Building Momentum for Open Innovation

Looking back on the past few weeks of celebrating open innovation across the Federal government.President Obama issued an updated version of the Strategy for American Innovation. A key element of this strategy is a using open innovation and public participation to improve America’s economic growth and international competitiveness.

Spotlight

Southern Strategy Group Florida

Every day across Florida, throughout our network of 20+ lobbyists, we are navigating Tallahassee, advancing interests, amplifying voices, influencing decision makers, cutting through the red tape, and impacting local communities.

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Cybersecurity

Bond elections catalyze numerous contracting opportunities

Article | March 23, 2022

People often believe that bond elections only fund construction projects. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Companies that provide services related to technology, energy systems, furniture, landscaping, and security also benefit. Voters already have approved an abundance of bond packages this year, and more are pending in November elections. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Georgia The state of Georgia has funding of $1.133 billion that will be used for new projects, the purchasing of equipment, repairs and renovations to existing facilities. Some of it will also be used to launch new construction projects. School districts have been allocated approximately $378 million and $302 million is available for projects at the University System of Georgia. The Department of Transportation will receive over $152 million for roads, bridges, and rail projects, and the Technical College System of Georgia will receive approximately $99 million for various projects. The state also allocated $20 million for a new conference center at Lake Lanier Island and $12 million for infrastructure improvements at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. West Virginia The Cabell County Board of Education authorized the issuance of $87.5 million in public school bonds after it was approved by voters in August. Architectural firms and design teams will be in high demand soon as construction is planned for early 2021. Projects include rebuilding Meadows Elementary and Milton Elementary and construction of a new Davis Creek Elementary facility. Other school buildings will receive major renovations including new windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and security upgrades. New York Bond funds were approved in Lewis County for a $33 million capital project to construct a new surgical pavilion and renovation of the existing Medical-Surgical floor. Bidding will be solicited in January and February 2021 with construction to begin immediately. The project includes construction of a 36,224 square-foot surgical pavilion as well as the renovation of about 18,889 square feet of the existing Medical-Surgical inpatient floor. California The state of California recently announced the sale of $2.65 billion of revenue bonds to benefit various projects at the University of California (UC). About $1.15 billion will be spent on campus projects. Regents for the university system announced that about than 50 construction projects at all 10 UC campuses are planned. Projects include improvements to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Extension Center and Franz Hall. Seismic upgrades are planned for the Irvine Campus, the engineering tower, four gateway quad buildings, and the social sciences buildings. More earthquake-resistant improvements will be made at a number of additional facilities. Louisiana In August, $140 million in bonds were approved for construction of a new high school and the completion of 13 other construction and improvement projects for Ascension Parish Public Schools. Approximately $79.5 million has been set aside for a new high school which will be located in Prairieville. Solicitation documents for contractors will be released in 2021. Other projects that have been approved include $27 million in renovations at East Ascension High School, $7.5 million for artificial turf at four high school stadiums plus the stadium at the new high school, $4.4 million for a classroom addition at St. Amant Primary, and $2.3 million for improvements at Donaldsonville High School. Texas Voters recently approved $76.6 million for the Plainview Independent School District and this funding will be used to consolidate and restructure elementary and middle school facilities. Some of the revenue will also be used to update security and technology. The proposed building plan consolidates six elementary campuses into three with pre-K programs and increased capacity at each campus. Some solicitation documents are expected in November, and others are planned for early 2021. Hawaii The state of Hawaii successfully sold $995 million of general obligation bonds, and the funding will be used to finance capital improvements for various public buildings, elementary and secondary schools, community college and university facilities, public libraries, and parks. As 2020 draws to a close over the next few months, millions more in funding for all types of projects will result as November bond packages are placed on the ballot for voter approval. Even in the midst of a pandemic, public assets must be maintained, expanded, and made safe for citizens. The activity generated by the bond elections stimulates local economies, and the projects that result create thousands of jobs as well. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Emerging Technology

How local government scaled up for remote workers

Article | July 13, 2022

The biggest IT challenge local governments faced during the COVID-19 pandemic has been scaling existing infrastructure to accommodate many more workers than they had planned for, IT leaders said during a June 17 panel discussion. “Our remote access solution was originally scaled for a major snow day, not for 3,000 to 4,000 remote users,” Charles Gore, IT security manager for Loudoun County, Va., said during a webinar presented by CompTIA’s Public Technology Institute. “We were looking at 500 users remote. We had to spread the scoping across multiple technologies, which we had, but we needed to very quickly adjust to accommodate the new users.”

