Tech News for January 7

Amazon signs CJIS agreement with California

In an effort to help California law enforcement agencies comply with the FBI’s requirements for secure cloud storage of criminal justice information, Amazon Web Services signed a Criminal Justice Information Services Security Addendum with the state’s Department of Justice, enabling state and local law enforcement agencies to run CJIS workloads in the AWS cloud. The California DOJ has worked to streamline law enforcement agencies’ move to the cloud by building service catalogs with cloud service partners so that local law enforcement agencies can access pre-approved architectures and services with a lightweight administrative process and avoid the need to go through the audit process with every potential cloud service provider.

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CES 2016, Where Technology And Government Collide

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here in Las Vegas, I got around to taking a few snapshots. There is the Consumer Technology Association’s own useful Guide to Drones. There are numerous smartcars like the Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen fuel-cell concept; there are frog-eyed virtual reality demos happening seemingly on every aisle, like this guy taking a driverless-car spin with Kia Motors. The giant curved TVs are here again, as are the robots, smart-home gadgets and appliances galore.

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6 Questions Government Should Ask to Avoid Technology Mistakes (Industry Perspective)

Technology is progressing at unprecedented speed. Government agencies recognize this, of course, but often have resisted early technology adoption. A traditionally measured approach to implementation — along with restrictive policies and uncertainty about how to take advantage of new technologies — have stood in the way. This isn’t all bad. Not all new technology offers potential for government application, and government cannot afford, either financially or in terms of resources, to explore the benefits and implications of every new technology that comes along. From those perspectives, government is wise not to leap without evaluating new technologies carefully.

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AWS price cut patterns reflect cloud growth, maturation

AWS rolled out price cuts for some of its Elastic Compute Cloud instances this week, though the markdowns were not as steep or broad as in previous years. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in the C4, M4 and R3 families are being cut 5% if they run certain flavors of Linux; changes to On-Demand and Dedicated Host pricing will apply retroactively to the beginning of this month, while Reserved Instance pricing goes into effect this week. AWS had 42 price cuts over its first eight years and has had an additional nine since, three of which were announced in 2015. The most recent AWS price cut for EC2 instances also means a 5% reduction for some flavors of Linux instances. In 2014, EC2 prices were slashed by as much as 40%, with substantial price reductions applying to both Windows and Linux servers.

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Government IT: Hot Tech Trends In 2016

In ordinary businesses, IT decision-makers can identify the criteria that matter to the organization’s success and respond with choices that best serve those requirements. Nobody questions a CIO’s conclusion that one supplier is more trustworthy than another, even if that supplier charges more. If a strategy turns out to be harebrained instead of innovative, it’s rarely a scandal. The business has the freedom — and the responsibility — to make its own mistakes. Governments, on the other hand, are supposed to be accountable to their citizens. Each technology decision, whether made by a federal government or a rural town council, is beholden to the citizenry that government branch serves. Such entities have little control over the budget, and they need to be transparent in everything from purchasing decisions to data management. The situation hands government IT unique challenges, especially in regard to gazing into crystal balls (which the department had to requisition from another department, or purchase from the lowest-price bid).

[] 01/07

Cybersecurity law gives feds new power to protect the grid

Within the $1.1 trillion spending bill signed by President Obama last month is a legal framework for sharing information about digital security threats that upset privacy advocates but which energy industry officials say will help keep the nation’s electric grid safe from cyberattacks. “While the electric power sector already engages in significant information-sharing, and has in place mandatory and enforceable reliability and cybersecurity standards, taking steps to improve the sharing of actionable security information between the government and industry is vital to protecting the electric grid from all possible threats,” Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn said in a statement after the legislation was passed.

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The Future of Cloud Computing

What’s driving the adoption of cloud computing models? To find out, Trillium chose to co-sponsor the fifth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey conducted by North Bridge, a leading venture capital firm, and Wikibon, an open source community of industry analysts. The survey results were released in mid-December by way of a press release and a webinar conducted by both organizations. As the industry’s largest independent survey of cloud adoption trends, the results are an insightful snapshot of what is happening in the cloud market. And, given initiative like Trillium Cloud, as well as our integration with cloud solutions like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the survey is of considerable interest to Trillium and our customers.

[] 01/06

Department of Interior’s move to cloud another sign of growing federal acceptance

A recent announcement by Reston-based Unisys Federal Systems that it successfully moved the U.S. Department of Interior’s financial management systems to the cloud is another sign of a growing acceptance of the technology among federal agencies. Federal cloud adoption once seemed to be exclusively within the realm of simple processes and applications — moving to cloud-based e-mail or data storage, for example. But here’s an example of one government agency migrating its accounting system into this next-generation IT architecture.

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California Overhauls Monitoring System for Controlled Substances

Enhancements to the back-end technology systems supporting California’s prescription drug monitoring program aim to help health-care providers and prescribers flag at-risk patients and curb prescription drug abuse, according to a recent press release from the attorney general’s office. Starting Jan. 8 the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) will automatically redirect current CURES users who log in with up-to-date and secure Web browsers to the new CURES 2.0 system. According to the press release, the attorney general also sent a letter to the medical community encouraging the use of secure means to access the confidential and sensitive patient information. “CURES 2.0 will give California’s health-care professionals who prescribe and dispense potent prescription drugs a powerful tool to better access and utilize patient information to help them identify individuals who are abusing these drugs,” said Awet Kidane, director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. He credited the California Department of Justice, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the regulatory boards for funding the CURES project.

[] [insider] 01/06

DMV Website Redesign Focuses on Online Services

Visitors to California’s DMV home page might notice a new look and some new features. On Dec. 30 the Department of Motor Vehicles rolled out the first phase of a website redesign intended to make it easier for customers to find and access the department’s online services, including driver’s license renewals and vehicle title registration.

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Washington State Announces Federal Cybersecurity Partnership, Office of Privacy and Data Protection

On Jan. 6 at the Governor’s Summit on Cybersecurity and Privacy, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced two new programs to strengthen cybersecurity and privacy in the state. Washington will partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to strengthen critical infrastructure and government services, and through the governor’s executive order, the state will also create a new state Office of Privacy and Data Protection.

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California’s New Law Affects Search Warrants for Electronic Communications, Data — But How Much?

When the clock struck midnight Dec. 31 and rolled over into 2016, a new law mandating how law enforcement agencies could collect electronic communications and data took effect in California. Under the new rule, formally known as the California Electronic Communication Privacy Act (CalECPA), law enforcement agencies in the state are responsible for obtaining search warrants before they go after forms digital communications and information stored on devices like cellphones.

[] 01/07

What IT Companies Are Working on Sacramento’s Downtown Arena?

The Sacramento Kings on Tuesday publicly released the most comprehensive summary yet available of the technology — and the companies that will be working on those cutting-edge solutions — that will be part of the city’s new downtown arena scheduled to open in fall 2016. The report details the sports and entertainment complex’s IT infrastructure, connectivity, network and command center. Participating firms mentioned include Advantel Networks, Brocade, Comcast Business, Commscope, Das Group Professionals, Palo Alto Networks, Ruckus Wireless and Valley Communications.

[] 01/07


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