Jul 31, 2016

M2M Certificate Standard | @ThingsExpo #IoT #IIoT #M2M #InternetOfThings

The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.

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Speaking Opportunities | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData #InternetOfThings

Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.

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[slides] Extreme Computing in the Cloud | @CloudExpo #HPC #BigData #MachineLearning

Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is being used on IBM Cloud, Amazon, and Microsoft Azure and how to gain access to these resources in the cloud... for FREE!

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[slides] Multi-Cloud Adoption | @CloudExpo @Cloudyn_Buzz #API #Cloud #DigitalTransformation

Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudyn, examined the risks of sourcing IT resources from a single cloud service vendor, as well as the benefits to be reaped by adopting multi-cloud strategies.

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[session] Transform Your Cloud Validation Strategy | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #DataCenter

Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.

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The Blind Spot of the Security Industry | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Security

More than 95 percent of the world’s enterprises rely on SSH user keys to provide administrators and developers an effective means of gaining encrypted access to critical infrastructure: operating systems, applications, payment processing systems, databases, human resource and financial systems, routers, switches, firewalls and other network devices. It is a lifeline of traffic flow within our data centers, our cloud environments and how our third-party vendors and supply chain access our environments. It has done its job quietly and efficiently over the last two decades. Unfortunately, the access that SSH has been providing, in particular the access SSH user keys provide, has gone largely unmanaged – to an epic degree.

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A Day in the Life of Tech Torment | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps #DigitalTransformation

Companies in the digital marketplace of the 21st century know a customer has their options. They make every minute of the day count for something, and they don’t have time to waste sitting in front of a screen waiting for something to load. If they feel like time is wasted with broken links or pages that load at a glacial pace, they will click away and find a competitor who can provide better service.

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Tune into the Cloud: Chain Gang | @CloudExpo #SaaS #Cloud #Blockchain

More than with previous technological (r)evolutions a side effect of cloud computing seems to be an increase in the degree of centralisation and concentration, not just within company organisations, but particularly in the wider commercial market. This is the most obvious with Software as a Service, where providers such as AirBNB, Uber, but also earlier cloud services such as LinkedIn and Google Search quickly established a ‘winner takes all’ distribution of market share and thus market power. And also in Infrastructure as a Service, we see an quickly diminishing number of suppliers still having the illusion that they can keep up with the gorilla in this market.

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Tips Of posting to Blogger via Email

You may attach images to your email to include that images in your blog posts. Further, you may use 
#end
at the end of your email (to end your blog post) so that your Email signature or any other irrelevant part of your mail will not include in your blog posts.

Orchestrating Microservices | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Microservices

Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even keyboards - I had to have an overall score to work from. Or at least a sketch of one. Otherwise, I'd end up with a bunch of parts that might sound great on their own, but would never fit together to make someone want to listen or dance to it.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Content Marketing | @CloudExpo @ContentMX #BigData #DigitalMarketing

"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Server Storage I/O Benchmark Workload Scripts | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Storage #DataCenter

This is part one of a two-part series of posts about using some common server storage I/O benchmark tools and workload scripts. View part II here which includes the workload scripts and where to view sample results. There are various tools and workloads for server I/O benchmark testing, validation and exercising different storage devices (or systems and appliances) such as Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) flash Solid State Devices (SSDs) or Hard Disk Drives (HDD) among others.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Don’t Just Let Node.js Take the Blame | @CloudExpo #API #APM #Cloud #Microservices

No matter how well-built your applications are, countless issues can cause performance problems, putting the platforms they are running on under scrutiny. If you've moved to Node.js to power your applications, you may be at risk of these issues calling your choice into question. How do you identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk to take the focus off troubleshooting the technology and back where it belongs, on innovation? There is no doubt that Node.js is one of today's leading platforms of choice for microservices and gluing tiers, connecting the heavy lifting business logic with modern offerings like single page applications. Intuit and PayPal showed how the Node initiative of a small team of "company outlaws" can grow into a whole organization and transform how things are done.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

The New Age of the Internet | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #API #Cloud #DevOps

Enterprises and service providers are moving to cloud. Cloud providers are expanding their infrastructure, reach and ease of adoption. Users are becoming mobile, they access their information and services on their personal mobile devices first. We have seen game changers like Netflix and AirBnB become vastly successful by using the power of public cloud as their infrastructure of choice. Service providers like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle are quickly moving their services to cloud, offering them as a SaaS subscription. So why are we seeing this new "app store" model of development, delivery and consumption gain so much popularity now than ever? and what does it mean for the internet? Is the internet infrastructure equipped to handle this additional load? Lets first look at it from the three main constituents cloud effects: Enterprises or app providers, public cloud vendors and, of course, the consumers of these services.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

How to Avoid 'Orphaned Analytics' | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #BigData #Analytics

I’ve heard several clients complain about the curse of “orphaned analytics”; which are one-off analytics developed to address a specific business need but never “operationalized” or packaged for re-use across the organization. Unfortunately, many analytic organizations lack a framework for ensuring that the analytics are not being developed in a void. Organizations lack an overarching model to ensure that the resulting analytics and associated organizational intellectual capital can be captured and re-used across multiple use cases.

The post How to Avoid “Orphaned Analytics” appeared first on InFocus.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Up-and-Coming Programming Languages | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps

Staying current in the programming field can sometimes make you feel like the Red Queen in “Alice Through the Looking-Glass.” She said, “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” You’re a master at Ruby on Rails? Great, but how are you with statistical analysis in R? Want to work at Google? Forget Python and start building channels in Go.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

[webcast] Mastering DevOps Automation | @DevOpsSummit @IBMDevOps #IBM #Cloud #DevOps #ContinuousDelivery

Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Hybrid Clouds: The Empire Strikes Back | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #DigitalTransformation

Clouds are typically classified into four different topologies: private, public, community and hybrid clouds. Let’s focus on hybrid clouds: what are the use cases that require this topology, what are the challenges, and who stands to benefit from the hybrid cloud trend? First off, a definition: A hybrid cloud is a topology in which more than one cloud infrastructure is utilized to solve a particular problem.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

