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DOD adds cloud tools amid telework surge

Facing a surge of teleworkers, the Department of Defense launched a new cloud environment from Microsoft to lessen strain on its networks. The Commercial Virtual Remove (CVR) environment can handle “For Official Use Only” documents and is designed to support the military’s entire 4-million-strong workforce both at home and in military installations around the world. According to an Air Force news release, the DOD CIO "worked with Department cybersecurity experts and our commercial partners to ensure the right cybersecurity and monitoring capabilities are in place for the CVR Environment." The environment is based on the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool and gives service members, contractors and civilians access to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. There also are built-in video and audio communications tools, and the entire platform is integrated with Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage. Jackson has more on the new cloud environment.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

A bad outlook for EIS

The Government Accountability Office isn't optimistic about the federal government's new telecommunications contract, worrying that it may result in service disruptions and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost cost savings as agencies modernize their networks. GAO is out with a new report on the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions after surveying 19 agencies that spent at least $10 million on their EIS transitions in fiscal 2018. It found that only one, the Small Business Administration, issued all its expected task orders by the Sept. 30 deadline. “By waiting until close to the end of the current contracts to finish the transition, these agencies are at risk of experiencing disruptions in service if any issues arise that result in transition delays, such as inadequate human capital resources or the need to transition previously unidentified services,” the report says. Dave Nyczepir has more from GAO.

DOD pays $429M to support legacy EHR

You've likely heard about DOD's work to develop and deploy a modernized electronic health record system called MHS Genesis. Until that platform is completely rolled out — probably sometime in 2024 — the department will have to maintain parts of its legacy system. DOD announced a contract this week it awarded to CliniComp International to do just that for up to $429 million. CliniComp has been providing its Essentris inpatient medical record system to 59 U.S. military hospitals since 2011 as part of the legacy Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA). Under this new contract, the company will support maintenance during DOD's “phased transition” to MHS Genesis, and then decommission the system after it’s done. Billy Mitchell has more.

Navy IT after Modly

Outgoing Navy Secretary Thomas Modly will probably be remembered for other things than as an advocate for the Navy's IT modernization. But during his leadership, he did play a huge role in shaping the service's current cybersecurity priorities and elevating its CIO position. Modly resigned from his secretary role Tuesday after he faced public criticism for ousting the commanding officer of an aircraft carrier who had raised concerns about the Navy’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak on his ship. Navy CIO Aaron Weis told FedScoop Modly's strategy for IT modernization will continue in his absence. “I foresee no changes in the direction or strategy regarding my role as Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer,” Weis said. “We are continuing to work the path outlined by Secretary Spencer in 2019 and followed through by Secretary Modly.” More on Modly's Navy IT legacy.

CISA suggests telework adaptations to TIC 3.0

With federal employees teleworking en masse, the Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance on how to adapt the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) 3.0 policy to remote work scenarios. Telework presents “unique” cybersecurity risks necessitating new security patterns and capabilities to detect, mitigate and prevent such threats, according to temporary TIC guidance released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The guidance presents three alternatives for teleworkers to communicate with agency-sanctioned cloud services. Dave has more from CISA.


Improve security practices with better data insights

Federal agencies preparing modern cyberdefense plans can minimize the ultimate impact of an attack with better insights across their networks. That’s why IT executives should consider investing in a platform that’s able collect, leverage and understand enterprise data, according to a new Splunk report. The report details how modern platform solutions, capable of operating as a “security nerve center,” are better suited than many specialized tools at identifying gaps in network defenses. Read more here.

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