News Feature | March 20, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — March 20, 2014

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Government IT News For VARs

In the news, government agencies face looming Windows XP support deadline, and the GSA looks to the incubator model for inspiration.

Government Computers Running XP, Vulnerable

After April 8, hundreds of thousands of government computers, which are still running on Windows XP, will become vulnerable to hackers. Officials have been aware for more than six years that the expiration date for Microsoft’s support was drawing near, but many upgrades still have not been made. An estimated 10 percent of government computers, including thousands on military and diplomatic networks, are affected.  The Washington Post reports that federal workers are working on making the transition as successful as possible.

Microsoft Makes Progress On Government Cloud

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced “private previews” of its government cloud computing service. Federal CTO, Suzie Adams has not yet revealed which services will be available at the launch of the government version of Azure, but it will resemble the current offering in the private sector. Government contractors will still be able to leverage the commercial content delivery network. Azure is the 10th cloud that has achieved FedRAMP JAB provisional authorization.

“Smart Gun” Technology Promising, But Needs Improvement

In February, “smart guns,” which only fire in proximity to a specially designed watch, became available for sale in the US. The German technology has drawn concerns from gun activist groups over potential non-smart gun bans.

“Digital Incubator” Launched By GSA

The federal government is launching a program to bring the benefits of a startup incubator to government environments. The program, named 18F, will be comprised of staff from the General Services Administration’s digital delivery team and Presidential Innovation Fellows. The project aligns with general legislation that gives the U.S. CTO the task of improving government IT procurement.

Government IT Talking Points

Government agencies face challenges of security and public perception around uses of Big Data. Peter Guerra, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, shares some of his thoughts on managing security and the “creepiness factor.”

Google Ideas has partnered with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to use information sitting in dockets and indictments around the world to combat organized crime rings. The tool, so far, appears more useful to journalists than in actual law enforcement.

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