StateTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Government en The Benefits and Challenges of Moving to the Cloud in the Public Sector <span>The Benefits and Challenges of Moving to the Cloud in the Public Sector</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/21/2018 - 13:33</span> <div><p>State and local government IT leaders say the cloud helps them collaborate and innovate more easily. However, <strong>cloud security and compliance concerns</strong> need to be a key area of focus for IT leaders and decision-makers, since such concerns can stall cloud migrations and inhibit agencies from fully achieving the benefits of shifting to the cloud. </p> <p>State and local governments use the cloud for all manner of IT tasks and to gain a wide range of efficiencies. <a href="" target="_blank">The Douglas Omaha Technology Commission</a>, the centralized IT department for Omaha, Neb., uses <a href="" target="_blank">Google Cloud</a> to enhance collaboration and <a href="">cut IT infrastructure costs</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">The California Department of Technology</a> offers cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service to <a href="">other state agencies</a>. And in Kansas, the state moved its cattle brand registration program to the cloud last year, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Government Technology</em> reports</a>, allowing the state to streamline and move online a process that was previously all done via mail.</p> <p>Cloud adoption is likely going to continue to grow at the state and local level. <a href="" target="_blank">Gartner expects</a> double-digit growth in government use of public cloud services, with spending forecast to<strong> grow 17.1 percent on average</strong> per year through 2021. Across all industries, companies spend an average of<strong> 20.4 percent</strong> of their IT budgets on the cloud, according to the research firm, compared with<strong> 20.6 percent </strong>for local governments.</p> <p>“The key to successfully implementing cloud in government is accounting for the unique technical, organizational, procedural and regulatory issues of individual organizations,” Neville Cannon, research director at Gartner, says in a blog post. “For example, national governments typically see cloud as a long-term pathway to strategic IT modernization, whereas local and regional governments tend to pursue the<strong> immediate tactical benefits of innovation and cost savings</strong>.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><b>VIDEO: </b><em>See how Arizona created a risk matrix to ensure cloud vendors offered the necessary protection for the state's data assets!</em></a></p> <h2>How the Public Sector Should Approach Cloud Security </h2> <p>Security is an area that state and local government IT leaders always need to keep top of mind, including when it comes to cloud deployments. An April 2017 <a href="" target="_blank">Symantec</a> white paper <a href="" target="_blank">on state and local government cloud security</a> notes that, when it comes to cloud security, agencies have long “focused on patching together a range of security products to oversee each part of the process,” resulting in “agencies picking individual purpose-built solutions that were not intended or developed to work with one another, which created a patchwork, and often incomplete, security infrastructure.” </p> <p>Symantec argues that the best approach to cloud security is to use “<strong>a unified, network-based platform with a flexible security architecture</strong> that can manage the ever-changing cloud environment — from the endpoint through the data transmission pipe to the cloud and back.” </p> <p>The white paper says agencies can use such a platform to “unify access governance, information security and threat protection across cloud platforms and on-premises security infrastructures — offering the same level of protection that agencies are used to in their own physical networks.”</p> <p>The white paper suggests that agencies first establish the policies that will govern their people and processes and ensure that employees have access to only the data they need. Next, agencies should implement network security solutions to complement endpoint security. </p> <p>“Agencies have the ability to <strong>identify where data is stored </strong>across cloud, mobile, network, endpoint and storage systems, <strong>classify that data, monitor how the data is being used, and protect the data</strong> from being leaked or stolen,” the white paper states. “This ensures that the routes of all valuable traffic are seen and monitored for anomalies.” </p> <p>Additionally, agencies should invest in data loss prevention tools to help “uncover data loss blind spots in both sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud applications.” Further, Symantec says that “integrating Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) can extend an information technology department’s reach to protect users and data as they interact with cloud applications and services, providing visibility and control directly over the use of an application.” </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>DOWNLOAD: </strong>Read CDW's Modern IT Infrastructure Insight Report to find out how your state can securely adopt cloud technologies! </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Top Public Sector Cloud Security and Compliance Concerns</h2> <p>Despite the numerous benefits of the cloud to state and local agencies, cloud security concerns remain strong.</p> <p>The top cloud security challenges, according to the 2018 Cloud Security Report from <a href="" target="_blank">Crowd Research Partners</a>, are protecting against data loss and leakage <strong>(67 percent),</strong> threats to data privacy <strong>(61 percent) </strong>and breaches of confidentiality <strong>(53 percent)</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">InfoSecurity Magazine notes</a>.</p> <p>The report, based on an online survey of cybersecurity professionals in the 400,000-member Information Security Community on LinkedIn, also revealed that only 16 percent think traditional security tools are sufficient to manage security across the cloud, down 6 percentage points from 2017.</p> <p>The survey found that there are other concerns, including visibility into <strong>cloud infrastructure security (43 percent), compliance (38 percent)</strong> and consistent security policies across cloud and on-premises environments (35 percent).</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Sebastian Taphanel</a>, principal consultant at Stratical Solutions, <a href="" target="_blank">writing in <em>GCN</em></a>, notes that “malicious cyber behavior and inadvertent nonmalicious mistakes are difficult to anticipate or change, so agencies have to treat security and compliance as a continuously critical priority.”</p> <p>Taphanel notes that public clouds “operate according to a <strong>shared responsibility model</strong> for security in which cloud service providers (CSPs) implement <em>security of the cloud</em>, while customers are responsible for <em>security in the cloud</em>.” That means agencies musts secure their data and transactions conducted through application programming interfaces and connectors and monitor the compute, storage, database and networking services of their CSP, he says.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">StateScoop notes</a> that CSPs “have made key investments to ensure government clouds are keeping — and in some cases exceeding — pace with government cybersecurity compliance standards,” including IRS 1075, Criminal Justice Information Services and others.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Azure</a> Government services handle data that is subject to certain <strong>government regulations and requirements</strong>, such as the <a href="" target="_blank">Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)</a>, NIST 800.171 (DIB), ITAR, IRS 1075, DOD L4, and CJIS, according to Microsoft. “In order to provide you with the highest level of security and compliance, Azure Government uses physically isolated datacenters and networks (located in U.S. only),” Microsoft says.</p> <p>Google Cloud is also <a href="" target="_blank">compliant with numerous regulations</a>, including NIST 800-171, CJS, FedRAMP.</p> <p>FedRAMP assesses security for and authorizes cloud programs used by federal agencies. If a state or local agency’s cloud vendor has received a FedRAMP authorization, they can be assured that it meets stringent security compliance regulations.