FedRAMP approves its first unified communications system

Jeremy Snow, Fedscoop,  Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program approved its first cloud-based unified communications system — and some say more are likely to follow. Last week, communications company Collab9 earned the first FedRAMP certification for unified communications as a service, or UCaaS. With the approval, the company will now offer federal agencies a single, third-party-based cloud system that connects different types of communication, like phones, voicemails and video messaging.

Obama administration can secure another win for data privacy

Julie Anderson by Julie Anderson, AG Strategy Group
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In its final months in office, the Obama administration finalized Privacy Shield with the EU. Now it needs to implement it and work with U.S.-based tech companies to remove any uncertainty about exchanging data across the Atlantic. Then, Congress must take action to improve the process for law enforcement agencies to request email data from U.S.-based tech firms when conducting a criminal investigation. All three branches of government have a responsibility to help digital privacy rights catch up with physical ones. If our government achieves parity between privacy rights across those two spheres, then Americans will be safer and can enjoy the protections of their individual privacy.

Defense CIO: Cybersecurity Improving But Innovation Lags

Sandra I. Erwin, National Defense,  Monday, August 8, 2016

Cyber attacks are workaday events at the Defense Department. “We get attacked millions of times a day,” says the Pentagon’s chief information officer Terry Halvorsen. How many of those attempted intrusions are actually successful? Very few, he says. Only about 0.001 percent. “We have improved the layering of our defenses,” Halverson tells a group of reporters last month at a National Defense Industrial Association forum. There is no one single weapon or tactic to combat hackers and cyber spies. The Pentagon is attacking the problem with everything from traditional computer defenses to newer tools to help ward off threats from insiders.

Learning Analytics: Is data collection of students' learning habits Orwellian or simply helpful?

SI News,  Monday, August 8, 2016

In a bid to personalize the learning experience and reduce the rate of drop-outs, universities have embraced “learning analytics”, or the analysis of data collected from various student activities.

Left wide open: Encryption and the public sector

Eric Chiu, Fedscoop,  Monday, August 8, 2016

Why isn’t cryptography more of a hot-button issue for government IT? The problem, unfortunately, is that getting encryption right has always been easier said than done.

What Today's Delta Outage Teaches Us About The Public Cloud

Kalev Leetaru, Forbes,  Monday, August 8, 2016

Yet, one of the biggest reasons for turning to the commercial cloud is the massive resiliency it offers. In addition to incredibly sophisticated backup facilities, all of the major cloud vendors offer multiple data centers geographically distributed across the globe. Even when one data center’s supplying power grid is unlucky enough to be hit by four separate lightning strikes in close succession, applications can simply transparently migrate to any other data center with minimal downtime. Even companies operating their own corporate data center can maintain hot failover mirrors in the cloud allowing them to instantly transfer operations upon a local failure.

U.S. Tech Firms Dominate Cloud Services in Western Europe

Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal,  Thursday, August 4, 2016

Political and legal pressure has for years been mounting on European companies to store their sensitive information in Europe—in part to keep it away from what many suspect are prying American eyes. But the push toward so-called data localization has done little to slow the growth of U.S.-based cloud-computing businesses operating in Europe.

Satya Nadella Talks Microsoft at Middle Age

Dina Bass, Bloomberg Businessweek,  Thursday, August 4, 2016

We’ve been tremendously successful. So we need to remind ourselves that every new business that’s going to grow at Microsoft is not going to grow in multibillion-dollar chunks. In fact, one of the big decisions I had to make even before I became CEO was to prioritize Azure [Microsoft’s cloud computing platform] as the future of our server business when it was a cumulative $5 million business and to say, “Oh, this is going to be the future of the $20 billion server business.” That is what companies like ours who have had success need to be able to do.

Canadian government cloud strategy insists on data residency

Michael Hurley, Datacenter Dynamics,  Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Canadian government has advised public bodies on the “right cloud” approach, advising for top secret and secret data to be stored within the country’s borders and classified information to be stored in the cloud but within Canada.The plan makes its data residency recommendations based on three levels of classified data the government organizations could encounter. Unclassified information can be stored anywhere on the provison that it is encrypted when it crosses a border.

Cloud Growth is Amazing, But Still A Small Part of Overall IT Spending

Michael Miller, PC Magazine,  Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The financial results that the big cloud leaders reported over the past couple of weeks show that cloud computing is growing at an amazing clip. While that makes complete sense, it still seems clear to me that cloud computing has a long way to go. Let's start with the results.