June 12, 2011    /    by

What is a healthy cyber ecosystem?

Sometimes we come across a new word or phrase that is not only different, but intriguing. Which brings me to the topic of today's blog: What is a healthy cyber ecosystem?

Sometimes we come across a new word or phrase that is not only different, but intriguing. Occasionally these new terms or ideas really catch-on and become a part of mainstream thinking and/or technology adoption. While it is rare, these terms can even become a part of everyday language for technology or even non-IT professionals. For example, concepts like “the consumerization of IT” (initially coined by Gartner) are becoming more well-known to techies and phrase like “cloud computing” are showing up in everyday TV commercials. These terms were virtually unknown a decade (or less) ago.

 Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog: What is a healthy cyber ecosystem? If you haven’t yet heard people using these words, I suspect that you will soon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a white paper in March 2011 entitled, Enabling Distributed Security in Cyberspace: Building a Healthy and Resilient Cyber Ecosystem with Automated Collective Action. What got me thinking about this even more was the term “ecosystem” showing up in recent meetings with technology vendors. READ MORE

May 29, 2011    /    by

Funniest Spam: The Joke is On Them

Recently I decided, if you cant beat the spammers, I might as well just relax on Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy a good laugh on them.

Like most IT professionals, I get too much email. Yes - we block spam (over 92% of inbound email traffic from the Internet at last check). But still, unwanted “stuff” gets through…

At home, I use Gmail, and Google does a decent job at separating out the unwanted spam. Nevertheless…, I occasionally check the spam folder to see if any non-spam (important email) is in the wrong place. Some of these funny messages came from there as well. READ MORE

May 21, 2011    /    by

We're Up, Tired, But Smiling Again

This has been a rough week for our technology operations. The good news is that our critical Secretary of State systems are up and offices are open and helping customers.

This has been a rough week for our technology operations. The various headlines about two different (and unrelated) Michigan government outages tell you why our team is a bit behind on our sleep. The good news is that our critical Secretary of State systems are up and offices are open and helping customers. I’m happy again on a beautiful spring Saturday morning in Lansing.

Here are a few of the background articles covering the outages this week: READ MORE

May 14, 2011    /    by

Digital Wallets: The Next Big Thing?

I was recently asked: What is the next big thing in technology?

 I was recently asked: “What’s the next big thing in technology?”

My colleague wanted to know what will be hot a year or two from now that isn’t yet on the radar for most government leaders, end users at work or teenagers at home. Over lunch, my longtime friend who was asking the tough questions challenged me to: READ MORE

April 23, 2011    /    by

Amazon Instability Shakes the Cloud: What's Next?

Youre never as good as you look when you're winning, and never as bad as you look when you're losing. I think that adage applies beyond sports to many aspects of life and business including the management of computer operations connected to the global Internet in 2011.

There’s a popular sports adage that goes something like: “You’re never as good as you look when you’re winning, and never as bad as you look when you’re losing.” I’m not sure who said it first, but I think the wisdom applies beyond sports to many aspects of life and business – including the management of computer operations connected to the global Internet in 2011.

Make no mistake, the latest Amazon’s Elastic Compute (EC2) outage is a very big deal. Global coverage has landed on the front pages of major newspapers and magazines. A Forbes blog boldly proclaimed, “The Day The Cloud Died.”   READ MORE

April 11, 2011    /    by

How Much Social Networking is Right for Government?

How important is social networking to leading companies right now? Very important. In some cases, it may even be the most important priority. Its time for state and local government agencies to reexamine these social networking trends and build new strategies to engage partners with social media.

How important is social networking to leading companies right now? Very important. In some cases, it may even be the most important priority.

For example, after taking over as CEO at Google, Larry Page issued a memo announcing that employee bonuses will be tied to their social networking success. READ MORE

March 27, 2011    /    by

Why FedRAMP Matters to a Government Cloud Near You

What is FedRAMP? How does it help with cloud-computing environments? Can we use it here in our state? I expect these questions will be asked across America over the next few years in the halls of state and local governments.

What is FedRAMP? How does it help with cloud-computing environments? Can we use it here in our state? I expect these questions will be asked across America over the next few years in the halls of state and local governments.

The federal government is well down the path to defining security controls required in cloud computing. State and local government officials need to take notice and leverage this excellent federal work. If not, the many benefits of cloud computing will be overcome by the tough challenges in this new environment. READ MORE

March 20, 2011    /    by

Browser Battle Stays Hot: Microsoft IE9 is Latest Entry

Microsoft released the new Internet Explorer (IE) 9 this past week, and government enterprises across the world now have another important decision to make.

 Microsoft released the new Internet Explorer (IE) 9 browser this past week, and government enterprises across the world now have another important product decision to make.

 According to USA Today, “IE still holds a 54.3% market share, followed by Firefox (17.8%), Chrome (9%) and Safari (5%), according to Net Applications. It remains to be seen whether IE9 — which only works on Windows 7 and Windows Vista PCs; Windows XP users must stick with IE8 — can stem IE’s steady market share decline…. IE9’s distinguishing capabilities is the inclusion of a ‘Do Not Track’ privacy mechanism that’s similar to a privacy feature introduced by Chrome.” READ MORE

March 12, 2011    /    by

Helping Japan Recover - Governments Join Emergency Effort

As Japan strives to recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunamis, global governments are sending aid in a variety of forms.

As Japan strives to recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunami, global governments are sending aid in a variety of forms. From emergency relief personnel, food, water and equipment to technical assistance in search & rescue operations and reestablishing critical infrastructure, the needs are great. But what are governments and individuals doing now? How are we helping both individually and corporately?

Actions Already Taken READ MORE

February 26, 2011    /    by

Cyber-Security Action on National Governors Association (NGA) Meeting Agenda

As state leaders gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend for the 2011 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, one topic on the agenda is cyber-security. Experts in the field will be addressing questions like: What threats in cyber-space do we now face? What are the potential ramifications of these cyber-threats? What steps can governments take now?

As state leaders gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend for the 2011 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, one topic on the agenda is cyber-security. Experts in the field will be addressing questions like: What threats in cyber-space do we face? What are the potential ramifications of these cyber-threats? What steps can governments take now?

A NGA news release highlighted the importance of this first meeting since the November 2010 elections. NGA Chair Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "We have many challenges to tackle in the days ahead. However, with these challenges come great opportunities, and I look forward to working with fellow governors to find solutions and take necessary actions to put our states on the path to economic recovery."  READ MORE