[slides] Context, Wearables and WebRTC | @ThingsExpo #IoT #RTC #WebRTC

Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Jul 30, 2016

Orchestrating Microservices | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Microservices

Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even keyboards - I had to have an overall score to work from. Or at least a sketch of one. Otherwise, I'd end up with a bunch of parts that might sound great on their own, but would never fit together to make someone want to listen or dance to it.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Content Marketing | @CloudExpo @ContentMX #BigData #DigitalMarketing

"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Server Storage I/O Benchmark Workload Scripts | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Storage #DataCenter

This is part one of a two-part series of posts about using some common server storage I/O benchmark tools and workload scripts. View part II here which includes the workload scripts and where to view sample results. There are various tools and workloads for server I/O benchmark testing, validation and exercising different storage devices (or systems and appliances) such as Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) flash Solid State Devices (SSDs) or Hard Disk Drives (HDD) among others.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Don’t Just Let Node.js Take the Blame | @CloudExpo #API #APM #Cloud #Microservices

No matter how well-built your applications are, countless issues can cause performance problems, putting the platforms they are running on under scrutiny. If you've moved to Node.js to power your applications, you may be at risk of these issues calling your choice into question. How do you identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk to take the focus off troubleshooting the technology and back where it belongs, on innovation? There is no doubt that Node.js is one of today's leading platforms of choice for microservices and gluing tiers, connecting the heavy lifting business logic with modern offerings like single page applications. Intuit and PayPal showed how the Node initiative of a small team of "company outlaws" can grow into a whole organization and transform how things are done.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

The New Age of the Internet | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #API #Cloud #DevOps

Enterprises and service providers are moving to cloud. Cloud providers are expanding their infrastructure, reach and ease of adoption. Users are becoming mobile, they access their information and services on their personal mobile devices first. We have seen game changers like Netflix and AirBnB become vastly successful by using the power of public cloud as their infrastructure of choice. Service providers like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle are quickly moving their services to cloud, offering them as a SaaS subscription. So why are we seeing this new "app store" model of development, delivery and consumption gain so much popularity now than ever? and what does it mean for the internet? Is the internet infrastructure equipped to handle this additional load? Lets first look at it from the three main constituents cloud effects: Enterprises or app providers, public cloud vendors and, of course, the consumers of these services.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

How to Avoid 'Orphaned Analytics' | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #BigData #Analytics

I’ve heard several clients complain about the curse of “orphaned analytics”; which are one-off analytics developed to address a specific business need but never “operationalized” or packaged for re-use across the organization. Unfortunately, many analytic organizations lack a framework for ensuring that the analytics are not being developed in a void. Organizations lack an overarching model to ensure that the resulting analytics and associated organizational intellectual capital can be captured and re-used across multiple use cases.

The post How to Avoid “Orphaned Analytics” appeared first on InFocus.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Up-and-Coming Programming Languages | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps

Staying current in the programming field can sometimes make you feel like the Red Queen in “Alice Through the Looking-Glass.” She said, “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” You’re a master at Ruby on Rails? Great, but how are you with statistical analysis in R? Want to work at Google? Forget Python and start building channels in Go.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

[webcast] Mastering DevOps Automation | @DevOpsSummit @IBMDevOps #IBM #Cloud #DevOps #ContinuousDelivery

Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Hybrid Clouds: The Empire Strikes Back | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #DigitalTransformation

Clouds are typically classified into four different topologies: private, public, community and hybrid clouds. Let’s focus on hybrid clouds: what are the use cases that require this topology, what are the challenges, and who stands to benefit from the hybrid cloud trend? First off, a definition: A hybrid cloud is a topology in which more than one cloud infrastructure is utilized to solve a particular problem.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

[slides] Context, Wearables and WebRTC | @ThingsExpo #IoT #RTC #WebRTC

Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.

read more


by via Latest News from Java IoT

Jul 29, 2016

WebRTC in Capital Markets | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #RTC #WebRTC

WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus on building intellectual property into their platforms that support customer needs, while also providing the performance, service, and support levels expected by Fortune 100 companies.

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[slides] Fitbits and the Industrial Internet | @ThingsExpo @GE_Digital #IoT #IIoT #InternetOfThings

Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and mobile devices, manufacturers can use real-time production data to make adjustments which increase optimal uptime and efficiency in operations. Whether it’s personal wellness or improving the “wellness” of your manufacturing assets, to get “fit” and improve performance, you need to get connected, get insights, and get optimized.

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TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly

TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly
Times Colonist - Jul 28, 2016
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 83.72 points at 18,388.45, the broader S&P 500 composite index shed 4.64 points to 2,161.94 and the Nasdaq composite lost 9.14 points to 5,139.67.

by via News for Canadian Dollar - Google Finance
TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly

Determining the Economic Value of Data | @BigDataExpo #Cloud #BigData #Analytics

Data is an unusual currency. Most currencies exhibit a one-to-one transactional relationship. For example, the quantifiable value of a dollar is considered to be finite – it can only be used to buy one item or service at a time, or a person can only do one paid job at a time. But measuring the value of data is not constrained by those transactional limitations. In fact, data currency exhibits a network effect, where data can be used at the same time across multiple use cases thereby increasing its value to the organization. This makes data a powerful currency in which to invest.

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[slides] Choosing the Right Cloud | @CloudExpo @SingleHop #API #Cloud #Security

Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.

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Build Empathy With Stakeholder Interviews, Part 2: Conversation

A few weeks ago, the State Department held its first conference dedicated to user experience design, UX Exponential. The conference organizers invited me to speak, and in this two-part series I hope to summarize (as best as possible) the presentation I gave, “Foster The People: Building Empathy with Stakeholder Interviews.”

Social Business Meeting

Rawpixel Ltd/iStock/Thinkstock

In the first post of this series, I covered what stakeholder interviews are, why they’re valuable, and how to prepare for them. In this second post, I’ll cover how to actually run the interviews as well as some tips for synthesizing and socializing what you learn.

Cool? Let’s dive right in.