</p> <p><img alt="fedramp-governance.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 20.8px;">An overview of the FedRAMP governance structure; CSPs must go through a rigorous security check to be authorized by FedRAMP. Source: FedRAMP</span></p> <p>“Azure Government has received a FedRAMP Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) and DoD Provisional Authorization (PA),” <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft notes</a>. “These authorizations reduce the scope of customer-responsibility security controls in Azure-based systems. Inheriting security control implementations from Azure Government allows customers to focus on control implementations specific to their IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS environments built in Azure.”</p> <p>Compliance helps ensure that agencies that put data into the cloud are <strong>meeting the appropriate standards for data protection</strong>, especially of residents’ personally identifiable information. However, Stuart Mckee, Microsoft’s state and local government CTO, tells StateScoop that compliance is just the first hurdle agencies and their cloud service partners must achieve.</p> <p>Cloud security compliance enables a stronger and more resilient approach to cybersecurity that protects state and local agencies from a wide range of cyberattacks, he says. “Unfortunately, reported attacks are just the tip of the iceberg,” McKee says. “There are a lot more cyberattacks that are not reported than reported.”</p> <h2 id="toc_1">Why State and Local Governments Adopt the Cloud</h2> <p>Agencies are shifting to the cloud to gain agility, lower costs and be able to innovate faster. “Digital transformation through cloud technology enables state and local government agencies to rapidly modernize their systems, taking advantage of infinite resources while ensuring the best use of time and budget,” Karina Homme, senior director of Microsoft Azure Government, <a href="" target="_blank">says in a Microsoft blog post</a>. “Agencies can achieve better citizen services while driving stronger governance, compliance, and accountability.”</p> <p>Cloud lets agencies build everything from simple mobile applications to internet-scale solutions, Homme says, which can then enable them to launch new initiatives, <strong>increase efficiency, provide faster decision-making, improve citizen services and optimize operations</strong>.</p> <p>State and local agencies often turn to the cloud to cut IT infrastructure costs by adopting elastic and on-demand, pay-per-use services managed by cloud service providers, Homme adds. The cloud’s on-demand flexibility, scalability and overall accessibility also empowers employees and drives efficiency.</p> <p>They also turn to CSPs for <strong>increased security, compliance and regulation to protect residents’ critical data and services</strong>. The cloud also enables agencies to adopt new methods for app development, IT management and data protection, Homme notes.</p> <p>According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ <a href="" target="_blank">2017 State CIO Survey</a>, <strong>email and collaboration services </strong>continue to be the most common services that state CIOs have migrated to the cloud, closely followed by office productivity and storage.</p> <p>However, the survey adds, security-related services are also growing in popularity, and project and portfolio management solutions are now more commonly being considered for migration in the cloud.</p> <p>The 2017 survey asked CIOs how the results of cloud migration efforts have compared to the benefits originally expected of them. In general, the reported actual benefits match closely to their initial expectations.</p> <p>For example, <strong>75 percent </strong>of those surveyed reported that the cloud lowered their asset investment threshold and<strong> improved their ability to innovate</strong>, compared to <strong>78 percent </strong>who expected to achieve that benefit. Additionally, <strong>38 percent </strong>said they had <strong>achieved cost savings</strong> compared to <strong>44 percent </strong>who expected to. And <strong>23 percent</strong> <strong>saw</strong> <strong>improved compliance and reporting</strong>, compared to <strong>28 percent</strong> who expected to.</p> <p>The one significant area of difference was in enhanced scalability through more flexible utilization and pay-per-use, the survey notes. While <strong>81 percent</strong> of CIOs expected this to be a benefit,<strong> only 65 percent</strong> reported actually achieving those benefits.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out how state and local governments are using private cloud services to help follow agencies! </em></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:33:19 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41411 at Q&A: Baltimore CIO Frank Johnson Lays Out a Digital Transformation Vision <span>Q&amp;A: Baltimore CIO Frank Johnson Lays Out a Digital Transformation Vision</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/20/2018 - 10:30</span> <div><p>After a successful career at <a href="" target="_blank">Intel</a>, Frank Johnson assumed new responsibilities <a href="" target="_blank">as CIO of Baltimore last year</a>. Mayor Catherine Pugh has <a href="">made digital transformation a top priority for her city</a>, and Johnson shares her commitment.</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with <em>StateTech</em>, Johnson discusses his goals, including modernizing Baltimore’s human resources and finance systems, upgrading public safety tech, <strong>innovating with smart city concepts </strong>and building a first-class organization capable of making everything happen.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM </strong></em><strong><em>STATETECH</em></strong><em><strong>: </strong>Read about Baltimore's strategic IT plan and how it hopes to modernize its technology! </em></a></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">STATETECH:</span> Your first year has been eventful, and you’re getting a lot done. What are your biggest priorities right now? </h2> <p><strong>JOHNSON: </strong>For the first time in the history of the city, <a href="" target="_blank">we wrote a strategic IT plan</a>. It’s an aspirational document and very visionary with a lot more detail to follow, but it is absolutely a starting point. When you read through that strategic plan, it screams, <strong>“We need a lot of everything, starting with people and investment.”</strong> The plan embraces more cloud, more cyber, more enterprise resource planning, more data, more smart city and more partnerships. My personal passion is organizational development in people, and you can’t digitally transform anything without a 21st- century organization.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">STATETECH:</span> The mayor herself has called your IT systems outdated. Where do you start to update them? </h2> <p><strong>JOHNSON: </strong>We’re fixing the fundamental foundation, <strong>the data networking and making certain critical systems more resilient</strong>. In other words, making them more fully tolerant. That’s stuff you don’t see, but it helps make the city operate efficiently.</p> <p>We’re <strong>moving to the cloud</strong> with a handful of partners as quickly as we can. We are seeking a more elastic capability so that we can ingest more data. When we do more city projects, we are going to have more data to consume.</p> <p>Also, the HR and finance systems here in the city are woefully outdated, and big chunks of them are still on a mainframe. Running <strong>a modern cloud-based Software as a Service offering for HR and finance</strong> is absolutely part of the plan, and that project is moving forward. We’re also planning to improve and update all of the current public safety tech systems. </p> <p>Last but not least, we’re planning to be <strong>a smart city</strong>. How do we do it? With whom? What are the investment models? What are the partnerships? We’re working through that with the city’s first-ever <strong>Smart City Council</strong>. It’s made up of partners around the community and civic leaders to talk about the challenges. We have a few projects in flight, but how do we scale them and make them bigger as we modernize?