News Feature | July 16, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — July 14, 2014

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Government IT News For VARs

In the news this week, the Massachusetts Senate has passed an Information Technology Bond Bill worth $999 million, and new government cloud services are also moving closer to their projected 2015 rollout date.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General reveals how he approaches IT security in his department in an interview with Fed Tech, and the Amazon Drone project raises some interesting concerns, which one article hopes to place at rest. 

Massachusetts Senate Passes $999 Million Information Technology Bond Bill

According to a press release by Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the Massachusetts Senate recently passed legislation authorizing up to $999.2 million in spending for the improvement of information technology equipment and related projects in Massachusetts. The bill also includes important reforms to the state’s information technology systems and management, including increased oversight of all information technology projects and recommending best practices. The Senate bill and a previously passed House bill now go to a conference committee to create a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.

Microsoft’s Government Cloud Gets Closer To Release

In a blog post Wednesday, Microsoft announced updates to its current cloud services that will soon be offered in a version tailored specifically for government use, scheduled for a 2015 rollout. The newest update to the yet-to-be-fully-released cloud option contains the company’s Dynamics CRM Online, a customer relationship management tool that can provide social insights, business intelligence, and campaign management in or out of the cloud. The government version of Dynamics CRM Online is built on the same infrastructure as the public tool, but it will exist separately from the publicly-available version.  

DHS Inspector General Embraces Continuous Monitoring

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has one of the highest FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) compliance scores in the federal government, and it runs automated security scans on 80 to 90 percent of its IT assets every 10 days and is working to boost those metrics. This article from FedTech Magazine highlights how Jaime Vargas with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General runs security in his department. Vargas, its chief information security officer, was honored last month for designing, developing, and implementing an Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM) Program.

Six Things You Should Know About Amazon's Drones

This Forbes article points out some significant facts about Amazon’s desire to begin testing drones for their “Prime Air” delivery service. Importantly, if the FAA grants the exemption to Amazon, it does not mean that drones will be flying down every street. Amazon’s drone technology had made major developmental progress in the past five months. Also, Amazon wants to innovate, and states that the current FAA regulations are standing in their way; plans to self-regulate with procedures that exceed current FAA rules; plan to use technology to keep their testing safe; and if the FAA does not grant the exception, Amazon will move testing outside the U.S.

Government IT Talking Points

This industry perspective published in Government Technology asserts that putting analytics at the borders would increase security and convenience.  Technology can help governments and customs agencies to develop and implement improved identity management solutions that enable quick and accurate identity information exchange, while protecting individual privacy rights and civil liberties. Real-time analysis and historical information mining and research provide the insights needed to make more intelligent decisions about customs or border entry and security.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Government IT Resource Center.