Running the interviews

On the day before your interviews, double check that you’ve got everything you’ll need to show up on time and collect information. This includes:

  • The date, time, and location of your meetings, as well as transportation to and from them.
  • How you’ll need to dress.
  • A print out of your questions (for reference).
  • An informed consent and recording release document that uses plain language to describe how you plan to use the information you’ll collect (and how the agency maintains the information).
  • An audio recording setup like those that come standard on most laptops and phones.
  • A video camera setup (I use my phone’s camera).
  • A notepad and a pen.

Note that the list above calls for not only a notepad, but also a voice recorder and a camera. This might sound like wearing both a belt and suspenders, but it’s an intentional choice; stakeholder interviews present the opportunity to capture a bunch of information above and beyond direct responses. Capitalize on this opportunity. Any information you collect provides a more accurate representation of the people behind the interviews. (In the spirit of belts and suspenders, though, do test your recording setup before the interviews take place!)

Some researchers also like to share their documents — both their informed consent and their list of questions — with stakeholders a day or two before the interview. I personally don’t share the list of questions first so that I can get more spontaneous responses.

Finally, consider inviting a teammate or two along to the interviews. This not only helps demystify the research process, it also helps socialize what you’re learning in real time.

Mind the gap

As you travel to your interviews, give yourself time to mentally prepare for them. Researcher Steve Portigal describes this as a “transition ritual:”

In the same way that interviews are not the same as everyday conversations, the time we spend with research participants is separate from the time we spend doing our “regular jobby stuff.” Transition rituals help interviewers switch contexts, providing a more objective interview.

For me, this sometimes means assembling the materials and equipment, checking that I have the documents, etc. That’s sufficient. For someone else, they might want to remind themselves that what they are about to do is focus on the participant. That also has the benefit of reminding them to let go of the stuff-at-the-office: the report they have to give, the meetings they’re missing, etc.

Transition rituals help clear your head and get you in a frame of mind where you can practice humble inquiry and active listening — both are essential skills for a successful interview.

Off to the races

As I mentioned in part one, many interviews ebb and flow based on the questions you ask and the tasks you observe. That said, there are some things that should always happen:

  1. Thank people for their time.
  2. Explain the purpose of your research — to better understand the problem(s) you’re trying to solve — and the scope of your work.
  3. Obtain the participant’s signature on your informed consent and recording release, then turn on your recording device and ask for permission (on the record) to record.
  4. Remind stakeholders that participation in this usability study is voluntary, and that they should feel free to raise any concerns or areas of discomfort during the session. Let them know that you can stop or pause the recording at any time. If you’re going to transcribe the interview — which I try do for every interview I conduct; more on this below — let your interviewee know that they’ll get a chance to review the transcript before you share it with the project team.
  5. Ask stakeholders to talk about themselves. Ask your stakeholder how they got involved in the thing you’re studying.
  6. Look people in the eye and give positive affirmations. Lean forward. Say things like “Wow,” or “Oh, interesting!” (when those reactions genuinely occur to you, of course).
  7. Take simple notes to show you’re paying attention. Be sure to note the exact words and phrases people use. Maybe say their own words back to them with a slight lilt (for example, if they say “I run the TPS reports every Friday,” you might respond “Run the TPS reports every Friday?” to see if they’ll explain further).
  8. Don’t reference your interview questions if you can help it. Instead, let the conversation flow naturally, and try and get people to tell stories — yes, stories — that relate to the thing you’re studying.
  9. Remember to ask “how” and “why” multiple times, and to provide blank space to give them time to think. Anna Sale, who runs the Death, Sex, and Money podcast, has some advice on how to strategically deploy awkward pauses to dive deeper — and rather than trying to summarize it here I’ll just link to the video.
  10. Finish up with “is there anything I forgot to ask?” Remind stakeholders that you’re going to talk to other people and it might be useful for you to ask a certain question as you go forward as a kind of informal poll. Also ask “do you have any questions for me?” Write these responses down.
  11. Thank your participant, turn off the recorder, and provide them with your contact information (if they need it). Let them know if or when you might to follow up with them throughout the duration of the project.

Synthesize and socialize

The hard part’s done! Yay! Now what?

Recall that the goals of this work are to raise important questions, surface constraints, build trust, and drive alignment. While the very act of conducting interviews gets you halfway there, interviews alone are not enough.

In order to really reap the benefits of stakeholder interviews, you’ll need to document your interviews and socialize what you’ve learned. This can happen a number of ways. Some designers, for example, use what they learn during stakeholder interviews to hold a kickoff meeting around a (now) more well-defined problem. Other designers use what they learn to run workshops or to inform their existing research or product design. I personally prefer to transcribe interviews.

In the world of user-centered design, transcribed interviews are one of the closest things you can get to “primary source” documents; they’re authentic accounts of the actual experiences you’re working to improve. Transcribed interviews are also really useful for sharing back with stakeholders. Everyone loves to read things that they said — they might regret it, or they might be proud of it, but they definitely want to read it. Further, sharing transcripts back with stakeholders builds trust by showing that you’ve actually listened to them, that you respect their ability to speak for themselves, and that their feedback will been taken into account and shared more broadly. What’s more, stakeholders usually add information after the fact!

As each stakeholder edits and amends their respective transcript, share that transcript with your team. I personally prefer to do this in little chunks so as to prompt more focused conversations. After your team has had a chance to emotionally process the interviews, hold a meeting to derive each stakeholder’s goals, behaviors, and pain points (based on what they said and what you’ve observed). Finally, consider holding a team meeting to compare what stakeholders said vs. your original assumptions about them (the “what,” “how,” and “why,” identified in part 1).

Next steps

Stakeholder interviews, their application as well as their synthesis, can vary wildly depending on the circumstances surrounding the projects to which they’re applied.

I’ve conducted stakeholder interviews on all of my projects over my past year at 18F, and each of them has resulted in a different kind of synthesis. On smaller projects I’ve gone straight to prototyping. On our recent onboarding sprint, Melody Kramer and I quickly realized that everyone had a slightly different understanding of the problem we were trying to solve — so we facilitated a collaborative journey mapping session. On 18F’s practice team, successive rounds of stakeholder interviews led to further research. After a lively internal debate, our team conducted a design studio.