</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">STATETECH:</span> What specifically might be priorities for the smart city initiatives in Baltimore? </h2> <p><strong>JOHNSON: </strong>Desire and demand are high. We’re working on <a href="" target="_blank">a smart city project in West Baltimore with the University of Maryland</a>. The university asked the community what “smart city” meant to them. That’s key to the process of deciding what we’re going to do first and when. The results of the survey came back, and there was an overwhelming No. 1 answer from people in the community in West Baltimore when they were asked what smart city means to them: <strong>access to broadband!</strong></p> <p>We’re thinking smart cars, smart lighting, smart traffic, smart garbage cans, and the citizens listed their first priority in smart city as better broadband access or access for the first time ever. <strong>That’s why our broadband fiber strategy and plan is so important. </strong>We know that it’s going to be a very key enabler, not only in smart city but in citizen engagement — all of those things that you absolutely have to do to close the digital divide.</p> <p><img alt="Q0418-ST_Interview_Baltimore-quote.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">STATETECH:</span> You came from the private sector after spending your career in the Baltimore area. Were you able to hit the ground running because of your background with Intel and your familiarity with the region? </h2> <p><strong>JOHNSON: </strong>I ran enterprise sales for Intel for many years, and my job was to interface with multiple industries — government, retail, manufacturing, energy, financial services and others. In every industry, everybody would admire the fact that they were unique or different and spoke a different language than people in another industry.</p> <p>Throughout my career, I toured many data centers, and I talked to many leaders and crossed many industries, and I saw more similarities across industries than I saw differences. When I left corporate life to work in Baltimore City, I came with the preconceived notion that it’s different. But people are people. Baltimore City is just like Bank of America, it’s just like Jeep and it’s just like Procter &amp; Gamble. <strong>It’s trying to solve very similar problems using very similar market capabilities. </strong></p> <p>Anything is possible in life with leadership and investment. I am here primarily because of the vision of the current mayor of Baltimore, a tireless, relentless, passionate, committed leader who offered me the opportunity to come to work with her to help digitally transform an entire community. Again, <strong>we’re not here just to fix the IT in city government, but to digitally transform this entire community</strong> — a community right in my own backyard where I’ve lived for the last 35 years.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>DOWNLOAD: </strong>Find out how your city can achieve digital transformation in CDW's Modern IT Infrastructure Insight Report! </em></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/11391"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Mickey McCarter" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/taxonomy/term/11391"> <div>Mickey McCarter</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Mickey McCarter is the senior editor of StateTech Magazine.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:30:56 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41401 at State Elections Agencies Focus on Voting Security Ahead of Midterms <span>State Elections Agencies Focus on Voting Security Ahead of Midterms</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/19/2018 - 09:17</span> <div><p>During the last election, Russian cyberattackers looking for vulnerabilities <a href="" target="_blank">scanned 21 state election systems</a>, including those in Illinois, over the 2016 campaigns. While the Department of Homeland Security says the scanning activity did not necessarily breach systems, some individual states have reported compromised data.</p> <p>This year, for instance, the <a href="" target="_blank">Illinois State Board of Elections</a> reported <a href="" target="_blank">a 2016 breach of its voter registration system</a>, detailing a SQL injection attack of unknown origin that exposed records in the state’s voter registration database. </p> <p>Since the attack, the Illinois board has worked with state IT experts as well as DHS cybersecurity professionals to<strong> keep the database of 18 million records and the servers on which it resides </strong><strong>safe</strong> from attackers, says Matt Emmons, the agency’s IT director. And there are plenty of hackers out there.</p> <p>Securing voting systems is<strong> a major challenge</strong> because state election agencies often act as clearinghouses. A state’s voting jurisdictions may purchase and maintain their own equipment and hire their own employees. Still, states have responsibilities to educate every jurisdiction and to protect voter registration and the overall electoral process.</p> <p>This is especially important since most states maintain aging election equipment, including voting machines. States have <strong>increased their investments in cybersecurity measures</strong> for their election IT systems, including purchases of multifactor authentication, perimeter sensors, email filtering and monitoring, threat scanning, information sharing systems and more.</p> <p>“The most sophisticated threats we are facing are <strong>coming from outside the country</strong>,” Emmons explains. “We consider the threat of nation-state actors and their near limitless resources the most threatening issue today. Most federal law enforcement agencies believe the foreign meddling with our election systems is going to continue.” </p> <p><a href=""><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out what county officials can do to secure the 2018 elections! </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Colorado Focuses on Endpoint Election Security </h2> <p>Colorado is mitigating the risk of attacks by nation-states and other actors with <strong>stringent IT requirements and policies</strong>, says Trevor Timmons, <a href="" target="_blank">Colorado Department of State</a> CIO. “We require that counties have endpoint protection software and <strong>not just anti-virus, but advanced malware prevention softwar</strong>e for any machine that accesses the voter database,” he says. To make it easier, <a href="" target="_blank">Sophos</a> software is made available to Colorado counties at no cost. On the database side, <strong>data is encrypted</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="Q0418-ST-F_Bannan-elpunto.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>Colorado also is taking a page from multinational companies and looking at social media and dark-web monitoring to find threats before they become a problem. Although it’s just getting started with the process, the state already has had some success with threat hunting.</p> <p>Back in 2016, a security researcher boasted on Twitter about breaching one of Colorado’s ballot tracking systems designed to text or email constituents when their ballots were received. “He posted a photo purportedly of SQL tables behind the ballot tracking system. He said, ‘Hey, look I hacked this election system. Too bad they’re not really paying attention to security.’” The state reached out to the FBI, <strong>which discovered that there was no breach</strong>. “These are the types of real-world things that pop up and can impact voter confidence if they are left unchallenged and gain traction in the marketplace of ideas,” Timmons says. </p> <h2 id="toc_1">Utah Partners with the FBI, MS-ISAC to Combat Threats </h2> <p>In Utah, where state IT resources are scanned <strong>between 200 million and 300 million times daily</strong>, various election offices have also doubled down on technology. Election offices have the benefit of <a href="" target="_blank">Palo Alto Networks</a> intrusion detection and firewalls as well as <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco</a> firewalls. “We also use Splunk for log aggregation, and that’s good for seeing anomalies and behaviors,” explains Utah CISO Phil Bates.</p> <p>Most important, says Bates: The agency is constantly <strong>changing its security strategy</strong>. “We’re updating tools, changing the layers that we have and modifying things every day.”</p> <p>The state launched its current IT strategy in 2012 when it <a href="" target="_blank">created a cyber task force</a>, partnering with its fusion center and bringing in experts from its state bureau of investigation and the FBI office in Salt Lake City. This year, the state upped the ante, bringing everyone together under one roof instead of trying to coordinate from different locations. The 26-person team still focuses on specialties — the fusion center is <strong>primarily responsible for intelligence gathering, for instance</strong> — and no one on the team is shy about tapping experts from other states, either.