John K. Higgins

About the Author John K. Higgins


Government

VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software

A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA’s action as an example of the administration’s commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.

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Tech Law

SC Ruling Signals New Era for Software Patent Enforcement

The U.S. Supreme Court once again has changed the landscape for software infringement litigation. In a decision released last week, the court severely undercut the ability of plaintiffs to seek out courts that have a track record of being “friendly” to the plaintiff’s position — a practice called “forum shopping.” Legal analysts disagree on the impact of the decision, however.

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Government

Federal Agencies Turn to Software-Defined Data Storage

Federal agencies seeking to deal with huge amounts of information have begun embracing the software-defined data center, a technology tool that has come into vogue for managing and storing data. The SDDC is an offshoot of IT virtualization that uses a software-defined architecture. Agencies have been striving to save money and improve data storage and management in response to government mandates.

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Government

Federal Agencies Mirror Commercial Websites for Encryption

Private and public sector organizations share a common goal in hosting Internet websites: making sure that connections with customers and citizens are secure. However, complete security is not yet universal in either sector. Google and Mozilla, for example, are among many entities promoting Internet security via the adoption of HTTPS versus the basic and less secure HTTP technology.

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Government

Federal IT Acquisition Worth $50B Cleared for Takeoff

A major federal acquisition opportunity with a potential contract value of $50 billion for IT vendors is back on track. The GSA recently resumed processing vendor applications after a legal challenge to the contract was resolved in its favor. As a result, the GSA this fall will reveal the names of approximately 60 vendors who will be eligible to participate in the Alliant 2 IT contract vehicle.

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Government

US Pushes Cybersecurity Acquisition Tools as Contracts Flow

Vendors of cybersecurity offerings are finding that the U.S. government is serious about improving the protection of federal IT assets. A steady stream of data protection contracts has been flowing to providers, including some notable high-value transactions during the last half of 2016. One example is a Department of Homeland Security contract, with a potential value of $395 million.

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Government

Cloud Enters Mainstream in Federal IT Investment Plans

U.S. government agencies will continue to invest hefty sums in cloud computing technology over the next five years. After that period, spending on cloud is likely to moderate, but the amount of investing will remain at impressive levels. Cloud computing is far from mature within the federal government, but it has reached a point at which it is a mainstream component of government IT resources.

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Government

Feds Need to Bolster Cyberprotection Speed and Range

Providing cybersecurity adequate to meet increasing threats is a perpetual catch-up process. Public sector agencies are particularly sensitive targets, with high visibility not only to the citizens they serve, but also to cyberattackers. A recent survey uncovered both a lack of speed in detecting and responding to attacks, and weak defenses of the full range of possible attack channels.

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Government

US Comptroller Gears Up for Blockchain and Internet Finance

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a lot of catching up to do in dealing with innovative information technology, as it affects not only conventional finance, but also new channels of e-commerce made possible through advances in IT. These channels include cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, related “blockchain” technologies, and other Internet-driven financial services.

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Government

US Launches IT Contract to Spur Cybersecurity Purchases

The U.S. government plans to initiate an updated contracting vehicle for the acquisition of cybersecurity information technologies for federal agencies this month. The purpose of the program is to make it easier and more efficient for federal agencies to obtain cyberprotection services. Specifically, GSA will include cybertechnology providers on a major listing of approved federal contractors.

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Government

Outdated Federal IT Gobbles Up Vendor Opportunities

U.S. government agencies spend an overwhelming amount of their annual information technology budgets simply to maintain old and out-of-date systems. As a result, the amount of money available for investing in modernizing IT keeps shrinking, thus depriving vendors of major marketing opportunities at the federal level. The official federal IT budget has remained at about $82 billion per year for several years.

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Government

Feds Seek Vendor Help for Payroll Processing Upgrade

Technology vendors that support the different missions of U.S. government agencies may have a major opportunity to provide innovative IT assistance for a task that is common to all: preparing the payroll for 2.3 million federal workers. The GSA and the OPM have been sifting through responses from IT vendors on a joint RFI on significantly upgrading federal payroll processing.

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