In order to promote innovation, foster better government and engage citizens the National Association of State Chief Information Officers announced this year’s finalists for its annual Recognition Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Information Technology in State Government.
NASCIO highlights state technology initiatives that exemplify best practices, support public policy goals, provide cost-effective services to citizens and assist government officials in executing their duties.
NASCIO recognized 30 state IT initiatives across10 categories- data information and knowledge management, open government initiatives, risk management initiatives, enterprise IT management initiatives and information communications technology innovations, just to list a few.
View the innovative solutions state governments have created to meet the needs of their citizens and improve government efficiency.
Finalists will be formally announced October 3rd.
The Partnership for Public Service has expanded their Best Places to Work in the Federal Government program to include an innovation survey. The survey ranks agencies in creativity and in an effort to determine what drives and promotes innovation. The importance of improving government effectiveness and delivering high quality results may be determined by how feds approach their own individual jobs . The study revealed that 91.4% of federal workers are “constantly looking for ways to do their job better” yet only 39% said that creativity and innovation are rewarded within their agency.
The results: 5 most innovative agencies:
2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
3. General Services Administration
4. State Department
View the full evaluation with issue briefs, white papers and snapshots here.
Cloud computing is transforming the government IT paradigm by offering alternative concepts of data management, resource management and IT ownership. Cloud configurations are countless and offer expanded flexibility in that respect, but it’s the cost reduction, increased performance and elasticity that makes the cloud a viable solution as opposed to just a trend.
TechAmerica’s Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud released its report on public and private sector cloud utilization including a “buyer’s guide” for agencies. Their efforts advise agencies on standards, protocols and processes in a “how to” format.
View the complete Buyers guide.
Government data center networks are under tremendous pressure to be more efficient, agile and cost-effective. Government has tried to remedy the situation through consolidation efforts that still remain a high priority within IT initiatives. The real limitation with data centers is that they did not keep pace with the evolution of architectures, server virtualization and storage technologies. Today, cloud computing offers a cost-effective solution that improves scalability and agility, but some organizations are facing a dilemma–their data centers are not cloud-ready. What steps need to be taken to start your journey to the cloud?
Join Christofer Hoff, Juniper Networks’ Chief Security Architect as he discusses different cloud environments and the necessary steps to create a cloud-ready data center.
What you’ll learn:
- How to safely move to the cloud and realize the benefits of the various cloud environments
- The three steps to successfully build a cloud-ready data center network
- How to address the strategic security imperatives of the 21st century data center
- Industry perspectives and best practices
Agencies are uncovering the growing importance of mobile applications to connect with the public. While federal apps have gained tremendous momentum this year, the opportunity to address mobile citizens hasn’t been lost at the state level. Claire Bailey, director of the Department of Information Resources in Arkansas spoke at the FOSE conference in Washington last month as part of a panel on using mobile technology to engage the public. Bailey discussed a variety of popular applications Arkansas offers its residents. The YOUniversal app for example, allows students to apply for financial aid, while the Game and Fish Commission have created an app that provides information to hunters and anglers, and even lets them report what they catch or kill.
Government organizations offer an assortment of apps from automated reporting of potholes to first-alert earthquake systems via Twitter to meet growing public demand. Mobile technology is the way of the foreseeable future- utilizing this landscape to communicate with constituents is beneficial to state, local, and federal governments alike.
Social media offers a new opportunity for agencies to engage citizens. A report conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined 23 key agencies that use social media to reach their respective target audiences. Agencies (including the White House itself) solicit social media to help direct citizens to government websites, to create environments that promote communication, and to invite public feedback that, ultimately, serves to improve government services.
Developing policies within the social media environment presents new challenges for agencies. In the age of cyber-threats, agencies need proper management to ensure accurate record-keeping, privacy and security.
Only seven of the 23 agencies evaluated have identified and documented security risks and controls associated with social media use. Unprepared agencies face increased exposure to malware and malicious software. This vulnerability has sparked agencies to fill in the gaps in their social media policies. The Government Accountability Office has also contributed by making a series of agency specific recommendations that will help them reach their goals.
The White House will leverage social media networks and new intelligence and information sharing technologies to combat global crime as highlighted in The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime which launched June 25th to address converging national security threats.
The strategy is focused on integrating work from various intelligence collecting agencies and pooling that data to create more comprehensive intelligence pictures. Because crime investigations are conducted throughout various agencies including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense information coordination efforts will play a vital role in improving communication between agencies.
NSA (National Security Agency) will use social networks to track organized criminals through the federal Open Source Center, which will allow NSA to develop profiles of individuals, companies and institutions linked to transnational organized crime networks.
View the complete strategy here.
Cloud2 (Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud) was created to support and develop government agency cloud computing efforts. The industry group TechAmerica is responsible for the 71 person Cloud2 team of academics and industry executives that first assembled back in April.
This Tuesday the cloud commission released 14 recommendations on how government can better foster cloud deployment as well as a cloud buyer’s guide for agencies. The recommendations cover:
- Facilitating Trust and Security
- Managing Data Flows
- Transparency and Data Portability
- Changing Policies (from acquisition to training)
The 16-page buyers guide helps agencies comply with the cloud first policy through best practices and suggests that agencies should build detailed businesses cases for cloud investments. The guide includes planning strategies, like prioritizing and assessing which cloud attributes agencies want to utilize for each cloud platform.
Cloud2 efforts parallel current NIST initiatives to establish cloud standards, these helpful IT resources described as “living documents” will need to be fined-tuned as we move forward.
Unisys has successfully migrated all 17,000 GSA employees to Google Apps for Government making the General Services Administration the first agency with cloud-based e-mail. Based on the GSA deployment, Unisys is now offering its own version of the Google Apps for Government system called Collaborative Office Solutions for agencies interested in migrating in-house e-mail to the cloud. The entire migration process should result in a 50% cost savings over the next five years equaling $15.2 million dollars. The new cloud-based e-mail is expected to increase employee productivity by allowing them to work remotely and share access to new collaboration features like video-chat and shared documents.
Agencies must comply with the federal cloud-first mandate requiring three services to be moved to the cloud by mid 2012. As cloud adoption forges ahead some agency leaders have admitted security and performance concerns during the migration process, the result has been to migrate rarely-used websites first. But, in order to reap the promised short- and long-term value cloud computing has to offer agencies need to focus their efforts on creating a seamless migration process.
The key to a successful cloud migration?
1. Buy service, not just servers: Management services offer capacity planning, maintenance, security, help desk, disaster recovery, compliance and more.
2. Strengthen security by using federally certified and accredited cloud providers, products and services: FedRAMP and FISMA have been specifically designed to meet federal agency demands and offer greater security assurance.
3. Include people, process and agency-specific mission requirements in decision-making: Address all of the people and processes involved by incorporating place governance, best practices and change management processes.
4. Take advantage of government wide cloud programs: GSA is making cloud services available to agencies of every size through a Blanket Purchase Agreement that provides IaaS for cloud storage, virtual machines and cloud hosting.
Government agencies will continue their efforts to find a clear, reliable and secure path to the cloud.