Many teams are so anxious to get things started that they blow right past stakeholder interviews and rush to a kickoff meeting where everyone has a different understanding of the problem being solved. Don’t do this. Not only does this risk disenfranchising stakeholders, it also runs the risk of reinscribing the same patterns that led to the need for the project in the first place. Stakeholder interviews provide us with an opportunity to do things differently.

Products are only as successful as the markets they inhabit. Properly executed, stakeholder interviews help us inform our understanding and meet people where they’re at. That way everyone moves forward, together.

Citations

These resources provided information for this series. This list does not represent an endorsement of these resources by 18F or the General Services Administration.

Books
  • Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, by Edgar H. Schein
  • Interviewing Users, by Steve Portigal
  • Just Enough Research, by Erika Hall
  • Well Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, by Jon Kolko
Video

This post was originally published on the 18F blog.


by Toni Bonitto via DigitalGov

Cloud Orchestration | @CloudExpo @Pythian #DevOps #IoT #Microservices

Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Alex Lovell-Troy, Director of Solutions Engineering at Pythian, presented a roadmap that can be leveraged by any organization to plan, analyze, evaluate, and execute on moving from configuration management tools to cloud orchestration tools. He also addressed the three major cloud vendors as well as some tools that will work with any cloud.

read more


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What’s All The Fuss Around Customer Experience?

Have you been hearing the terms “Customer Experience” or “CX” a lot lately? Maybe you’re wondering how they relate to customer service, or maybe you want to learn more about CX and how it can help your customers. Whether you directly interact with customers, support front line employees, or manage program operations, your work has an impact on your agency’s customers. And it’s very important that excellent customer service be at the forefront in the federal government because we impact so many lives.

Business Concept "compass" graphic with the arrow pointing towards Customer

olm26250/iStock/Thinkstock

GSA launched the Customer Experience Community of Practice (CX-COP) in April 2015. When it launched, the CX-COP consisted of 200 members, and it grew to 600 members within its first year. That’s 300% growth in one year!

The CX-COP immediately began sharing knowledge and resources among Customer Service and Customer Experience (CX) professionals. During the first year, the group hosted several CX training sessions, on topics ranging from employee engagement to communications to turning customer data into action. The CX-COP also distributes the GovCX Update weekly newsletter to all members every Friday. This resource shares current articles, news stories, and training and networking opportunities.

They also launched the Customer Experience Toolkit, which is a resource for government employees to help their agencies improve service delivery to the public. The toolkit highlights the following topics: Strategy, Governance, Culture, Customer Understanding, Design, Measurement, Digital Services, and Collaboration.

All of those resources and activities have contributed to a lot of participation within the group and high satisfaction among members. The CX-COP is one of GSA’s most highly-rated programs, according to the most recent GSA customer satisfaction survey, issued in May. Members rated the CX-COP as “Very Good” on a 5-point scale ranging from “Very Poor” to “Very Good.” Community members used this survey to share their interests and to share what they would like to learn in this group. Such feedback is essential to ensuring the group continues to grow and succeed.

One important part of this community is the work it does to support the Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal. This CAP Goal is one of 15 cross-agency goals supporting President Obama’s Second-Term Management Agenda. It was established in March 2014 to address customer satisfaction with government services and to improve customer service across the federal government.

Marketing concept target and Customer Satisfaction on wall background

maxkabakov/iStock/Thinkstock

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index 2015 report, citizen satisfaction with federal government services is at its lowest point in 18 years, with a score of 63.9 out of 100.

Acting Commissioner Colvin, SSA, and Lisa Danzig, OMB, co-lead the Customer Service CAP Goal, serving to fulfill the goal’s mission to “Increase public satisfaction and promote positive experiences with the Federal government by making it faster and easier for individuals and businesses to complete transactions and receive quality services.”

The CX-COP worked with the CAP Goal Management Team to create a CX maturity model, based on a maturity model created by Forrester Research. The purpose of the maturity model is to conduct an assessment of agency programs and to identify opportunities for improvement. This self-assessment tool is a critical step in improving the customer experience.

The Customer Service CAP Goal also launched a government-wide Core Federal Services Council in March 2016, comprised of senior leaders of the largest, most impactful public facing programs across government. The team asked the leaders of each of these programs to complete the maturity model in order to establish a baseline for their programs.

As you can see, customer experience and customer service are more than just buzzwords in the Federal government. As Federal government employees, we are working to improve customer experience in many different ways and at all levels within our agencies and even from the White House.

If you’d like to join the CX-COP, to learn more about these important efforts, and contribute to our collective customer experience knowledge and experiences, you can complete the registration form, email Rachel or email Alison.


by Toni Bonitto via DigitalGov

Venafi to Exhibit at @DevOpsSummit | @Venafi #DevOps #IoT #CD #InfoSec

SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks. In today’s connected world, cybercriminals want to gain trusted status and remain undetected, which makes keys and certificates a prime target. Unfortunately, most security systems blindly trust keys and certificates, allowing bad guys to use them to hide in encrypted traffic, spoof websites, deploy malware, and steal data. As the Immune System for the Internet, Venafi patrols across the network, on devices, behind the firewall, and throughout the internet to determine which SSL/TLS, SSH, WiFi, VPN and mobile keys and certificates are trusted, protects those that should be trusted, and fixes or blocks those that are not.

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What Will You Do with IoT? | @ThingsExpo #BigData #IoT #IIoT #M2M #API

When the Internet of Things (IoT) started to emerge as a popular topic, I had to stop and ask myself if I was once again going to provide commentary on this emerging field. I enjoy exploring new technology shifts and illustrating how they can benefit various industries and businesses. It’s what I’ve done for the past 20 years through Java, XML, Web Services, SOA, Cloud and DevOps. However, every time I started writing on IoT I seemed to run into the same conundrum; am I commenting on this to jump on the hype bandwagon or because I see a need to represent the pragmatics of implementing and adopting this technology.

