These opportunities are only going to increase as government agencies integrate more Internet of Things (IoT) devices into supporting mission outcomes. What many may not realize is that occurring in the background is likely a wireless network that makes data retrieval from these sensors possible. For the federal government to capitalize on the potential of IoT, it needs a network that is scalable, integrates Wi-Fi technology seamlessly with cellular networks and can be easily deployed. These requirements can all be achieved with a few considerations.
Federal government IT professionals have always been committed to serving their fellow citizens. Long before there were IT departments or computers, federal employees were exploring ways to innovate and improve citizen services.
For example, in the 1880s the Census Bureau struggled to efficiently process data from a growing U.S. population. Bureau employee Herman Hollerith found a new way to process the increasingly large quantities of data the Bureau had collected during the 1880 census. Hollerith automated the tallying of data with a tabulating machine that became known as the Hollerith Machine and reduced processing tabulation time by nearly 900 percent.
In the 20th century we saw that same spirit of federal IT ingenuity displayed in the work of individuals like Dorothy Vaughn at NASA. Vaughn, whose story has been made famous by the film Hidden Figures, was a manager at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA) and took it upon herself to learn computer programming. Vaughn became critical to helping NASA incorporate IBM computers into its calculations. It’s important to note that Vaughn took the initiative herself to learn computer programming and understood the potential that emerging technologies would have on NASA’s mission.
These individuals became heroes at their agencies by taking risks and continually learning. This same spirit of discovery continues to move agencies forward today. Federal IT employees can improve how government serves the citizen and the warfighter and transform how their agencies meet their missions.
What does it take to become a federal IT hero? Start by tapping into professional curiosity, exploring emerging technologies and with experimentation.
bykevin.deterra02-02-201712:57 PM - edited 02-08-201708:34 AM
Open source software and open standards continue to rapidly evolve data center technologies much in the same way that Linux and Android have enhanced our lives over the last decade. Thanks to them, it’s possible to order a pizza from top-ranked local shop on the way home from work or to find the closest gas station on the way to the airport in an unfamiliar city.
The agility these tools enable on a personal level can be brought to government and business through OpenStack and Software Defined Networking (SDN), making an impact on citizens and warfighters that goes far beyond the convenience of ordering a pizza. In government, what open source technology makes possible can help mitigate security concerns or maximize agency cost savings. Agility and customization are possible as a result of virtualization and open source, both open standards-based tools.
This blog will cover a range of open source tools that can help make new possibilities a reality for government and will illustrate how they work together to provide a flexible, virtualized environment.
2017 will see the beginning of a new presidential administration and holds the potential to be a year of action. With this in mind, I’d like to propose five New Year’s resolutions for federal IT leadership and the new administration that will enable real change in 2017.
Establish IT as central to agency missions and retire legacy systems
Federal agencies are beginning to understand the potential of digital transformation and how it supports their missions. Yet in order to power these technologies, IT modernization is critical. Just as a Lamborghini won’t run up to its full potential on a dirt road, the most cutting edge technologies will be limited by outdated infrastructure.
This coming year, agencies must resolve to retire all legacy systems that are more than ten years old. If IT infrastructure is older than your first cell phone, it can’t support digital transformation securely or effectively. For example, software-defined infrastructure and network solutions that offer visibility and automation allow agencies to adjust to unpredictable network traffic and the explosion of data caused by digital transformation. It’s time to prioritize these network options and serve citizens, taxpayers and our armed forces with the digital experience that they get everywhere else.
Imagine two cars are racing. The first is a Ferrari, while the second is a 1999 Ford Taurus. The comparison seems unfair, yet this is one way to view the relationship between today’s government IT environment and IT expectations. The Ferrari represents government employee and citizen expectations for security and reliable data access. The Ford Taurus represents aging government networks that cannot keep pace with a wide variety of emerging security threats. In the current vehicles, it’s an impossible race to win.
However, this scenario doesn’t need to be the case. Machine learning in the network can help detect and negate attacks. Similar to the idea of automatically upgrading the engine in the Ford Taurus, weaving real-time intelligence via machine learning into the network infrastructure can help keep pace with emerging threats. In a world where attacks can occur at any time, the network needs agile defensive and offensive capabilities. With machine learning built into the network, a heightened level of awareness is integrated in to your environment to address zero-day threats as well as other service disruptive anomalies.
While many machine-learning capabilities are still being developed, this is the time for agencies to prepare. Government should take three steps to leverage machine learning for your network within the next few years.
It is no surprise that cybersecurity is a growing concern for the federal government. The most recent FISMA report reflects 77,000 successfully executed cyber incidents occurring in 2015, a number that has increased each year. Part of the growing challenge is due to the diverse and ever-expanding number of endpoints and data sources for agencies to secure, especially on government campuses. With this landscape as a backdrop, campus environments require a tailored approach to security and encryption due to their varied department needs and multiple physical locations. Here are traits to look for:
At Brocade’s Federal Forum, government and industry will come together to discuss how new, innovative technologies will change the way the federal government serves citizens and warfighters through network modernization and the concept of the New IP. Many of the conversations at Federal Forum will focus on the possibilities modernization enables, but what does this mean in action? What does the technology look like?
