Concurrent Technologies Corp. has been granted approval by the Federal Risk Authorization and Management Program (FedRAMP) to operate the firm’s virtual desktop software-as-a-service solution.
CTC’s Unclassified Remote Hosted Desktop (URHD) platform gives government agencies the ability to access applications and data through a user-definable virtual workspace, full virtual desktop, mobile cloud or light-weight clients including PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Originally developed for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, URHD is the first SaaS solution to be granted a provisional authority to operate (PTO) by FedRAMP, the first to deliver a virtual desktop environment and the first to have an agency sponsor.
CTC used Autonomic Resources ARC-P infrastructure-as-a-service for a portion of its offering, demonstrating “the ability of cloud service providers to partner and enhance service offerings to the federal government, while also saving time and money by leveraging a previously authorized provider's environment," Matthew Goodrich, program manager for FedRAMP at the General Services Administration, said in a CTC statement.
CTC partnered with FedRAMP-approved Autonomic Resources for IaaS delivery. Knowledge Consulting Group, a FedRAMP-accredited third party assessor, independently verified that the URHD met FedRAMP requirements.
Posted on Jan 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM0 comments
The National Institutes for Standards and Technology is requesting comments on its Draft Special Publication (SP) 800-152, A Profile for U.S. Federal Cryptographic Key Management Systems. SP 800-152 contains requirements for the design, implementation, procurement, installation, configuration, management, operation, and use of Cryptographic Key Management Systems (CKMS) by federal organizations.
CKMS includes the computers, software, modules, communication, and roles assumed by one or more authorized individuals when managing and using cryptographic key management services.
This draft profile specifies topics that should be considered by a CKMS designer when selecting capabilities that a CKMS will have and the cryptographic key management services it will support.
This profile replicates all of the requirements that must be satisfied in a CKMS and its design documentation, and it includes information about installing, configuring, operating and maintaining a federal CKMS.
Comments should be sent to FederalCKMSProfile@nist.gov by March 5, 2014, with “Comments on SP 800-152” on the subject line.
Posted on Jan 09, 2014 at 12:10 PM0 comments
The Food and Drug Administration tapped a Web-based digital scanning service to repair a monthslong backlog of reports submitted to its drug safety database.
The FDA last June notified the public that “unforeseen issues in its data entry operations” had slowed its ability to record reports submitted to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), a database of dangerous drug interactions and other accidents.
The FDA receives about 900,000 adverse drug event reports annually, of which 90 percent are electronic and 10 percent are submitted on paper.
In order to accelerate data entry, the FDA announced a deal with Captricity, a digital optical character recognition scanning service, to speed its paper-reports processing.
Captricity used both its OCR scanning technology and manual data entry by workers supplied by Amazon Mechanical Turk to digitize the paper reports. Amazon Mechanical Turk is an electronic service that solicits individuals via the Internet for digital freelance work.
Captricity, which is a product of the Code for America Accelerator program, offers a software-as-a-service scanning application that gives customers a high degree of control and choice over what content to extract from a document.
The content is presented in a machine readable format. An application programming interface is also available for use by developers. The company has said its solution is as accurate as manual data entry for the FDA, but eight times cheaper and 50 times faster.
Using the service, the FDA was able to reduce its “backlog to zero” in a matter of weeks, the company’s CEO Kuang Chen told CivSource.
The company has also received authority to operate within the FDA based on FedRAMP moderate security protocols. Captricity’s user data is also stored on Amazon’s FedRAMP compliant clouds.
Posted on Jan 08, 2014 at 11:49 AM0 comments
BlackBerry said it will invest in opening a “security innovation center” in the Washington, D.C., area to serve as “a hub for collaboration with key government customers and other expert partners.”
BlackBerry interim chief executive officer John Chen made the announcement during a talk at the Consumer Electronics Show Government Conference being held in Las Vegas.
Chen said the firm was “committed to working with government and industry experts to solve some of the biggest challenges we face in securing mobile communication.”
The center will be “focused on creating lasting partnerships that will encourage ongoing dialogue aimed at making better products and policy," said Chen, who joined the struggling smartphone maker in November 2013.
“Additional details will be revealed in the coming weeks,” the company said.
BlackBerry used the CES show to also announce it would return to its roots in building keyboard-based phones after experimenting with introducing the BlackBerry 10 touchscreen model last year.
“I personally love the keyboards,” Chen told Bloomberg Television at CES.
Posted on Jan 07, 2014 at 11:09 AM0 comments
Many of the federal government’s older mission-critical systems still run on COBOL, a programming language developed in 1959.
Despite the growing prevalence of modern programming languages such as C++, .NET and Java, the Common Business-Oriented Language is still responsible for more than 70 percent of the world’s business transactions, according to a report in FCW.
But unlike cloud and mobile computing, big data and social media, COBOL has developed a reputation as outdated and “uncool,” said Micro Focus’s Ed Airey, speaking at a recent COBOL Developer Day.
As a result, only about one-quarter of colleges across the country are teaching COBOL in their curriculums, and only 20 percent of those schools require that programming graduates take it.
The coming shortage of COBOL programmers will affect the government’s legacy IT systems and core databases, which suck up approximately 70 percent of the government’s $82 billion IT budget, leaving only 30 percent to spend on innovative technologies.
As agencies look to modernize their IT systems, they must decide whether to replace their COBOL code or repurpose it. This can be an expensive and difficult endeavor — the Defense Department has struggled with it for 15 years. For those reasons, it is likely that systems running COBOL — at least on the back end — are likely to be a mainstay for many more years to come.
Posted on Jan 06, 2014 at 10:26 AM0 comments