Tech News for May 5

Why automation is the key to the future of cyber security

In 2015 there were 781 publicized cyber security breaches which resulted in more than 169 million personal records being exposed – a number that’s steadily on the rise year over year. And with notable names like BlueCross, Harvard and Target being tossed into the mix, it’s obvious that no company is safe. Yet, only 38% of organizations across the globe can confidently say they are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyber-attack.

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The data center powering California’s water management

In California, water management is a big deal, and the IT infrastructure at the California Department of Water Resources needed a major refresh. Managing the state’s entire water delivery system requires CDWR to coordinate data across federal, state and local government organizations, run environmental impact studies and provide customer service. CDWR, however, had limited data sharing and recovery abilities, which affected security and operational and decision making processes. CDWR opted for a software-defined data center to support the 33 departments of its parent agency, the California Natural Resources Agency, which was looking to speed the deployment of business systems and automate processes and security measures.

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Massive data breach means it might be time to change your email passwords again

Reuters is reporting on a huge data breach involving “hundreds of millions” of hacked usernames and passwords, covering services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and Russia’s Apparently the stolen credentials are being traded around the Russian criminal underworld. According to cybercrime expert Alex Holden, who has previously uncovered breaches at Adobe, JP Morgan and Target, the bulk of the swiped data was from, though some covered large banking, manufacturing and retail companies in the US.

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State Should Report Detailed Spending Data on Cybersecurity, Lawmakers Say

To best help California beef up its cybersecurity, lawmakers say they need critical information — exactly how much money state agencies spend every year to safeguard sensitive data from potential hackers. The Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would require state agencies to report their annual cybersecurity spending. “Lack of oversight makes it challenging to address vulnerabilities, and it makes it difficult to identify where departments might be overspending or where additional resources might be needed and how our investment as a state compares to other large companies or other states,” bill co-author Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, told the committee.

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StateScoop announces 2016 winners of StateScoop 50 leadership, program awards

The 2016 winners of the StateScoop 50 Awards, which highlight the best and brightest in the state IT community, were announced Wednesday. The StateScoop 50 awards honor innovators, innovative initiatives and up-and-coming leaders in state and local government. This year’s recipients were selected by members of the state and local government IT community, in a nationwide voting process. More than 80,000 voters were cast on StateScoop, narrowing down hundreds of readers’ nominations in six categories, to select this year’s StateScoop 50 winners.

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Nobody cares about your government website

This may come as a surprise, but none of your constituents care about your website. They won’t get excited about a redesign, they aren’t eagerly awaiting your next press release and they won’t pop by your page to see what’s new as they surf the web. I know — you get a lot of visitors to your site every day. But that’s because they need to apply for a license or pay a fine. Constituents aren’t going to your website because they want to, they’re going because they have to. They just want to get in, find what they need, and get on with their day. And we’re not making it easy for them.

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DGS Director Daniel Kim Confirmed by Senate Rules Committee

Department of General Services Director Daniel C. Kim was approved by the Senate Rules Committee by a 4-0 vote on Wednesday afternoon. Kim’s confirmation is now subject to approval by the entire State Senate. The Senate must confirm gubernatorial appointees within a year of the appointment for them to continue. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Kim to his current position in late May 2015. DGS manages procurement and acquisition, real estate, professional printing and other services on behalf of state agencies. Kim told the Rules Committee that he wants to focus on efficiency and agility at DGS, and take a “data-informed approach” to help prioritize what the department does.

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Email Privacy Act: Updating Decades-Old Legislation to Account for Cloud-Stored Data

The Email Privacy Act unanimously passed through the House on April 27 and some are likening the bill to a “Digital Fourth Amendment.” The Email Privacy Act, also called H.R. 699, is an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) that would require law enforcement to present a warrant when obtaining a citizen’s cloud-stored data or emails. The bill still requires Senate passage before it becomes law. Past criminal cases dealing with cloud-stored data were able to draw on no obvious precedent or law, and privacy advocates are applauding Congress for lending clarity to a once-muddy issue.

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Public Utilities Commission Faces ‘Backlog’ of IT Projects

The California Public Utilities Commission is proposing to add two dozen more personnel to its Information Technology Services Branch to keep up with an increasing workload that includes several new technology projects in the pipeline. Eleven projects at CPUC have been approved through the first stage — the business analysis — of the Department of Technology’s project approval process, according to a Q1 2016 update. They include a new Program Claims Management System, e-filing for transportation carriers, electronic submission of “advice letters,” a position control system for human resources, a system to accept online payments of user fees, and others.

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RFI: State of California Broadband Internet Technical Requirements

The vendor community is invited to weigh in on draft business and technical requirements the Department of Technology’s Statewide Technology Procurement Division has developed and proposed for broadband high-speed Internet via satellite; wireless; and terrestrial technologies.

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CalEPA Updates Reporting System to Encourage More Public Interaction

The California Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled an online tool for the public to report environmental problems no matter where they are. The new Web-based CalEPA environmental reporting system that launched April 21 is accessible on smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as desktop computers.

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CompTIA State and Local Government and Education Executive Council Welcomes Two New Members

CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the technology industry, today announced the appointment of two new members to its State and Local Government and Education Executive Council. Regina Kunkle, national vice president, state and local government/education for SAP; and Rick Webb, managing director, state, provincial, and local (SPL) growth market lead for Accenture, have been appointed to two-year terms on the executive council. The State and Local Government and Education Council, a major part of CompTIA’s public sector practice, is a consortium of executives from leading technology companies that serve the state and local government and education markets. The group provides direction to CompTIA on program offerings, events and policy positions related to the use of technology in the government and education sectors.

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Cloud Computing news : IBM Brings Everyone Quantum Computing With Cloud Service

IBM has launched the world’s first quantum computing service in the cloud, giving anyone access to its cutting-edge technology. It is opening up one of the most complex and least understood areas of computing to everyone by launching the first quantum computing service in the cloud, hoping that by giving students, researchers and academics the opportunity to use a quantum computer it will help advance development of the technology. The IBT Times. “If you want to understand what a true quantum computer will do for you and how it works, this is the place to do it,” Dario Gil, vice president of science and solutions, IBM Research said in astatement. “You won’t experience it anywhere else.”

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The Internet of (Every)Things: Forcing CIOs to Think Differently

“Exploding.” That’s the word that comes to mind when describing the sheer scale of connected “things” — otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Think about this: Gartner estimates that by 2020, IoT will consist of 25 billion devices, from consumer applications to manufacturing, utilities and transportation. In 2016, it forecast, 5.5 million new things will get connected every single day. For the CIO, this has created massive challenges, according to a Gartner report specifically on IoT and the datacenter. These include how to develop strategies to deal with storage infrastructure; harvesting and using IoT data cost-effectively; and handling device and network/platform security.

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