</p> <p><img alt="Q0418-ST-F_Bannan-quote.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>“We partner with <a href="" target="_blank">the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center</a>, and they are a really good source for us,” says Bates. “If we see traffic in Utah that looks ugly, we send them to MS-ISAC and they can share with the other states, and vice versa. If another state sees something they know, they send it up to MS-ISAC. That way, <strong>we can change our posture when we know something’s out there</strong>.” </p> <p><a href=""><strong><em>DOWNLOAD: </em></strong><em>Read this white paper to find out how to manage cybersecurity risks! </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">Election Officials Must Bolster Security and Public Trust </h2> <p>With all the news about attacks on U.S. elections, regaining trust before voters go to the polls next is crucial for state boards of elections, says Edgardo Cortés, election security adviser at <a href="" target="_blank">New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice</a>. “The 2016 elections were definitely <strong>a wake-up call that told states there were bad actors out there</strong>, and equipment and technology needs to be secured.”</p> <p>It’s important to tell citizens that election administrators have performed security audits, identified potential vulnerabilities and educated stakeholders about those risks, Cortés says. </p> <p>“Internally, we are taking cybersecurity training to anyone who is interested around the state, rolling out a cybernavigator program,” Emmons from Illinois says. “We do phishing awareness training and other work to defend against breaches and cyberattacks.” </p> <p><img alt="Q0418-ST-F_Bannan-elpunto-II.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>States also should have <strong>contingency plans in place for websites, databases and other voting technology</strong> — because election agencies don’t get a second chance if something goes wrong on Election Day, Cortés says.</p> <p>“Do your risk-limiting audits. Secure your systems. Make sure you have enough provisional ballots. Limit wireless capabilities of things like electronic poll books,” Cortés says. “Make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle election night capacity. Anticipate anything that could go wrong, because everything has to go off without a hitch.”</p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>Why Aging Voting Equipment Is at Risk</h3> <p>The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law published an update to its assessment, “<a href="" target="_blank">America’s Voting Machines at Risk,</a>” in March, warning that U.S. states have “made remarkably little progress in replacing vulnerable voting machines ­­— and has done even less to ensure that we can recover from a successful cyberattack against them.”</p> <p>Authors Lawrence Norden and Wilfred U. Codrington III identified four specific areas where the country has been slow to act:</p> <p>1. This year, most states will use <strong>computerized voting machines that are at least 10 years old</strong>, and which election officials say must be replaced before 2020.</p> <p>2. Since 2016, <strong>only Virginia</strong> has replaced its paperless electronic voting machines statewide.</p> <p>3. <strong>Only Colorado, New Mexico </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> Rhode Island </strong>mandate postelection audits to provide a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally.</p> <p>4. <strong>Forty-three states</strong> are using machines that are no longer manufactured.</p> </div> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/karen-j-bannan"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/karen-j-bannan"> <div>Karen J. Bannan</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Karen J. Bannan is a freelance writer and editor who has written for a variety of publications including <em>The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time</em> and <em>CIO.</em></p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:17:45 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41396 at How AI Is Helping Flint, Mich., Recover from Its Lead-in-Water Crisis <span>How AI Is Helping Flint, Mich., Recover from Its Lead-in-Water Crisis</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:29</span> <div><p>Flint, Mich., has been battling for years to recover from having its municipal water supply tainted by lead, and technology tools are helping in the effort. </p> <p>In 2016, <a href="" target="_blank">Google</a> partnered <a href="" target="_blank">with the University of Michigan</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">funded digital projects</a> aimed at helping the city recover from the water crisis. The tool they developed, which relies on <strong>artificial intelligence technology</strong>, has helped predict which of the city’s 55,000 homes are most likely to have lead pipes, with <strong>a 97 percent success rate</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">according to an article in New Scientist</a>. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Smart Cities Dive</a>, the algorithm has saved an estimated <strong>$10 million</strong> by avoiding unnecessary searches of houses — enough to protect <strong>an additional 2,000 properties</strong>.</p> <p>“Knowing which homes to inspect can reduce the costs of replacing their pipes with safer ones and more efficiently get the lead out of Flint,” Eric Schwartz, a University of Michigan assistant professor of marketing at the Ross School of Business and a co-director of the study, said in <a href="" target="_blank">an article from the university’s news service</a>. “The approach could serve as a model for other cities to follow.”</p> <p><a href=""><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH:</strong> Find out how Maryland used an AI-Backed traffic Signal upgrade to ease traffic flows!</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Tech Helps Flint Tackle a Sprawling Crisis</h2> <p>The AI tool has helped reveal the depth of the crisis. According to the University of Michigan article, the study <strong>estimates that “three out of four houses in Flint have lead in their service lines</strong>, which are the pipes connecting each home to the city water system.”</p> <p>As New Scientist reports, the Flint water crisis started in 2014 when city officials began sourcing water from the Flint River instead of the Detroit water system. The new water source was not treated properly and corroded lead pipes throughout the city, causing the heavy metal to seep into drinking water and leading to numerous health issues for residents. </p> <p>The research team, which included Jacob Abernethy, formerly of the University of Michigan and now an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, digitized and analyzed old city plans and about <strong>140,000 handwritten building records</strong>. Using that information, the algorithm calculates <strong>71 pieces of information</strong> for every property in Flint, including the age, value and site of the home.</p> <p>Schwartz and his colleagues worked with <a href="" target="_blank">Captricity</a>, a data technology company, to digitize Flint’s water department’s 100,000 historical public work records, which were mostly written on index cards, some dating back to 1910, the University of Michigan news service reports.</p> <p>Captricity <strong>donated the use of its AI software for handwriting recognition</strong>, transforming the scanned cards into usable data. The researchers then gave that data to the city’s team managing the pipe-replacement project, called the Flint Action and Sustainability Team. </p> <p>The city’s FAST Start Team, which has now received over<strong> $100 million</strong> from the federal and state governments, is working to remove lead pipes, but as much as 75 percent of the city’s homes are still exposed, the news services adds.