The sweeping cyber EO that followed included 11 sections of guidance and mandates designed to push Federal agencies to improve their cybersecurity posture and modernize their infrastructure. Many of the mandates involve building a zero trust architecture, which requires users and devices to be authenticated and authorized before accessing the agency network, applications, and data.

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security

MeriTalk recently sat down with Fortinet’s Jim Richberg, public sector CISO, Peter Newton, senior director, product marketing, and Fortinet Federal’s Felipe Fernandez, senior director, system engineering, to gain their insights into how Federal technology teams can integrate all of the components of a zero trust architecture to achieve holistic cybersecurity in a cloud, hybrid, or closed environment.

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Recently MeriTalk sat down with Monzy Merza, vice president of cybersecurity go-to-market at Databricks, a data and artificial intelligence (AI) company that offers the first and only lakehouse platform in the cloud. Merza chatted about the implications and opportunities with M-21-31 and offered insights for successfully meeting its mandates.

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General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) has named Kristin Seaver – who served as CIO at the United States Postal Service (USPS) from 2016 to 2020 – vice president of strategic client engagement.

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security

A significant share of Federal cybersecurity leaders are turning to dynamic application security testing (DAST) to speed the secure development of web applications, shown in new research from MeriTalk and Invicti, a developer of web application security technologies.

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Cybersecurity services provider CrowdStrike said today it has identified a sophisticated post-exploitation framework that was first detected in 2021 and that has been observed in multiple victim environments in geographically distinct locations – with intrusions spanning technology, academic, and government sectors.

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EPA Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded General Dynamics Information Technology an $89.5 million contract under its High-End Scientific Computing (HESC) II Support Services task order.

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General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) has appointed Matt Hayden vice president of cyber client engagement. Hayden brings senior leadership experience with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) component to the new role at GDIT.

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EPA Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) a $661.6 million contract to provide digital modernization services, the company announced April 27.

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Cloud Computing Brainstorm 2019 - Sean Connelly

As agencies strive to meet changing zero trust security requirements, an official from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that he’s seeing an increased sense of urgency to implement those requirements to collectively move “the Federal fleet forward.”

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The volume of phishing-based cyberattacks rose by 29 percent in 2021 over prior-year levels and was driven in part by an increase in phishing-as-a-service schemes, according to new research from cloud security services provider Zscaler and its ThreatLabz research operation.

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CISA

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said today it adding to its Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) group several private sector firms with expertise in protecting industrial control systems (ICS) and operational technology (OT).

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As advances in computing power and the ability to leverage large data sets and complex algorithms have increased in recent years, Federal agencies are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to gain new insights from data and improve operational efficiencies in everything from healthcare to transportation to citizen services and public safety.

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The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) sets out broad, ambitious goals for improving the customer experience and empowering the Federal workforce. While technology underpins these goals, in-depth understanding of the agency mission and challenges is required to truly realize the promise of the PMA. MeriTalk sat down with Joe Kehoe, vice president of the Department of Defense (DoD) practice at Maximus, to learn how his company approaches agency engagements and leverages emerging technologies to modernize agency systems – with the goal of providing the best experience for his customers’ customers: American citizens.

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Your agency has acquired the latest and greatest cloud business communications platform. It allows employees to collaborate on projects, store documents in the cloud, instant message, and hold video calls – increasing employee productivity. Your agency isn’t alone. Gartner reports that almost 80 percent of workers used collaboration tools in 2021, an increase of 44 percent since the start of the pandemic.

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Leaders of the House Oversight and Reform Committee are launching an investigation into identity verification contractor ID.me, citing concerns about the efficacy, security, and privacy of its facial recognition technology that is used by millions of Americans seeking access to government services.

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Today every Federal agency is working to implement zero trust. Each will begin in a unique place that is dictated by its current cybersecurity posture, cybersecurity investments, and agency missions. Still, many questions must be answered as agencies plot their zero-trust journey. Which pillar in the Zero Trust Maturity Model is most urgent? Which data is more vulnerable to attacks? How do you find and classify the most sensitive information?

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cloud
IT
CISA

On December 13, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an emergency directive that called for agencies to disconnect or turn off any SolarWinds Orion products by noon the following day, due to an exploit of Orion network monitoring software that posed a “grave risk” to agencies, critical infrastructure providers, and other private-sector organizations.

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The Department of Defense (DoD) recently called cATO the “gold standard” in cybersecurity. However, the current process for obtaining authorization to operate (ATO) is “point in time,” costly, and time consuming. Based on these issues, an alternative, continuous authority to operate (cATO), is gaining momentum.

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High-performance sensor architectures are allowing for faster data processing as more data continues to become available and requires processing for analysis and artificial intelligence applications, officials from NVIDIA and Lockheed Martin said on March 24 at the NVIDIA GTC Conference.

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As intense wildfires have become a more serious issue in the last few years worldwide – causing billions of dollars in damage in the western U.S. alone – firefighting teams need a better solution to mitigate and better understand the cause of the spreading conflagrations.

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., today called the Online Privacy Act of 2021 that she introduced in the House last year along with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., a “good solid piece of legislation” that would regulate the collection, use, and retention of consumers’ online data, but also forecast that the bill has a “long ways to go” in the legislative process before it becomes law.

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AI

Splunk’s cybersecurity and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) suite can be combined with NVIDIA Morpheus running on Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Edgeline GPU-accelerated converged edge platform to provide AI-enabled real-time monitoring and remediation of an edge network, all while saving analysts and data scientists time.

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As use of artificial intelligence (AI) increases across the public and private sector, companies like Lockheed Martin are using AI advancements to further missions and to even collaborate with NVIDIA to address wildfires.

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Federal agencies are emerging from a tough season of security vulnerabilities – SolarWinds and Log4j among them – knowing that bad actors are changing their game plans. At the same time, agencies are improving their cyber playbooks with zero trust guidance from the White House, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and others.

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