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How Docker Has Changed the DevOps Game | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Docker #Containers

Cloud computing has paved the way for programmable infrastructure, which brought extreme automation into software development lifecycle. The ability to provision resources, configuring them on the fly, deploying applications, and monitoring the entire process led to the DevOps culture where developers and the operators are collaborating throughout the application lifecycle. While provisioning and configuration are best left to tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible, one open source software that became the cornerstone of DevOps is Jenkins.

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Jul 28, 2016

Redis Data Structures | @CloudExpo @DaveNielsen #Redis #IoT #Containers

Redis is not only the fastest database, but it is the most popular among the new wave of databases running in containers. Redis speeds up just about every data interaction between your users or operational systems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Dave Nielsen, Developer Advocate, Redis Labs, will share the functions and data structures used to solve everyday use cases that are driving Redis' popularity.

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Announcing @IsomorphicHQ to Exhibit at @DevOpsSummit | #IoT #DevOps

SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web.

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Fast Growth: Supporting IT Purchasing Needs | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #ContinuousDelivery

By now, the link between IT modernization and business success is clearly defined and well understood. According to a recent survey of IT professionals, 93 percent of respondents indicated that adopting significant new technologies is at least somewhat important to their organization's long-term success, and budget limitations ranked as one of the top limitations to that adoption. I think the key problem here is that IT departments are still seen as cost centers, not as business enablers. The consequence is that IT departments get about the same budget every year, not taking into account the fact that IT has a broader and increasingly significant impact on every area of the business with every passing year. More importantly, this mindset misses the opportunity to enable IT to transform and optimize the business.

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TSX closes six points higher; Canadian dollar rises

TSX closes six points higher; Canadian dollar rises
Times Colonist - 23 minutes ago
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 15.82 points at 18,456.35, the broader S&P 500 composite index was ahead 3.48 points to 2,170.06 and the Nasdaq composite jumped 15.17 points to 5,154.98.

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TSX closes six points higher; Canadian dollar rises

UpGuard Becomes Member of the CIS | @CloudExpo @UpGuard #Cloud #Security #Analytics

UpGuard has become a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and will continue to help businesses expand visibility into their cyber risk by providing hardening benchmarks to all customers. By incorporating these benchmarks, UpGuard's CSTAR solution builds on its lead in providing the most complete assessment of both internal and external cyber risk. CIS benchmarks are a widely accepted set of hardening guidelines that have been publicly available for years. Numerous solutions exist to run CIS benchmarks, including CIS's own tool, but generating assessments that are insightful and practical for IT managers has been a persistent challenge for the space. UpGuard has been able to differentiate itself from legacy solutions by tackling that ongoing issue head on. Its data visualizations and advanced analytics enable users to find patterns in their results so that they can allocate IT resources and prioritize critical security issues.

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TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly

TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly
Times Colonist - 58 minutes ago
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 83.72 points at 18,388.45, the broader S&P 500 composite index shed 4.64 points to 2,161.94 and the Nasdaq composite lost 9.14 points to 5,139.67.

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TSX down 20 points; Canadian dollar up slightly

Announcing @910Telecom to Exhibit at @CloudExpo Silicon Valley | #IoT #M2M #API #Cloud

SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and exchanges.

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StackIQ Releases Stacki 3.2 | @DevOpsSummit @StackIQ #Linux #DevOps

StackIQ has announced the release of Stacki 3.2. Stacki is an easy-to-use Linux server provisioning tool. Stacki 3.2 delivers new capabilities that simplify the automation and integration of site-specific requirements. StackIQ is the commercial entity behind this open source bare metal provisioning tool. Since the release of Stacki in June of 2015, the Stacki core team has been focused on making the Community Edition meet the needs of members of the community, adding features and value, while maintaining the StackIQ supported Pro and Enterprise editions. This release returns some focus to the Pro and Enterprise editions, adding functionality customers have requested, and improving reporting/monitoring.

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Widgets, Mobile Apps, and SMS: Essential Agency Tools for Summer Heat Safety, Hurricane Season, and Emergency Preparedness

According to recent Pew Research Center surveys, 45 percent of American adults have tablets and 68 percent have smartphones. While the majority of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to keep up with breaking news and stay informed about what is happening in their communities, nearly half, 40 percent, also reported using their smartphones to look up government services or information.

As is the case each summer, most of the U.S. is dealing with dangerous heat waves, and coastal regions face multiple threats of tropical storms and hurricanes. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), “heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.” As of last Friday, July 22, almost 124 million people were under an Excessive Heat Warning, Excessive Heat Watch, or Heat Advisory. On Monday, July 25, The National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) reported in a 6 – 10 Day Temperature Probability Outlook that 59 percent of the country will continue to suffer extreme heat through August 4th.

A screen capture of a U.S. Heat map showing 59% of the country is expected to have higher than average temperatures from July 31 to August 4, 2016 from NOAA and NWS Climate Prediction Center website.

Additionally, there are still 4 months left in the 2016 hurricane season, which ends November 30th. Annually, there are an average of 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this month, a tropical depression formed in the eastern region of the Pacific Ocean. Hurricane Darby grew into a tropical storm, then reached its peak as a Category 3 hurricane, as it headed for Hawaii. Thankfully, the storm’s power weakened before it hit the chain of islands as a tropical storm—but it still caused flooding and property damage in its wake.

The path of Tropical Storm Darby as it passes over Hawaii, July 25, 2016.

NOAA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offer essential website tools and mobile services to help the general public, businesses, and first responders nationwide as they prepare for and deal with disasters that can result from extreme weather conditions.

FEMA Website Widgets

Content syndication is an easy way for agencies to share important, timely information with their customers. FEMA offers 6 widgets you can add to your agency’s website with one simple line of code that allows you to customize height and width dimensions and add CSS to match your site’s design:

  • FEMA App—Connects users to the main page about the app with links to download it for various mobile devices.
  • Preparedness—Helpful links covering a variety of disaster situations and resources.
  • Severe Weather—Provides links to Ready.gov and FEMA’s blog so users can find out how to prepare for emergencies.
  • Kids Fire Safety—Tips and information on how to prepare children for emergency situations.
  • Are You a Disaster Survivor?—Information for individuals and families, including how to register for federal disaster aid.
  • Private Sector—Information for businesses and communities,including how to register for federal disaster aid.

