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GovWin Recon - October 31, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

 

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Health IT:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility/Communications:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Legislation/Policy:

State and Local:

AEC News:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

GovWin Recon - October 30, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Health IT:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Legislation:

Mergers and Acquisitions:

State and Local:

AEC News:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

GovWin Recon - October 29, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Transparency and Performance:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Mergers and Acquisitions:

State and Local:

AEC News:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

FedRAMP Adds “Ready” Category

The goal behind Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is to streamline the cloud security authorization process. In support of this goal, it established a government wide cloud security baseline (for FISMA low to moderate levels) and established a process for evaluating cloud solutions. While the initiative described a crawl-walk-run approach from the outset, delays around reviews and authorizations seems to have triggered an adjustment to the strategy. 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) set June 5, 2014 as a deadline for cloud vendors to comply with federal cloud security certification. Since FedRAMP launched initial operations in June 2012, fewer than 20 total authorizations for cloud solutions to operate have been awarded by the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) and federal agencies. The need to transition to a new security baseline (as a result of updated guidance from NIST) adds another piece to the bottleneck around getting solutions through the FedRAMP review process. 

To help speed the process along, mid-October 2014, a category has been added to the queue to call out cloud solutions that have completed their documentation and gone through a readiness review by the FedRAMP PMO. According to Matt Goodrich, the acting FedRAMP director, “FedRAMP Ready systems have documentation that has been reviewed by the FedRAMP PMO and at a minimum have gone through the FedRAMP PMO readiness review process.”  Since the bar for being included in the FedRAMP Ready roster is set low, cloud service providers (CSPs) are able to be listed even with work remaining to become FedRAMP compliant. Although authority to operate (ATO) must come from the FedRAMP JAB or an Agency, the FedRAMP office has also described a third, “CSP supplied” path to authorization, which could feed easily into the FedRAMP Ready ranks should vendors submit prepared documentation and testing for readiness review.

This new category provides increased visibility to CSPs pursuing FedRAMP compliance. It also allows the FedRAMP PMO to draw attention to open source solutions and build specifications that agencies can deploy. A week after announcing the new category, there are four systems listed as FedRAMP Ready. If agencies need to explore beyond the solutions that have completed the FedRAMP process, this category offers them a starting point and provides information about how far a solution is from compliance. This development strengthens the case for vendors to target achieving FedRAMP compliance in cooperation with an agency. Any additional activities planned to further support agency procurement may be announced at the beginning of November 2014, when the FedRAMP office is expected to release its roadmap for the next year.

 

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Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @FIAGovWin.

 

IRS Could Save Millions with Better Software License Management

In late September, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report identifying between $81 million and $114 million wasted because of “inadequate management of server software licenses.”

Software license management is part of an effective and efficient overall IT management program and is crucial to maintaining and supporting IRS business operations and taxpayer services. TIGTA conducted the audit of server software license management to assess IRS’ performance in this area of IT and to include their findings in their FY 2014 Annual Audit Plan.

TIGTA found that IRS’ management of server software licenses is not adequate and does not meet industry best practices.

Admittedly, software license management is difficult. However, it is a critical part of software asset management which involves managing, controlling, and protecting an organization’s software assets. Proper management of software licenses helps to minimize risks by ensuring that licenses are used in compliance with licensing agreements and cost-effectively deployed.

TIGTA has been conducting a number of IRS audits related to software management over the last year due to the complexity of the IRS software license environment. TIGTA carried out three separate audits: desktop and laptops, mainframes, and servers. In the two prior audits, TIGTA found that IRS did not:

  • Adequately perform software license management.
  • Adhere to federal requirements and recommended industry best practices.
  • Have enterprise-wide or local policies, procedures, and requirements for software license management.
  • Have defined roles and responsibilities and a centralized organizational structure for managing software licenses.
  • Use specialized software license tools designed to be the repository for software and software license deployment.
  • Have an accurate inventory of software and related licenses that contains licensing models applicable to each software product which links data on the licenses purchased and deployed.

IRS has been working to correct the above findings.

This most recent TIGTA audit focused exclusively on management of server software licenses and took place from May 2013 to March 2014.