</p> <p>Before the technology was deployed, homes were selected for pipe replacement based on educated guesses, with <strong>20 percent </strong>of pipes that were dug up turning out not to be lead, Smart Cities Dive reports. Different standards were used for decades, and most pipes designated as lead-free actually had up to 8 percent lead in them until 2014, according to the publication </p> <p>Michael McDaniel, who initially led Flint’s pipe replacement effort, told New Scientist “we had no good way of doing it,” referring to predicting which houses had lead pipes. </p> <p>The AI solutions helps <strong>save money and deliver safe drinking water to residents in a shorter amount of time</strong>. Michigan’s state government has deemed the city’s water safe to drink, but doubts among residents still remain about whether a home has lead pipes buried underground, the university’s news services notes. “The risk still varies from house to house,” Schwartz said. </p> <p>As Smart Cities Dive points out, the problems with drinking water are not just limited to Flint. <a href="" target="_blank">A 2016<em> USA Today </em>investigation</a> found excessive lead levels in <strong>2,000 </strong>water systems across every state in the country, covering <strong>6 million</strong> people in total. Meanwhile, <a href="" target="_blank">a 2018 study</a> by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, also found water systems serving a collective <strong>77 million </strong>people had Safe Drinking Water Act violations.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:29:43 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41386 at LA Looks to Team with AT&T on Smart City Tech <span>LA Looks to Team with AT&amp;T on Smart City Tech </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/18/2018 - 09:47</span> <div><p>The City of Los Angeles is in talks with AT&amp;T to create a public-private partnership to launch <strong>smart city technology</strong> in the City of Angels, the company and the city said last week. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">In a statement</a>, they said the city will look to deploy Internet of Things technology and small cell wireless technology. The statement is vague about what the technologies will be used for. However, LA and AT&amp;T say that they will look to make enhancements to <strong>traffic congestion, natural disaster preparedness </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> public safety</strong> services. Small cells can help bring increased wireless network capacity to first responders.</p> <p>AT&amp;T and LA say they are exploring the deployment of a variety of smart cities solutions, ranging from <strong>digital kiosks to sensors to monitor structures and digital infrastructure</strong>. “The deployment of these technologies will benefit all neighborhoods in Los Angeles, helping to provide better connectivity to neighborhoods that have been traditionally left behind in the digital divide,” the statement says. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As Smart Cities Dive reports</a>, public-private partnerships are widely favored in cities. According to <a href="" target="_blank">a survey released early this year</a> from Black &amp; Veatch, more than <strong>60 percent </strong>of respondents from cities and municipal organizations thought that such partnerships were an effective financing tool for smart city deployments, making it the most favored option.</p> <p>“Working with private companies can help cities defray the high up-front cost, while the governments offer a willing customer for companies on nascent technology,” Smart Cities Dive notes. </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 13:47:56 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41381 at State CISOs Face Workforce Challenges as They Combat Cybersecurity Threats <span>State CISOs Face Workforce Challenges as They Combat Cybersecurity Threats</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:17</span> <div><p><a href="">Indiana</a> and <a href="">Georgia</a> are among the states pouring more resources into cybersecurity centers, and IT security is top of mind amid <a href="">ransomware attacks</a> and <a href="">threats to elections</a>. Yet state CISOs face real challenges in meeting the demands of the job, even as their portfolios have expanded. </p> <p>State CISOs often face a shortage of in-house cybersecurity talent, leading some to <strong>contemplate outsourcing critical security functions to third parties</strong>. They also face budgetary constraints and are tasked with doing more with less. </p> <p>These and other aspects of how the state CISO role has evolved were the subject of a recent webinar hosted by <a href="" target="_blank">the National Association of State Chief Information Officers</a>. During the webinar, Pennsylvania CISO Erik Avakian and Missouri CISO Michael Roling discussed how the job has changed and the challenges they face. </p> <p>NASCIO’s 2018 biennial report found <strong>30 percent</strong> of CISOs are giving cybersecurity reports to governors on a monthly basis, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>GCN</em> reports</a>. Roling said he has seen state leaders take an <strong>increased interest in cybersecurity issues</strong>. When he started as CISO, he reported to the governor irregularly, but that is changing now, thanks to a formalized IT security strategy. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>VIDEO: </strong>Find out how </em></a><em><a href="" target="_blank">state</a></em><a href=""><em> IT security leaders address staffing gaps! </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">State CISOs Face Budgetary and Staffing Constraints</h2> <p>When Roling started in 2010, his office had five staffers, but he now has 21 full-time employees, and the office has “experienced some growing pains” along the way, he said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to StateScoop</a>. The fact that Roling’s office in the Missouri capital is two hours from St. Louis and three from Kansas City has made it tough to recruit a talented workforce. </p> <p>“Like many state capitals, we are not near a whole lot of talent in Jefferson City,” he said. “In other states, where the capitals are in big cities like Austin, how do you even compete with that? <strong>We’ve done our best to hire within</strong>.”</p> <p>Roling still relies on direct hires for much of his office’s work, but he said he may need to start using contractors to help with the office’s ever-expanding responsibilities. </p> <p>Meanwhile, in the Keystone State, Avakian said his office, which has about 30 employees, may also need to look to outsourcing some duties in the future. For now, Avakian’s office is helping the state go through <strong>an IT centralization effort and a shift to a shared services model</strong>, a project that will likely continue until at least July 2019. </p> <p>“The centralization is going to have a positive impact,” he said, StateScoop reports. “More resources are needed, but we need to make better use of the resources we have.”</p> <p>Roling said he tries to make the case to state lawmakers who control his budget that <strong>cybersecurity is worth investing in</strong>. “We have a lot of small business owners in our legislature, and they’re not going to cough up additional funding for anything unless they see what it’ll go to,” he said. </p> <p>Notably, Roling’s office has also set up a website for the governor’s office, allowing staffers to see the return on investment of cybersecurity expenditures. </p> <p><strong>Half </strong>of statewide enterprise security offices have <strong>only six to 15 full-time workers</strong>, according to a report by Deloitte, which has produced biennial surveys of states’ cybersecurity postures for NASCIO since 2010. States are investing more in cybersecurity but are still far behind larger enterprises in the private sector in terms of staff, Deloitte Principal Srini Subramanian said during the webinar, according to StateScoop. </p> <p>Smaller CISO offices may find outsourcing some cybersecurity functions appealing. “What are the things worth outsourcing?” Avakian said.</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the 2016 edition of NASCIO’s cybersecurity survey</a>, <strong>54 percent</strong> of states contract out risk assessments,<strong> 35 percent </strong>outsource threat monitoring, and<strong> 27 percent </strong>go outside for vulnerability management — all of which were increases from the 2014 report (the 2018 report is expected to be released in October). </p> <p>“It’s just this progression from the operational to the strategic,” Avakian said. “This position has really morphed to the point where the CISO is speaking the language of the business. They can demonstrate the value of cybersecurity, and that’s a much different role from where we were in 2010.