Screen capture of the FEMA website widgets Kids Fire Safety display on the left and the i frame code on the right.

The FEMA App

FEMA’s mobile app, available for free in the iTunes App StoreGoogle Play, and Blackberry World, is designed to help families prepare for a wide array of natural and man-made disasters, and can help Americans recover, should a disaster affect their lives. Some key features of the app include:

  • Screen capture of the FEMA app's Heat Advisory for the Washington, DC area on July 25, 2016.National Weather Service Alerts: The app enables users to receive weather alerts from NWS for up to 5 locations across the nation. This new feature allows users to receive push notifications on severe weather happening anywhere they select in the country, even if the phone is not located in the area, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends. To the right is one of the Heat Advisory alerts I received for the Washington, DC area, warning us of the day’s expected high—95 to 100 degrees, with a Heat Index of 108 degrees—and tips on how to reduce risk and take extra precautions.
  • Safety Tips: Tips on how to stay safe before, during, and after over 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
  • Preparation Checklist:  Helps users put together emergency kits and develop family communication plans to determine how they will reunite with loved ones in the event of a disaster.
  • Disaster Reporter: Allows users to take a photograph in a disaster area and submit it, along with a short text description. All approved disaster-related photos and text are posted within the app and online.

FEMA app Disaster Reporter Map with photo from a U.S. location showing winter storm damage.

  • Maps of Disaster Resources: Users can locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
  • Apply for Assistance: The app provides easy access to apply for federal disaster assistance.
  • Blog: The FEMA Blog is included for users.
  • Information in Spanish: The app defaults to Spanish-language content for iOS and Android devices that have Spanish set as their default language.

FEMA app in Spanish.

The SAMHSA Disaster Response App

Utilities such as electricity and phone service often go down during natural disasters. This can create many difficulties for disaster survivors, particularly those in need of mental health or substance use support and resources. SAMHSA has a free Disaster Response App for behavioral health professionals which provides them with trauma- and disaster-related resources at their fingertips.

The app has 3 main sections:

The Disaster Response App's Treatment Locator shows 50 facilities within Washington, DCPrepare to Deploy
Like the online version, responders can use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator within the Disaster Response App to find up to 50 in-patient, out-patient, and long-term care facilities across various emergency services within a 100-mile radius. These locations can be searched for and saved before deployment in case Internet connections in the field may be down.

On-the-Ground Assistance
An extensive collection of resources, including (but not limited to): the Treatment Locator, Hotlines and Critical Contacts, a Publications Directory (PDF files in English, Spanish, and Punjabi can be sent via text or email to survivors and their family members or caregivers, and to fellow colleagues), and a Behaviors and Interventions section that provides guidance on connecting with and providing services to survivors of all ages and different cultures, and tips for problem-solving and substance abuse indicators.

Post-deployment Guide
Provides content, links, and helpline phone numbers to assist responders who may need training and/or emotional support as they transition in returning to their regular duties.


The SAMHSA Behavioral Health Disaster Response App is available for free in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, and BlackBerry World. Since it launched in 2014, the app received a Silver Mobile Web Health Award from the National Health Information Center and has been downloaded over 8,200 times; use of the app, instead of printed Disaster Kits, has been estimated to have saved the agency over $73,000 in printing and shipping costs.

4FEMA Text Messages

The public can use FEMA’s Text Message program, 4FEMA, in a couple of ways:

  • Search for open shelters and open disaster recovery centers by zip code
  • Receive safety tips for specific disaster types

Screen capture of a user signing up for text messages from FEMA for hurricane information.If one doesn’t have the FEMA app installed, they can text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find open shelters, and text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 to find open disaster recovery centers.

Users can also subscribe to a variety of lists by sending a text message to 43362 with disaster-specific keywords such as HURRICANE, WILDFIRE, EARTHQUAKE, BLACKOUT, or PREPARE, among others. These safety tips are received bi-monthly and users can unsubscribe or resubscribe at any time.

For the full list of current keywords, visit FEMA’s Text Message page. Standard message and data rates from one’s carrier apply, and FEMA stresses that the Text Message program is not a substitute for calling local fire, EMS, police, or 9-1-1 during an emergency.

Additional Resources

NWS / NOAA heat-related auto deaths infographic.

To see how your agency can help NWS spread important weather safety messages on social media, visit their Summer Hurricanes and Summer Heat sections. For additional weather safety information, historical data, and additional apps, check out the following links:

You can download other helpful mobile government apps with just a few clicks from our USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory. Federal agencies can get their apps listed in the directory by using the Federal Mobile Products Registry.

Got a great idea for a mobile product or service and need help planning or releasing it? Contact the Mobile Application Development Program. Are you a federal employee interested in how agencies are using mobile technologies and building government-wide solutions? Join the MobileGov Community of Practice with your .gov or .mil email address.


by Toni Bonitto via DigitalGov

Security Considerations for API Testing | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Security

It seems like every day we see reminders of the importance of thorough security testing from all areas of the software world. Security has become an especially critical consideration for APIs in recent years. Organizations rely on APIs to share and receive information - either from a third party or between internal applications - so the level of security between these applications is critical for anyone who uses them.

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NoviFlow Chooses @IXIAcom to Validate SDN Switch Performance | @CloudExpo #SDN #Cloud #DataCenter

Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) has announced that NoviFlow Inc.has deployed IxNetwork® to validate the company’s designs and accelerate the delivery of its proven, reliable products. Based in MontrĂ©al, NoviFlow Inc. supports network carriers, hyperscale data center operators, and enterprises seeking greater network control and flexibility, network scalability, and the capacity to handle extremely large numbers of flows, while maintaining maximum network performance. To meet these requirements, NoviFlow introduced the NoviSwitch, an advanced commercial-grade OpenFlow switching solution that offers up to 240 gigabits per second of true wire-speed performance.