TIGTA found the IRS does not effectively manage server software licenses. According to TIGTA findings:  

  • The IRS does not have defined policies and procedures or roles and responsibilities for server software license management.
  • The IRS does not use software license tools and does not maintain server license inventories in accordance with federal requirements and industry best practices.

TIGTA found that the IRS did not have license documentation for 11 out of 23 products reviewed. Additionally, for 15 of those software products, the IRS did not have documentation to track the number of licenses purchased versus the number deployed.

For IBM software products, the IRS did not have licenses for 43 products which cost approximately $1 million to $1.4 million per product. But IRS took issue with this finding, responding that TIGTA misinterpreted the licenses and what constitutes usage of perpetual licenses.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS include server software management in its enterprise-wide software management program currently under development. Better overall software license management at IRS would reduce IT risks, as well as provide cost savings.

IRS management agreed with the recommendation, and server software is already being considered as a component of the enterprise-wide software management program. Additionally, an Enterprise Software

Governance Board and Working Group have been established to develop a standardized process for ensuring consistency in asset management across the enterprise.

 

 

 

GovWin Recon - October 28, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Transparency and Performance:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

Big Data Spending Trends: What Agencies are Spending on Services

It’s not difficult to determine what federal agencies spend on IT services every fiscal year.  Parsing that data into specific types of services, however, can be tricky, particularly if one is seeking to understand a specific set of services related to an emerging technology trend like big data.  This post features a set of data related to big data services investment in both the civilian and defense sectors of the federal government.  As a reminder from last week’s post, this data collection is based on a set of 69 keywords relevant to big data investments.  These keywords range from the names of specific solutions (e.g., Sqrrl, Splunk, and Hadoop) to types of products and services (e.g., fusion centers, high performance computing, and predictive analytics).  The resulting dataset is discreet, constituting a narrowed-down picture of federal big data investment.  I offer it as a baseline for analyzing and understanding agency investment trends.

Federal Big Data Investment in Services

The chart below shows that federal investment in big data-related services (ex-High Performance Computing) followed a steady uptrend from fiscal 2010 until the end of fiscal 2014.  I assume the trend continued intact through 2014 because the data from 2014 is incomplete due to a 90 day reporting lag from the DoD.  Once that data comes in I fully expect the final total will be higher than 2013 because most federal IT spending takes place in the fourth quarter of each fiscal year. 

High performance computing was separated from “other services” to provide an even more specific look at big data services.  The services included in this category include analysis support, data warehouse services, software and hardware maintenance, system development, and research and development, among others.  A separate category for HPC has been included because high performance computing is closely related to big data style computing projects.

An interesting detail shown by this data is that investment in big data related services did not fall in fiscal 2013 as a result of sequestration related cuts.  This is curious because nearly every other area of federal IT spending declined in fiscal 2013 thanks to sequestration.

Spending by Market Sector

When broken out by buyer segment the data below reveals a couple of interesting details.  The set shown includes both “other services” and high performance computing.

First, we see that services spending by civilian agencies flattened in fiscal 2012 and dropped in fiscal 2014 by $150 million.  Civilian agency data is reported quickly at the end of each fiscal year, so the set is more complete.  Second, defense spending continued to increase in fiscal 2014, showing a rise of $115 million even though not all of the data for Q4 has been reported. 

Conclusions

The brief analysis here shows that sequestration did not have an impact on big data related services spending at the DoD.  This bodes well for companies hoping to capitalize on rising interest in big data services among defense customers. The impact of budget cuts was, however, felt more acutely at civilian agencies, illustrating that the impact of sequestration can be felt unevenly across government.

The analysis presented here is a small sample of the kind of valuable insight that readers will find in FIA’s new report, Federal Update: Cloud, Data Center, Big Data, and Mobility, due to be published on October 31, 2014.

GovWin Recon - October 27, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

GovWin Recon - October 24, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

State and Local:

AEC News:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

GovWin Recon - October 23, 2014

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts.

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Health IT:

Mobility:

Transparency and Performance:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Mergers and Acquisitions:

State and Local:

AEC News:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

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