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 14:17:50 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41376 at Review: Dell OptiPlex 7460 Delivers Power and Simplicity for the Public Sector <span>Review: Dell OptiPlex 7460 Delivers Power and Simplicity for the Public Sector</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/14/2018 - 09:28</span> <div><p>About 20 years ago, <a href="" target="_blank">Dell</a> split up its product lines and designed the <a href=";pCurrent=1&amp;key=Optiplex+&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;b=DLE&amp;ln=1&amp;enkwrd=OptiPlex" target="_blank">OptiPlex</a> systems to be reliable government workhorses. As such, the company only occasionally updates the OptiPlex line, allowing agencies to <strong>standardize and secure reliable systems builds </strong>that can last for years without conflict.</p> <p>Creating an all-in-one OptiPlex format is a big deal. The move combines the computer and all of its components with the display to create a single purchase opportunity and an economy of scale. And because this is part of the OptiPlex line, <strong>government buyers can expect each element to fit together perfectly</strong> — not just physically, but in terms of software and component integration. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Dell OptiPlex 7460</a> is a faultless example of an all-in-one done right. Setup consisted of three steps: removing the unit from the box, attaching a power cable and logging in to the Wi-Fi network. Agencies that have specific builds they want to push can use the free Dell Client Command Suite to manage entire system fleets.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Modern-Workforce_the-office.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">OptiPlex 7460 Supports Speedy Wi-Fi </h2> <p>Each OptiPlex 7460 takes advantage of high-speed wireless connectivity with <strong>802.11ac Wave-2 technology</strong> to establish a quick connection with no Category-5 cables needed, though there is a Gigabit Ethernet port. Even the keyboard and mouse are wireless, making the 7460 easy to use on any desk or workspace.</p> <p>The monitor, a full HD LED with a native resolution of 1920x1080 looks beautiful, with <strong>graphics going all the way to the edge and almost no bezel</strong>. This is coupled with high-definition audio and a stereo sound bar that runs across the bottom of the screen. It would be a fine system to use for training programs.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">Agencies Get Both Performance and Durability </h2> <p>Dell has done everything it can to keep the 7460 relevant for as long as possible. It has <strong>a blazing-fast Core i7 3.2GHz processor and 8GB of high-speed RAM</strong>. Even the physical casing is mil-spec tested for ruggedness, so an occasional bump or accident probably won’t harm it. And it has an advanced cooling system, plus plenty of open vents at the top of the display, which keeps components cool even when pushed by an extended simulation.</p> <p>Like all OptiPlex systems, the 7460 is built to last. It should serve state and local governments faithfully today and for many years to come.</p> <p><img alt="Q0418-ST-PR_Breeden-specs.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <h2 id="toc_2">Dell Client Command Suite Puts Admins in Control </h2> <p>Setting up a single Dell OptiPlex 7460 takes about five minutes, but state and local governments may need to deploy<strong> hundreds or even thousands</strong> of them at the same time, with <strong>specific programs and security levels</strong>. The new Dell Client Command Suite should help. It’s a surprisingly powerful set of free tools that Dell provides with all of its commercial systems.</p> <p>Once the 7460 was physically set up and logged in to the network, I could <strong>easily control all aspects</strong> of it through the <a href="" target="_blank">Dell Command Suite</a>. Policies that I set could be pushed out to individual systems, to specific groups or to the entire fleet of Dell systems.</p> <p>That allowed me to <strong>configure important security aspects</strong>, such as the BIOS passwords for each unit as well as things like the boot order of both internal and external components. It also let me configure advanced security functions, such as how the TPM performed when encountering various alerts.</p> <h2 id="toc_3">Achieve Rapid Deployment Across an Agency</h2> <p>Beyond just the initial setup, the Dell Client Command Suite features a dynamic PowerShell feature that lets administrators <strong>dive into any system whenever needed for later troubleshooting</strong>. And because it fully integrates with <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft System Center</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">LANDesk</a>, I could remotely inventory every system in the network, including exactly what programs and software were running on each one and what was allowed to run on each one.</p> <p>I even used the new suite to <strong>create a golden image of programs and apps</strong> that I wanted to have on every desktop in my organization, pushed them out, and made sure that they stayed in place. Patching the operating system and any other programs was likewise extremely easy.</p> <p>The 7460 is easy to physically configure, and the addition of the Dell Client Command Suite makes software and security management easy, as well. It’s a fine addition to an already powerful yet simple government machine.</p> <h3 id="toc_0">Dell OptiPlex 7460</h3> <p><strong>Processor</strong>: Intel Core i7 3.2GHz<br /><strong>Hard Drive</strong>: 500GB SATA 7200 rpm<br /><strong>Graphics</strong>: Intel HD Graphics 630<br /><strong>Memory</strong>: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM<br /><strong>Dimensions</strong>: 21.3x13.5x2.5 inches<br /><strong>Weight</strong>: 13.32 pounds</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/john-breeden-ii"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/john-breeden-ii"> <div>John Breeden II</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=LabGuys&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>John Breeden II is an award-winning reviewer and public speaker with 20 years of experience covering technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:28:33 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41371 at St. Louis Aims to Deploy Wi-Fi-Enabled Smart Kiosks by January 2019 <span>St. Louis Aims to Deploy Wi-Fi-Enabled Smart Kiosks by January 2019 </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/13/2018 - 12:25</span> <div><p>If you come to the Gateway to the West sometime early next year or beyond, in addition to the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Zoo and other attractions, you will also likely encounter <strong>giant smartphones on the street</strong>. </p> <p>St. Louis wants to deploy a group of touchscreen digital kiosks <strong>equipped with Wi-Fi that would offer directions to local businesses and attractions</strong>, public transit maps and emergency alert functions.</p> <p>Late last month, the St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm, <a href=";pageid=692637" target="_blank">issued a request for proposals</a> (with a deadline of Sept. 28), and intends to pick a winner in early October. The initiative is being led by St. Louis’s new — and first — CTO, Robert Gaskill-Clemons, who Mayor Lyda Krewson brought on in March from the state of Washington. </p> <p>St. Louis plans to have a pilot deployment and to test kiosks in three locations, then have most of the <strong>first 20 kiosks</strong> online in January, according to the RFP. After that, the city aims to deploy <strong>an additional 30 kiosks</strong>, then more in the future “based on requests from the community development organizations.”</p> <p>The rollout would be akin in some ways to the <a href="" target="_blank">Link NYC project</a> in <a href="">New York City</a>. Additionally, <a href="">Philadelphia has also proposed</a> rolling out kiosks to deliver free public Wi-Fi. </p> <p>“We are always looking for ways to better serve the public,” <a href="" target="_blank">Krewson said in </a><a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. “These kiosks are part of our Smart Cities Initiative, which focuses on using technology to more efficiently deliver services, enhance public safety, and expand internet access.”</p> <p>“It’s one heck of an opportunity to start putting <strong>smart-city technology</strong> in front of the citizens of St. Louis,” Gaskill-Clemons said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>St Louis Post-Dispatch</em></a>.</p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>READ </strong>how creative city leaders are using existing infrastructure to deploy Wi-Fi</a>.