing in artificial intelligence and big-data analytics to keep its technological edge. Yet a new study of recent DOD contract trends paints a different picture, saying this “new” spending is still going to the same old companies. Read more.
Eye on Security
Homeland Security’s Cyber Hygiene Score Coming Soon
The Homeland Security Department is using data from continuous monitoring tools to assemble cyber scores. Using an algorithm called Agency-Wide Adaptive Risk Enumeration, or AWARE, the agency will have a better view of the government’s cybersecurity posture. Read more.
Can Cloud Computing Help the FBI Stop Terrorist Attacks?
The FBI is inundated with data. According to Counterterrorism Division deputy assistant director Christine Halvorsen, the bureau struggles with manually processing data generated by criminal investigations. She believes adopting cloud technology is the answer. Read more.
GSA Creates One-Stop Shop for Award Schedules
The General Services Administration is combining its multiple-award-schedule contracts, used for buying products and services, into one over the next two years. The move will make it easier for small businesses to use the schedules program, according to the agency. Read more.
Data Center Optimization Policy Gets Update
The Office of Management and Budget released an updated version of its Data Center Optimization policy, aimed at closing or consolidating federal data centers. OMB said it had to tweak some of the metrics used to gauge agency success in areas like virtualization, among others. Read more.
(Data) Privacy Please
Details of Federal Data Privacy Standard Still Unclear
Consensus is growing that the U.S. needs to eliminate its patchwork of state laws relating to consumer data privacy. Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons says his agency doesn’t have the resources or authority to go after privacy violators. Read more.
OPM’s Identity Theft Protection Contract Due for Rebid
The Office of Personnel Management’s contract with ID Experts is set to expire at the end of the year, which means current and former federal employees may soon get a new credit monitoring company. OPM will rebid the contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Read more.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of Bloomberg Government’s Technocrat!