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IIoT and Software Quality | @ThingsExpo #IoT #IIoT #M2M #InternetOfThings

There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Quality is the central issue when safety, security or human life is at risk if software fails.

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Data Platforms as a Service | @CloudExpo @Pythian #API #Azure #BigData

With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right provider and with the proper expectations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Christo Kutrovsky, a Principal Consultant at Pythian, compared the NoSQL and SQL offerings from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, their similarities, differences and use cases for each one based on client projects.

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Jul 27, 2016

Always-On Enterprise with @Veeam | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #DataCenter

"When you think about the data center today, there's constant evolution, The evolution of the data center and the needs of the consumer of technology change, and they change constantly," stated Matt Kalmenson, VP of Sales, Service and Cloud Providers at Veeam Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.

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Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates as Price of Oil Slumps to US$42

Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates as Price of Oil Slumps to US$42
Exchange Rates UK - 9 hours ago
Today finds the canadian dollar to pound spot exchange rate priced at 0.573. The live inter-bank CAD-EUR spot rate is quoted as 0.686 today.
Pound to Canadian Dollar Forecast to Decline into August, But Crude Oil Prices ... - Pound Sterling Live
Sterling falls against Australian Dollar - Thinking Australia News

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Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates as Price of Oil Slumps to US$42

USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher Despite Less Dovish FOMC Statement

USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher Despite Less Dovish FOMC Statement
MarketPulse (blog) - 18 minutes ago
The Canadian dollar is higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve ended its two day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and released its statement holding interest rates unchanged.
Dollar Traders Gear up for Fed Word - Baystreet.ca
US dollar declines ahead of Fed statement - Xinhua

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USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher Despite Less Dovish FOMC Statement

Data Science | @ThingsExpo #IoT #BigData #DigitalTransformation

You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead at PHEMI, discussed how data science is changing our ideas of what’s possible with data, using examples and case studies drawn from finance, precision medicine, and genomics.

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Managing Federal Information as a Strategic Resource

Summary: Today, OMB is releasing an update to Circular A-130, the Federal Government’s governing document for the management of Federal information resources.

Today the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is releasing an update to the Federal Government’s governing document for the management of Federal information resources: Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource.

USA Digital Map

charcoa1/iStock/Thinkstock

The way we manage information technology (IT), security, data governance, and privacy has rapidly evolved since A-130 was last updated in 2000. In today’s digital world, we are creating and collecting large volumes of data to carry out the Federal Government’s various missions to serve the American people. This data is duplicated, stored, processed, analyzed, and transferred with ease. As government continues to digitize, we must ensure we manage data to not only keep it secure, but also allow us to harness this information to provide the best possible service to our citizens.

Today’s update to Circular A-130 gathers in one resource a wide range of policy updates for Federal agencies regarding cybersecurity, information governance, privacy, records management, open data, and acquisitions. It also establishes general policy for IT planning and budgeting through governance, acquisition, and management of Federal information, personnel, equipment, funds, IT resources, and supporting infrastructure and services. In particular, A-130 focuses on three key elements to help spur innovation throughout the government:

  • Real Time Knowledge of the Environment. In today’s rapidly changing environment, threats and technology are evolving at previously unimagined speeds. In such a setting, the Government cannot afford to authorize a system and not look at it again for years at a time. In order to keep pace, we must move away from periodic, compliance-driven assessment exercises and, instead, continuously assess our systems and build-in security and privacy with every update and re-design. Throughout the Circular, we make clear the shift away from check-list exercises and toward the ongoing monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of Federal information resources.
  • Proactive Risk Management. To keep pace with the needs of citizens, we must constantly innovate. As part of such efforts, however, the Federal Government must modernize the way it identifies, categorizes, and handles risk to ensure both privacy and security. Significant increases in the volume of data processed and utilized by Federal resources requires new ways of storing, transferring, and managing it Circular A-130 emphasizes the need for strong data governance that encourages agencies to proactively identify risks, determine practical and implementable solutions to address said risks, and implement and continually test the solutions. This repeated testing of agency solutions will help to proactively identify additional risks, starting the process anew.
  • Shared Responsibility. Citizens are connecting with each other in ways never before imagined. From social media to email, the connectivity we have with one another can lead to tremendous advances. The updated A-130 helps to ensure everyone remains responsible and accountable for assuring privacy and security of information – from managers to employees to citizens interacting with government services.

This update to Circular A-130 underpins many of the policies and technological advances the Federal Government has undergone thus far. And it reflects the extensive thoughts and feedback of the public and stakeholders across government and industry. Going forward, A-130 will continue to be the foundation for government’s ability to innovate, service its citizens, and further secure our nation’s valuable data and information.

Find out more about the revised and updated A-130 Circular via the fact sheet below.

Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.

Howard Shelanski is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Anne Rung is the U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer.

Marc Groman is the Senior Advisor for Privacy at the Office of Management and Budget.

American Flag on button of black keyboard

Tashatuvango/iStock/Thinkstock

FACT SHEET: A-130: Managing Information as a Strategic Resource

OMB Circular A-130 provides guidance to Federal agencies on general policy for the planning, budgeting, governance, acquisition, and management of Federal information, personnel, equipment, funds, information technology (IT) resources and supporting infrastructure and services. OMB has revised Circular A-130 to reflect changes in law and advances in technology, as well as to ensure consistency with Executive Orders, Presidential Directives, and other OMB policy.

The revised Circular consolidates in one guidance document a wide range of policy updates in information governance, acquisitions, records management, open data, workforce, security, and privacy. In particular, the revisions highlight requirements from the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act to improve the acquisition and management of information resources. Also discussed are electronic signature requirements in accordance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

The revised Circular also emphasizes and clarifies the role of both privacy and security in the Federal information lifecycle. Importantly, the revised Circular represents a shift from viewing security and privacy requirements as compliance exercises to understanding security and privacy as crucial components of a comprehensive, strategic, and continuous risk-based program.

The updated Circular promotes innovation, enables information sharing, and fosters the wide-scale and rapid adoption of new technologies while protecting and enhancing security and privacy. The Circular can be previewed HERE and is effective July 28, 2016.