</em></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Smart Kiosks Will Come with a Bevy of Technology</h2> <p>According to the RFP, the kiosks must display up to date information on local businesses, attractions, events, points of interest and public and private transportation options; be able to deliver directions; have panic functions integrated with the current 911 system and E-911 once available; and support emergency alert notifications.</p> <p>They must also be <strong>capable of capturing video surveillance footage at 1080p resolution </strong>with 24 hours of onboard video storage per camera and be upgradable to 4K with 24 hours of onboard video storage per camera. All kiosks must be compatible with the Genetec video management system, or compatible with any VMS and other systems via web service and/or application programming interfaces. They must also support air quality monitoring, pedestrian counting and microclimate monitoring.</p> <p>As for connectivity, the kiosks must support a mobile modem that can run on <strong>a 4G LTE Advanced wireless network </strong>with a SIM-based auto-carrier, be upgradable to a<strong> 5G wireless network when available</strong>, and support a single mode fiber-optic network connection.</p> <p>The kiosks must also support accessibility features to ensure all users have full access to their capabilities.</p> <p>St. Louis also <strong>does not want to be stuck with malfunctioning kiosks</strong>. The RFP states that the city, via the Board of Public Service, reserves the right to demand the kiosk provider remove, within 48 hours following a written request, “kiosks that fail to perform as per performance requirements or if the provider fails to operate and maintain kiosk as agreed.”</p> <p>Neighborhood organizations such as Downtown STL and those near Tower Grove Park have expressed “huge desire” for the kiosks, Gaskill-Clemons told the <em>Post-Dispatch</em>. </p> <p>Gaskill-Clemons <a href="" target="_blank">told local radio station KMOX</a> that the kiosks will not be placed in neighborhoods that do not want them. “The model that we’re going after is that community organizations, community development organizations, can request these things, for instance downtown St. Louis can request them, Tower Grove, CDC can request them,” he said.</p> <p>Krewson says the kiosks <strong>will not cost St. Louis taxpayers any money,</strong> and the RFP makes clear that they “shall not be considered a commercial venture or a type of electronic billboard,” and that the kiosk provider “cannot charge users for access to any of the features, functions, or capabilities provided by the kiosks.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:25:36 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41366 at How Digitalization Creates More ‘Citizen-Centric’ Cities <span>How Digitalization Creates More ‘Citizen-Centric’ Cities</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/12/2018 - 09:46</span> <div><p><a href="" target="_blank">Digital transformation</a> is more than a technology play — it is the key to survival in all industries, including the public sector. But to truly reap the benefits of a successful transformation, the process needs to be strategic and purposefully built around industry-specific goals and challenges. </p> <p>Before diving in, local government leaders should first analyze <strong>where they now fall in the digital transformation </strong><strong>process</strong>, and ensure that any next steps will continue the journey toward a resident-centric city. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">A panel discussion at the recent SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference</a> focused on how pockets of innovation are found across some public sector services. However, the real challenge is updating all sectors throughout an entire enterprise — in this case, a city — to create a mechanism for these advancements to drive value back to core functions. </p> <p>When cities can <a href="">offer innovative businesses and organizations for their residents</a>, they can help reach their goal of effectively and proactively engaging residents and providing them with the best services. </p> <p>Reaching this goal may be easier said than done. </p> <p>The public sector faces a challenge as the world’s population continues to urbanize. To rise to the challenge of increased development and habitation,<strong> </strong>city governments can adopt new technologies to<strong> drive sustainable development, attract new businesses, educate the population and provide for residents</strong>, even if the government might have limited resources itself. </p> <p>These solutions and services help put the resident first, which is the ultimate mission for the public sector. Cities have faced limitations in the past on the journey to becoming citizen-centric, but they can overcome these challenges, and there are a few cities leading the way through innovation.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">What Is Holding Cities Back on Digital Transformation?</h2> <p>Digital transformation has been slow in cities because of shrinking government budgets, limited skills due to retirement of civil servants and a siloed approach to tackling problems at a departmental level. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to IDC</a>, over 50 percent of cities in both Europe and the United States are only in the early stages of adopting technologies for the future roadmaps of their cities. Many cities are pressured to do new things with smaller budgets, and the challenge for many cities is that they become too focused on trying to fix and improve older aspects of the urban environment rather than<strong> adopting new technology that can have a stronger impact for the future</strong>.</p> <p>Cities cannot accomplish a digital transformation alone. Cities can and should work with local businesses, such as utilities and transportation providers, to create a holistic, digitalized experience for residents across multiple touchpoints and industries. Even within government structures, leadership can take advantage of connecting an entire city with technology, expanding across departments such as finance, workforce management and capital asset planning to <strong>take advantage of data and insights rather than working in silos</strong>.</p> <p><em><a href="">Discover the 3 organizing principles of digital transformation in government!</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Cities Can Pull Ahead with New Technologies and Partners</h2> <p>There are several technologies that cities can consider adopting to enable a citizen-centric atmosphere. Cloud services are proving to be a low-cost alternative to replacing high-cost and high-maintenance legacy technology systems. Low-cost sensors combined with wireless communication can monitor a variety of factors that impact the public sector, from air quality and water pipes to traffic flow and available parking. </p> <p>For example, <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> has hosted Citi Bike since 2013. These bikes are Internet of Things machines, collecting data from cyclists in the city over the past five years. The data from bikes can show when people ride, which stations are used the most, top destinations and most popular times to ride. </p> <p>Ultimately, this data <strong>creates profiles of riders and provides their travel preferences</strong>. New York City made a commitment to learning from resident preferences to create a more personalized travel experience through cost, convenience and marketing, with a goal to target the right customers.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Internationally, Buenos Aires</a> has adopted a cloud-based platform that allows residents to upload pictures of potholes and other travel problems directly from their mobile phones. Through <strong>cloud-enabled sensors installed in infrastructure</strong>, the city can provide real-time feedback to residents and make it possible to fix reported issues in under four days. </p> <h2 id="toc_2">Make Residents a Priority by Increasing Digitalization</h2> <p>City residents are searching for updates in technological innovation in cities, and are settling in cities that create personalized experiences and put their needs first. Smart technologies give cities a competitive edge in increasing overall resident happiness, but for successful digital transformation to take place, governments need to understand where they stand on their digital innovation journey and where they can advance to benefit residents. </p> <p>Cities are responding to the influx of new technologies at their own pace. However, those cities who have invested in technology have been able to provide residents with upgrades, such as <strong>personalized transportation services, accurate marketing initiatives, on-demand access to improved infrastructure</strong> and more. </p> <p>These improvements to daily life are possible through harnessing data from technology to create a more connected and personalized relationship between a city and its residents</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/11471"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/taxonomy/term/11471"> <div>Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz is a senior vice president and global general manager of public services at SAP. With cross-industry expertise and a strong focus on industry trends, she continues to expand applications, platform and network portfolio for the success of public services customers.