Tag Archives: it

GovDirect Specials on Classroom Projectors & More

I hope this finds you well! Just in time for the back to school rush, here are some of the latest technology solutions for education:

Panasonic Projectors — from now through Sept. 30th get a FREE 5 year warranty on select models. See the line-up of projector options on our website here.

– Save space and securely charge tablets and other mobile devices with Bretford Rolling Store & Charge Carts.

– Security Cameras, high-resolution displays, and more IT and AV technology can be found in our linecard.

Use purchasing contracts? We sell technology solutions via contract vehicles such as GSA, PEPPM, NASPO, and several others. Please reach out for more information if you have any questions. To schedule a call or product demo, please reach out to sales@govdirect.com and we will get to work!

4 Steps Public Sector IT Must Take to Become Agile

We’re reminded every day that the pace of innovation just gets faster and faster.

Agility, in the eyes of the ‘business’ typically presents itself as tangible capabilities that can be seen, touched, and experienced. In the domain of IT these are usually instantiated in the form of some sort of application or mobile app.

Agreeing that the pace of change is constantly increasing, then it follows that corporate IT risks being left behind if it doesn’t also keep with the pace, specifically in these four fundamental areas:

  1. Structure

IT needs to shift to an agile structure, which some Public Sector organizations have embraced. An agile structure should empower each person in IT with the opportunity to deliver. Adopting a dev/ops model in IT is growing in popularity because it increases the empowerment of IT teams by blending development with IT operations. Classically, these IT functions were separated into two separate teams but more IT teams are finding that combining those functions leads to faster delivery of business capabilities.

Agile scrum teams are another structural change advocated by GDS in IT. These teams are defined to help accelerate delivery through iterative, “sprint-based” development. Both of these examples require that Public Sector IT change their structure, which may mean breaking down fiefdoms and empires, so don’t underestimate the fact that there could be strong resistance to these structural changes.

  1. Mindset

Typically, in the private sector, IT has truly become a team sport, because technical decisions are being made in a more distributed fashion as the business functions become more tech-savvy and more technically empowered. Within the Public Sector however, IT needs to be thought of and act more like a broker of solutions, rather than the gate-keeper of any and all things technical. IT should be empowered to offer pragmatic options to solve a particular business challenge.

We need to stop negatively labelling the non-IT business power-users as “shadow IT” and instead embrace them by providing self-service solutions that they can easily exploit. Our goals should be enabling the business teams to do the things that, in the past, only IT could do. We should adopt a self-service mindset.

  1. Tools

Dev/ops, continuous integration, and agile development often require new tools. The old legacy development tools need to be replaced with tools designed to fully support speed of delivery demanded. Some of these tools are open-source which requires a mindset change in some Agencies and IT teams which perceive open-source as inherently insecure. Appropriate use of open-source needn’t expose to undue risk.

Much has been written about the possibility that open-source is actually more secure than closed-source, given that more code reviews and testing typically happen in open-source. Maven, Puppet, Chef, and Jenkins are just a few examples of the popular open-source solutions that are designed to speed IT delivery and improve quality of those deliverables.

  1. Knowledge

Public Sector IT can empower the organization through a “knowledge uplift.” Given that architectures are much more distributed and much more cloud-based, IT needs to become the cloud architecture experts. We are seeing a resurgence in the need for enterprise architecture and the expectation grows in the times of austerity that IT is not beholden to external organizations and understands “how it all works.” This requires a desire by IT teams to expand their knowledge to understand the bigger picture and not just a specific technical domain. Their technical knowledge and experience needs to be combined with solid business knowledge – including business goals and business operations.

Our recommendation is to push your architects out of their comfort zone and get them educated about cloud architectures, both formally and informally. Formally occurs through training and certifications and informally occurs through networking with their peers.

To discover what solutions GovDirect can offer for Public Sector IT teams, call 888-TOUGH-31 for more.

NEW Healthcare Technology Updates from GovDirect

There are several exciting new technologies recently announced to improve productivity in healthcare environments.  Please review the items below while considering any changes to your hardware or infrastructure this summer.

