Technocrat | November 5, 2018: Moving to the (Hybrid) Cloud

What’s New This Week:

Moving to the (Hybrid) Cloud

It took a few days, but we’re finally not feeling like zombies after the Halloween sugar binge. Speaking of dead things, NASA has put to rest its Kepler space telescope, which is known for discovering more than 2,600 planets outside our solar system over the past nine years. RIP Kepler, the planet hunter. You’ll be missed.

Meanwhile, IBM was on cloud nine last week following its acquisition of open-source software developer Red Hat in a record-breaking cash deal worth $34 billion. IBM’s president and CEO Ginni Rometty called it “a game-changer” for the company. As Red Hat becomes a distinct unit of IBM’s hybrid cloud division, the tech giant is expected to get a boost in its cloud portfolio for both the private and public sectors. That’s something IBM didn’t have until now: Red Hat’s expertise to create top-tier hybrid cloud offerings.

At the forefront of the IBM/Red Hat deal is the federal government—the perfect customer for hybrid cloud solutions. Government agencies tend to be risk-averse with data and often rely on legacy systems, which makes moving to the cloud difficult. Red Hat’s presence in the federal space has grown significantly in recent years and IBM has set its sights on those government contracts.

BGOV’s Chris Cornillie explains more in this week’s exclusive story.

With the White House’s new Cloud Smart strategy in place, federal agencies are under pressure to evolve with the times and incorporate cloud computing into their IT modernization efforts. That’s already the case for several agencies like the Defense Department, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and NASA, which have been the biggest buyers of cloud services since 2014, according to Bloomberg Government’s September report. Cloud services contract obligations were expected to reach approximately $6.5 billion in fiscal 2018, up from $4.9 billion in fiscal 2017, the report found.

And let’s not forget about data privacy — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can’t seem to catch a break. Two different parliamentary committees from the U.K. and Canada issued an international joint summons for Zuckerberg, asking him to testify and answer questions about Facebook’s data privacy practices. They’re also seeking more details about the social media platform’s digital policies and information governance practices. Both committees said they’ll publish final reports as a result by the end of December.

Hungry for more? Your weekly dose of key issues affecting federal technology leaders awaits.

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Get Smart

 “With dozens of cloud contracts currently under development across the federal government, and hundreds more systems likely to shift to the cloud over the next decade, IBM is at least giving itself a fighting chance.”

 —Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

Beyond Legacy

Three Agencies Get a Combined $23.5M for IT Modernization

The departments of Labor and Agriculture, as well as the General Services Administration, have received funding for major IT modernization projects. This is the second time the USDA has been selected by the Technology Modernization Board, which issues the awards. Read more.

 DOT Is on a Mission for Better Data Analysis

The Department of Transportation wants to use big data to make U.S. highways safer. Having kicked off a Safety Data Initiative earlier this year, the agency is now asking the industry for advice about the best tools for data analysis and visualization. Read more.

Eye on Security

 DHS Creates Supply Chain Task Force

The Homeland Security Department has a new task force that aims to protect U.S. technology from foreign hackers. This public-private partnership is the first information and communications supply chain task force that will focus on risk management and providing recommendations. Read more.

 Postal Service Seeks Improved Email Security

The Postal Service’s internal watchdog is looking for tools that can help the agency implement a new email authentication system by January 2019. At the top of the list is a cloud-based, software-as-a-service solution that’s FedRAMP certified. Read more.

Strategy & Leadership

Federal CIO: Retraining IT Talent Should Be Priority

It takes approximately 106 days for agencies to fill a vacant position—a statistic federal CIO Suzette Kent shared at a recent government conference. Kent wants to change that. Recruiting entry-level staff and reskilling existing IT talent will be a major focus in the coming months. Read more.

 OPM Proposes Direct-Hire Authority for Agencies

The Office of Personnel Management would like to give agencies direct authority to hire IT personnel without its permission. OPM posted the proposed rule to the Federal Register last week but indicated there would be limitations in how agencies carry out that authority. Read more.

Next Tech

 DHS Gears Up for Biometric Tech Rally

Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate wants submissions for a “biometric technology rally,” which will take place in the spring of 2019. The event will allow agencies like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to test products in a realistic scenario. Read more.

 Could AI Help HHS Save $2B in Bulk Purchases?

Artificial intelligence is the answer when it comes to paying the lowest possible price for bulk purchases of everyday products, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency’s procurement shop currently spends about $24 billion each year. Read more.

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