Appendix I: Responsibilities for Protecting and Managing Federal Information Resources

This Appendix establishes minimum requirements for Federal information security programs and assigns responsibilities for the security of information and information systems. It also establishes minimum requirements for Federal privacy programs, assigns responsibilities for privacy program management, and describes how agencies should take a coordinated approach to implementing information security and privacy controls.

Among other things, these revisions require agencies to:

  • Perform ongoing reauthorization of systems (replacing the triennial reauthorization process) to better protect agency information systems;
  • Continuously monitor, log, and audit user activity to protect against insider threats;
  • Periodically test response procedures and document lessons learned to improve incident response;
  • Encrypt moderate and high impact information at rest and in transit;
  • Ensure terms in contracts are sufficient to protect Federal information;
  • Implement measures to protect against supply chain threats;
  • Provide identity assurance for secure government services; and,
  • Ensure agency personnel are accountable for following security and privacy policies and procedures.

The revised Appendix I also requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop guidance leveraging its Cybersecurity Framework and Risk Management Framework to improve agency information security.

Appendix II: Responsibilities for Managing Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Appendix II outlines some of general responsibilities for Federal agencies managing personally identifiable information (PII) – including PII collected for statistical purposes under a pledge of confidentiality. While Appendix I focuses on both security and privacy, Appendix II is devoted to summarizing the responsibilities for Federal agencies managing information resources involving PII.

Among other things, Appendix II summarizes requirements for Federal agencies in the following areas:

  • Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive, strategic, agency-wide privacy program;
  • Designating Senior Agency Officials for Privacy;
  • Managing and training an effective privacy workforce;
  • Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments(PIA);
  • Applying NIST’s Risk Management Framework to manage privacy risks in the information system development life cycle;
  • Using the fair information practice principles when evaluating information systems, processes, programs, and activities that affect privacy;
  • Maintaining an inventory of PII and reducing PII usage to the minimum necessary for the proper performance of authorized agency functions; and,
  • Limiting the creation, collection, use, processing, storage, maintenance, dissemination, and disclosure of PII to that which is legally authorized, relevant, and reasonably deemed necessary for the proper performance of agency functions.

The prior version of Appendix II (which was historically issued as Appendix I) described agency responsibilities for reporting and publication under the Privacy Act of 1974. This OMB guidance is being revised and will be issued as OMB Circular A-108, Federal Agency Responsibilities for Review, Reporting, and Publication under the Privacy Act, to be released this year.

This post was originally published on the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Blog.


by Toni Bonitto via DigitalGov

Facing SaaS App Reality | @CloudExpo #API #SaaS #Cloud

I'm often guilty of sticking my head in the sand, ignoring very small details that could turn into big problems later on. Like when Netflix told me my credit card was about to expire, but it seemed like such a boring task, so I ignored them...till the day Netflix stopped working. I grumbled at the TV for awhile, then wasted another half hour remembering my login details and finding the credit card update page. Clearly, I should have followed the easy link in the first place. It was my oversight that led me to waste time and my good mood updating my info. I consider missing my favorite television an actual problem in life, but realistically, it's a minor problem that only affected me (and the people I live with. I was pretty grumpy).

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The Data Briefing: The Census Business Builder—Mashing Up Census Data to Help Build Businesses

The Census Bureau conducts more surveys than just the Constitutionally-mandated Decennial Census. There is also the American Community Survey, the Economic Census, the County Business Patterns series, statistics on Nonemployer businesses, and the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons.  On their own, each survey is full of useful information for researchers, local and state governments, and entrepreneurs. However, how valuable would the data be if it were mixed and displayed geographically?

Mixing Census survey data and geographical data is the idea behind the Census Business Builder. Developed from an idea generated at a Census Bureau hackathon, the Census Business Builder helps entrepreneurs research business ideas. As the creators behind the Census Business Builder explain, many entrepreneurs start a business “from the heart.” The entrepreneur has an idea and often does little or no research on the location where he or she will open the business. However, with the Census Business Builder, the entrepreneur can develop a customized report drawing from Census data, spending data from a third party, and (coming soon) imported data sets.

Screen capture of the Census Business Builder, Small Business Edition homepage.

The entrepreneur starts by choosing one of 53 business types. I’ve decided that I want to open a pizza restaurant in College Park, MD. I click on the “Food Services” button and then “Fast Food.”  I then enter “Prince George’s County” as my location and view the map. After the map is produced, I can apply different map variables to determine my potential customers, view their spending habits, and map out potential competitors. The map displays many fast food restaurants with a young population that would be an ideal demographic. Their spending habits tell me I will need to keep the pizza moderately priced. My final task is to have the application build a report for me.

The Census Bureau has demonstrated the Census Business Builder at several entrepreneurial conferences to enthusiastic acclaim. More enhancements are planned for future versions, including full mobile support. The full mobile support is especially exciting because this can allow entrepreneurs to perform competitive analysis while they are at a potential business site.

Because of the success of the Census Business Builder, the Census Bureau released a companion tool: the Regional Analyst Edition. The Regional Analyst Edition provides similar information as the Census Business Builder and is intended for use by state and local governments. Both applications are the first Census applications to be released in the cloud. The tools leverage ESRI’s ArcGIS platform, the Census Bureau’s TIGERWeb geography API* (application programming interface), and the Census Bureau’s data APIs.

Screen capture of the Census Business Builder, Regional Analyst Edition homepage.

The Census Business Builder and the Regional Analyst Edition demonstrate several innovations in creating and implementing federal government data applications. First, the Census Business Builder was created using agile project management after being conceived in a hackathon. Second, both applications illustrate the power of combining data sets to create new data products. Third, both demonstrate the power of building API-powered federal government applications in the cloud to serve the needs of the American entrepreneur and American public.

(ESRI and ArcGIS are used for illustrative purposes and does not imply endorsement by the federal government or any specific federal agencies.)

*API – Application Programming Interface—how software programs and databases share data and functions with each other. Check out APIs in Government for more information.

Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends.

Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at BillBrantley.com. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA.


by Bill Brantley via DigitalGov

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