– The fully rugged and detachable CF-33 Toughbook from Panasonic was released a couple of weeks ago. This device is ideal for both tablet and laptop applications and can endure repeated cleaning using chemical solutions as well as drops and spills.

– Got big data that’s moving to the cloud or need server optimization? Find out how Cloudscape identifies and maps your applications into groups that make organizing and migrating your data doable, without the spreadsheets.

– Kensington has a full range of technology accessories ranging from privacy screens to keyed laptop locks, seen here.

– GovDirect also supplies Surface Pro devices. Tablets like these can be locked up and stored securely between shifts in the Bretford Store & Charge cart shown here.

We offer a free demo program and can assist with grant funding. If you are looking to enhance productivity with ergonomic technology, please see our line card and reach out to sales@govdirect.com with any questions about the technolgy we offer.

8 Cybersecurity Challenges Facing Higher Education

Chief information security officers grapple with the fast-paced cyberwar waged on higher education.

The number 1 issue for higher education IT leaders this year is information security, according to EDUCAUSE leaving chief information security officers the task of combating a variety of issues as they try to keep their campuses safe from cyber criminals. Information security regularly shows up on the EDUCAUSE Top 10 list, though it earned the first spot this year.

Universities are in an expensive arms race scrambling to buy new tools and revise tactics to counter the latest cyberattacks.  Meanwhile, the attackers find ways around the tools, switch strategies and hit different targets. Cyber security continues to be an ever moving target.

Whatever the outcome, this can be expensive for Universities.  If they lose a fight, they’ll get hit with financial losses. If they win a fight, they probably invested plenty of money in a good security program.

In this race, chief information security officers have to make choices about what security risks they will tackle first leaving some to fall to the bottom of the priority list, which is why so many universities were hit by networked printer hacks this past spring. While the hack was annoying, it didn’t shut down research and education, which were much higher priorities. That said, this hack is a harbinger of some of the challenges that the Internet of Things could bring to the field.

Chief information security officers cited eight major challenges they’re dealing with today.

  1. Phishing

Just under a third of users opened emails in 2015 that were designed to trick them into clicking a malicious link or downloading malicious software attachments, according to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, which analyzed 2,260 breaches and covered more than 100,000 incidents. That’s up from 23 percent last year.

  1. User education

Students have a full load, faculty work 60 hours a week, and the rest of the staff members are working on teaching, learning and research. With these busy schedules, cybersecurity awareness often takes a backseat to teaching and learning.

  1. Cloud security

Cloud computing works well for the IT side of the university, but it also presents challenges for Chief Information Security Officers.

The cloud has taken off like crazy, and it’s a great help, but at the same time, it’s complicated from an information security perspective because there’s a lot of due diligence that has to take place.

  1. High-profile information security strategy 

Security doesn’t always top the list of university leaders’ priorities. But with risks and consequences rising, it’s important to get security on the radar at the executive level and establish a comprehensive strategy that has buy-in from the top down.

  1. Next-generation security technology planning

In this expensive arms race, it’s difficult for universities to catch up with the tools that the cybersecurity industry creates given the limited resources they have, and they have to figure out a plan for how they will make sure their security tools are as up to date as possible.

  1. Identity and access management

Universities also deal with the challenge of putting systems in place that will control who can access different applications and what level of access they need.

  1. Governance over data security

When universities aren’t centralized, it’s more challenging to govern data security.

  1. Unsecure personal devices

With faculty members and students bringing so many devices on campus, the security staff members don’t have the opportunity to make sure those devices are safe and secure.

To tackle these challenges, Chief Information Security Officers suggests three standard approaches that will help reduce information security risks:

  • A proactive, deep-defense approach
  • User training
  • Higher education collaboration among institutions

The strategies will vary depending on each institution’s risk factors and management plan for those risk factors. If you’re looking to keep your higher education institution safe let GovDirect help! Visit GovDirect.com or email sales@govdirect.com for more information.