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Tech News for December 31

How transitions, cyber and collaboration shaped 2015

For the state information technology community, 2015 was a year of change. More than 20 chief information officers cycled in and out of their positions, just as many governments started ramping up their defenses against ever-changing cyberthreats. At the same time, government IT as a whole evolved, and states and cities across the country found new ways to collaborate, either internally or externally, to boost efficiency and change how they operate. In this StateScoop Special Report, we take you through the stories that shaped the year, and that set the tone for what to expect from the government IT community going forward.

12/31

You will now receive alerts if state-sponsored hackers attack your Microsoft Account

Whenever you access the internet, you are under attack. There are tons of evildoers out there just waiting to hack or scam you. Between malware and social engineering, it can feel like the wild west on the web. In other words, bad guys are everywhere — be cautious. While some of these hackers are merely amateurs looking to wreak havoc or profit monetarily, there is something far more devious. State-sponsored hackers and terrorists could be targeting you with more sophisticated techniques. This could be for political reasons, such as espionage, or even stealing corporate secrets. Starting today, if Microsoft suspects sate-sponsored attacks on your Microsoft Account, it will let you know. This includes both Outlook.com email and OneDrive cloud storage.

12/31

AT&T To Cease Offering 2-Year Contracts Starting From January 8 Onwards

AT&T is terminating its two-year plan beginning from January 8. The country’s second-biggest wireless carrier is stopping its standard contract plan in which customers had to pay a fixed price for obtaining a phone as wells as couple of years of wireless service. Substituting the earlier plan is a program known as Next in which users rent their smartphones by paying a monthly fee. After a certain number of monthly payments, users can trade in the smartphone for a new one. Alternatively they can own the phone by making monthly payments in 18-24 months. The old type two-year plan will be restricted to business customers.

12/31

From sci-fi to real life: Government’s changing role in tech innovation

Anyone who ever saw an episode of the original “Star Trek” TV series will recognize the similarity between a flip phone and the show’s communicator, the device that Starfleet personnel use to talk to one another across vast distances with no need for wires and dials. That particular example of life imitating art is more about design than functionality, but the imaginations of science fiction writers have often proved to be inspirational for scientists, whether by inspiring a particular technology or – in the broader sense – encouraging children and teenagers to pursue careers in science and technology.

12/30

6 Ways Government Agencies Can Maximize Their Technology Investments

Have you been thinking about next fiscal year’s budget? If you’ve been considering an enterprise content management (ECM) solution or wondering how you can enhance your current ECM solution, now is a good time to start planning. Here are six ways your agency can leverage technology to not only solve your immediate challenges, but also address long-term goals to maximize your technology investment.

12/30

Year in Review: The Top Tech News Stories of 2015

As terror gripped the world in 2015, the battle between national security vs. personal privacy has become a life-and-death matter. The Crypto Wars rage on, with no end in sight. At the same time, Net Neutrality finally went to vote. The Apple Watch debuted. And Microsoft rolled out the “last” version of Windows. Looking back over the year, which were the top tech news stories of the year? Here are my top 7 picks and I would love to hear yours.

12/30

FCC Must Strike Balance Between Enforcing Net Neutrality and Encouraging Innovation

Innovation is a good thing — unless it’s done to fend off rivals or gouge consumers. And when you’re a broadband Internet service provider in a market with little or no competition, you’re in a position to use new products and services to enrich yourself, not to improve your customers’ experience. That’s why the Federal Communications Commission adopted net neutrality rules in February to prevent ISPs — the cable and phone companies that sell cable modems and DSL, and the mobile carriers that sell wireless broadband — from misusing their control over the virtual pipe connecting consumers to the Internet.

12/29

Software Firms Benefit from Government’s Seed-to-Sale Marijuana Tracking

Leaders of Nevada’s emerging marijuana industry say there are few consumable substances watched more closely than the vegetation that goes into cannabis products. Over the last decade, as nearly 25 states have authorized the use of marijuana in some form, several jurisdictions have imposed rules that require the substance be tracked from seed to sale. For regulators and sellers, it’s a daunting process for a plant that often changes hands and takes on many forms before it becomes a final product — a joint, an edible, a topical cream, etc. To ease data collection, states and marijuana establishments have turned to niche software providers who have made a business out of organizing data from harvest site to dispensary.

12/29

Elections, retirements bring in new state CIOs in 2015

With an average tenure of a little more than two years, state chief information officers are almost always on the move. This year alone, more than 20 people came into or left a state CIO job, making 2015 a tumultuous year for the state information technology community. As the year draws to a close, StateScoop takes you state by state with the changes in the top IT executive role. This list is by no means final, especially with the few 2015 gubernatorial elections causing uncertainty for the future of CIOs in Kentucky and Louisiana.

12/31

Here are some of the new California laws authored by your local legislators

New Years Day means several new laws will go into effect statewide including ones penned by Central Coast representatives in Sacramento.

12/30

Cloud Computing Moves to the Edge in 2016

The year 2016 will be exciting in terms of applied technologies. We see a lot of technologies maturing and moving from lab exercises to real-world business technologies that solve real-life customer problems – especially in the areas of digital transformation, API, cloud, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

12/31

IG: DOD can’t decide what it wants to call cloud

The Defense Department can’t agree on an internal definition for cloud computing, and it’s preventing officials from measuring any savings or benefits from the technology, according to an agency watchdog. In a report released Tuesday, the DOD inspector general found the department and three of the four military branches have differing knowledge of various cloud computing contracts and varying opinions on what exactly constitutes a cloud computing service.

12/30

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