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:46:33 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41361 at How Can State Auditors Achieve Digital Transformation? <span>How Can State Auditors Achieve Digital Transformation? </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/11/2018 - 10:18</span> <div><p>State auditors and treasurers do not usually make the kind of splashy announcements that governors do. However, they are the officials whose management of state finances enables governments to invest in new technologies. And they want to use those innovative digital tools themselves <strong>but seem to be facing hurdles to doing so</strong>. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to a 2018 survey on digital government transformation</a> by Deloitte and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, NASACT members are investing more in <a href="">digital transformation</a>, <strong>yet only 35 percent of respondents are satisfied with their organizations’ responses to digital trends</strong>. That figure is down from 64 percent in a 2015 survey NASACT conducted. This year’s survey includes feedback from more than 70 NASACT member offices, according to the organization. </p> <p>“The survey reveals an eagerness for state financial professionals to use digital technologies on par with the private sector,” R. Kinney Poynter, executive director of NASACT, said in a press release. “Our members want to take advantage of emerging technologies, but clearly impediments to being more digital remain.”</p> <p>The report indicates that for NASACT members to take full advantage of digital technologies, they need to <strong>have a clear and coherent technology strategy</strong>, revisit their investment choices, <strong>prepare their workforces to use new IT tools</strong>, enhance data accessibility and be willing to <strong>embrace disruptive technologies</strong>. </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Modern-Workforce_the-office.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Treasurers and Auditors Face Hurdles to Digital Technology Adoption</h2> <p>It is difficult to escape technology in today’s state governments, and the report makes clear that state auditors and treasurers are not immune from changing digital trends. </p> <p>“Digital processing and cognitive technologies are disrupting the economy, as new ways of creating value are displacing traditional methods,” the report says. “This is true for government finance as well. <strong>Finance stands at the core of public administration, and technology is at the core of finance</strong>.” </p> <p>NASACT members surveyed stressed the importance of having a strong digital strategy, according to the report. And while most, though not all, indicated that their organizations had a digital strategy, <strong>only 45 percent of NASACT respondents felt their organizations had a “clear and coherent” strategy</strong>. Another 23 percent reported they either do not have a digital strategy (11 percent) or lack a clear and coherent digital strategy (12 percent). </p> <p>Notably, the survey found that there is a clear link between having a coherent technology strategy and digital capabilities. “Organizations with a clear digital strategy generally considered their digital capabilities to be comparable to or ahead of the private sector <strong>(57 percent)</strong>, while in organizations without a strategy, 76 percent of the respondents consider their digital capabilities to be <em>behind</em> the private sector,” the report says.</p> <p>When it comes to specific technologies that auditors, comptrollers and treasurers can use, the report notes that <strong>robotic process automation</strong> can be a good place to start, since it is a relatively simple form of process automation that does not require large-scale system implementation.</p> <p>Yet <strong>only 29 percent </strong>indicated that robotic process automation was a possible area of investment in their organizations. RPA can help agencies save time and money on repetitive, mundane tasks. A 2017 Deloitte study on artificial intelligence in government found cognitive technologies could free between 4 and 30 percent of a state’s total labor hours, depending on the degree of investment and adoption.</p> <p>Why do so few organizations seem willing to adopt RPA? The report speculates that there is a lack of awareness regarding RPA, “since only 17 percent of survey respondents reported use of RPA within their organization, which is much lower than the usage observed in the private sector.”</p> <p>In terms of more advanced technologies, <strong>only 11 percent </strong>of organizations reported broad use of automation and cognitive technologies. “These numbers become critical when we consider that public and private audits are likely to be <strong>substantially augmented by automation and cognitive technologies in the coming years</strong>,” the report says. “Automated audit sampling can help auditors get to a point where 100 percent of the populations are reviewed, which can help improve the quality of the audit significantly.” </p> <p>To adopt new digital technologies more rapidly, NASACT organizations say they will be looking to upgrade their employees’ skills. However, there is a significant amount of concern about a shortfall of technological capacity within NASACT organizations’ workforces.</p> <p>The report says that around <strong>48 percent </strong>of respondents believe their employees do not have sufficient skills to execute digital strategy, and <strong>49 percent</strong> lacked the skills for automation and cognitive technologies.</p> <p>How will they close the skills gap? <strong>Staff training</strong> is the most common response, the survey says, with 68 percent indicating it will be a focus in the years ahead. However, 39 percent say they will <strong>augment their staff with consultants and contractors</strong>.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">How Can NASACT Members Achieve Digital Transformation?</h2> <p><a href="">To achieve digital transformation</a>, auditors, comptrollers and treasurers should develop a clear digital strategy, the report says, since that provides a vision for the future and helps reduce barriers to technology adoption. </p> <p>The report also recommends that NASACT members rethink their technology investments and <strong>balance investments in both established and emerging technologies</strong>. </p> <p>State organizations can also build their technological capacity by focusing on <strong>enhancing the skills of their employees</strong>. “Proactively providing training can help public finance leaders minimize the disruption,” to their workforces, the report says, adding that consultants and contractors can help augment expertise.</p> <p>The report also notes that data is a powerful resource, and its thoughtful use can help organizations<strong> enhance transparency, monitor performance and achieve greater operating efficiency</strong>. The report says that, in some cases, public data transparency websites may be helpful.</p> <p>Finally, organizations should <strong>be willing to embrace the future</strong>. The report notes that, as digital technology matures, public finance and audit leaders can use it to fulfill their mission as stewards of public budget expenditures and operations. “Organizations that leverage technologies under the wise guidance of experienced finance professionals should be well positioned to successfully meet this mission,” the report says.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is a web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>BizTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 14:18:53 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41356 at