To answer these questions, keynotes, breakouts and panel sessions will be coupled with a series of demonstrations in the Technology Pavilion. The Technology Pavilion will showcase advancements in network management and data visibility and provide an interactive experience that can be tailored to fit specific interests and questions from visitors to the Pavilion. Those who attend can expect to explore various aspects of software-defined networking (SDN), network security, high-performance analytics technology and much more.
Technological advances in all areas across the federal government have changed the way agencies work and interact with citizens. For government agencies to keep pace with technological innovation, network modernization and a transition away from hardware-centric data centers must be a top priority.
Hardware-centric legacy data centers were not built to keep pace with the needs of modern IT and make provisioning new technology slow, expensive, and error-prone. This hinders innovation in the era of mobile, social, cloud, and big data and may even lead employees to turn elsewhere for services when delays and other issues prohibit productivity.
California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) is one example of an organization that was prohibited by its legacy networks and found a solution through a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). Challenges managing data center security policies and enabling efficient network provisioning negatively impacted DWR employees’ abilities to quickly access the applications they needed to do their jobs. The challenges faced by DWR are all too common in agencies across the federal government, as well.
Awareness of the need for data center consolidation has come a long way since 2010 when the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). However, while there is no lack of conversation on the issue, measurable results have been limited and the number of centers in operation has only increased.
The good news is that data center consolidation efforts have generated considerable savings over time – an estimated $2.8 billion from 2011 to 2015 according to recent GAO reports. Yet the same report stated that of the 10,584 data centers in operation, only 3,125 were closed in 2015 - revealing missed opportunities for greater savings. The benefits of consolidated, optimized data centers are tremendous: application effectiveness, programmatic control, security and data integrity, elasticity and scalability, and automation. All of these ensure agencies have a robust data center architecture that meets their current and future requirements.
Current directives like the recently released Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) support CIOs and agency leaders. The initiative requires agencies to not only report on their data consolidation efforts, but also optimize existing technology infrastructure and transition to more efficient options, such as cloud. The DCOI provides actionable guidance and places a freeze on new data centers. CIOs are now more empowered and driven to reduce government’s data center count to 1,000.
Government networks now face a multitude of users demanding access to massive amounts of data, but they’re losing steam trying to keep up.
The legacy frameworks propelling them forward aren’t getting any more capable, either. But through a revolutionary networking practice called the New IP, limited and wasteful networks can transform into open networks — and they can do it now.
byAnthony Robbins01-18-201608:52 AM - edited 01-18-201609:18 AM
On December 9, 2015 industry leaders from Brocade, AT&T, General Motors and Facebook joined senior officials from the federal government, including U.S. CIO Tony Scott, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure.
byjmuscare01-11-201609:11 AM - edited 01-11-201609:14 AM
On December 3, the Brocade Federal Team joined forces with our strategic partners for the 2016 Federal Partner Kickoff. In collaboration with industry colleagues from VAR, Eco-System, and FSI communities we discussed Brocade’s direction for 2016, as well as upcoming trends in federal networking technology.
bytony.celeste11-17-201507:09 AM - edited 11-17-201507:10 AM
“The modernization of the IT environment of the federal government has to be one of our highest priorities,” Federal CIO Tony Scott said this summer at the Brocade Federal Forum. “We’re going to have to replace large parts of what we have because [existing network architecture] just was never designed for the mission and for the challenges that we face today.”
After this summer’s high profile OPM breach, there’s no question that cyber attacks are affecting the federal government with an alarming frequency. According to the Government Accountability Office, data breaches at government agencies involving personal data have jumped 91 percent over the past eight years. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s time to consider all elements of a secure environment – starting with the network.
Last month at the Federal Forum in Washington, D.C., I joined Brocade’s industry partners and the government’s leading IT decision makers to discuss how new, exciting technologies are changing the way our government serves the American citizenry, enables warfighters and meets the demands of a growing list of stakeholders.
Agencies today are being asked to do a lot with their data. With information generated by new sources - from social media outlets to mobile devices - agencies must store, monitor, organize, access, and, most importantly, make sense of data in a way that allows them to best serve the American citizenry.
The data center is the eye of this data storm, and it’s essential that IT leaders have the best tools at their disposal to ensure information flows seamlessly throughout the network. These tools go beyond technology alone and must also include a strategic approach to acquisition planning.
The Internet of Things is making a huge impact on the public sector and changing the role of everyday devices, from watches to thermometers. As government’s understanding of the IoT expands, agencies are now thinking in terms of what they can do as a result of these connected devices. This is what we define as the “Internet of Things You Can Do.”
byAnthony Robbins02-23-201510:06 AM - edited 02-24-201504:58 AM
There is no question that security is becoming one of government’s top IT concerns. Breaches have become so frequent that it is no longer a question of if they will occur, but when.
According to a GAO report, the number of security incidents at federal agencies that have involved the potential exposure of citizens’ personal information has increased from 10,400 in 2009 to more than 25,500 in 2013. As network security remains the most critical area of vulnerability prevention, government agencies are in need of next-gen solutions that don’t stifle innovation.
Over a series of Federal Insights posts, we are putting together a checklist to help agencies make the shift to the New IP. Demanding open standards from technology providers is a critical first step to opening the doors to innovation through the New IP. Software-based IT infrastructure is the next step on the roadmap to the New IP.
Is your agency on the path to the New IP? Our checklist, which we’ll outline throughout a series of upcoming posts, can help to determine if your agency is moving in the right direction when it comes to modernizing your network.