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Government Business, Government Finance

Squeezing the risk out of government AI projects

Article | July 12, 2022

A new report offers a five-point framework government agencies can use to maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence while minimizing the risks. “Risk Management in the AI Era,” released by the IBM Center for the Business of Government April 16, proposes a risk management framework that can help agencies use AI to best suit their needs. “Public managers must carefully consider both potential positive and negative outcomes, opportunities, and challenges associated with the use of these tools,” the report states, as well as the relative likelihood of positive or negative outcomes.

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FTC Issues Guidance on Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Regard to FCRA

Article | April 16, 2020

On April 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – a United States government agency that is the nation’s primary privacy and data security enforcer – issued guidance to businesses on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for machine learning technology and automated decision making with regard to federal laws that included the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that regulates background checks for employment purposes.

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Spotlight

Southern Strategy Group Florida

Every day across Florida, throughout our network of 20+ lobbyists, we are navigating Tallahassee, advancing interests, amplifying voices, influencing decision makers, cutting through the red tape, and impacting local communities.

Related News

Cybersecurity

MSPAlliance Launches Initiative to Solve MSP Cybersecurity Talent Crisis

MSPAlliance | March 23, 2022

In conjunction with MSPWorld 2022, the International Association of Cloud & Managed Service Providers (MSPAlliance) announced a new program designed to address the cybersecurity talent shortage facing the managed services profession. Featuring a partnership with Boise State University and Stellar Cyber, the program has an overall goal of creating Managed Service Provider (MSP)-specific business, technical, and cybersecurity training, along with job placement tools. The program will be launched in the coming months and will begin producing viable MSP security candidates for hire within the year. This program will leverage existing cyber and general educational capabilities of organizations such as Boise State, combined with cybersecurity-specific training of students on actual technology tools used by MSPs, such as Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform. Further, MSPAlliance will be contributing MSP-specific business and operational content to make the students highly attractive to MSPs looking to fill positions. We have known for a long time that MSPs were facing difficulty in identifying, hiring, and training employees who had necessary skills. Through this partnership with Stellar Cyber and Boise State, we are taking the first steps to solving this problem and bringing much-needed help to the MSP profession." Celia Weaver, president and co-founder of MSPAlliance While many cybersecurity training programs do exist, they fall short of the specific needs of the global MSP profession in several areas. First, the candidates graduating from a vast number of traditional computer science programs are not being trained on current technologies used by MSPs. Second, the graduates do not possess the specific knowledge necessary to make them relevant to MSPs. Third, the graduates do not have relevant work experience, also needed to improve their utility to the MSP profession. This program will address all three of these issues. Boise State, a leader in cybersecurity education, will accelerate real-world training for new students as well as MSP analysts who want to upgrade their skillsets to offer Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) services. Boise State's new Cyberdome leverages Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform in the University's in-house MSSP service, which provides enterprise-class security to rural schools and communities throughout Idaho while significantly enhancing students' cybersecurity skills in a real-world environment. "At Boise State, we built this program to become a competency hub for new students as well as working analysts looking to broaden their skills to work effectively in a cybersecurity provider environment," said Edward Vasko, CISSP and director of the Boise State Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity. "With this announcement, the MSP industry now has a partner inside the education community that believes in the mission we're trying to accomplish." "We are excited to help solve one of cybersecurity's biggest business problems—talent shortage," said Mark Porter, President and CEO at High Wire Networks, a Stellar Cyber Master MSSP Partner. "With our human capital management expertise and SOC services, we can help build a pipeline of security analysts who will help the MSP community reach their customers more effectively and efficiently." Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform provides the cybersecurity technology that underpins the Cyberdome program. Thanks to its ease-of-use and comprehensive, "everything detection and response" functionality and AI-driven analytics, the platform quickly prepares Boise State students for careers in cybersecurity. "This is great news for MSPs who want to add security services to their offerings but can't find any analysts to deliver it," said Brian Stoner, vice president of MSSP at Stellar Cyber. "Our Open XDR platform is ideal for MSPs who want to capitalize on the hot market for cybersecurity services, and Boise State's Cyberdome program has the potential of enabling security analysts to meet our industry partner demand." About MSPAlliance MSPAlliance is a global industry association and accrediting body for the Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, and Managed Services Provider (MSP) industry. Established in 2000 to help MSPs become better MSPs. Today, MSPAlliance works with cloud computing and managed service provider corporate members worldwide in a collaborative effort to assist its members, along with foreign and domestic governments, on creating standards, setting policies, and establishing best practices. About Boise State University's Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity Boise State University's Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity is a leader of innovative cybersecurity research and advancement in Idaho and the region. The Institute welcomes and facilitates strategic partnerships with industry, higher education, business, and government to improve cybersecurity for Idaho and the nation. The Institute also works to commercialize ground-breaking research and tools, and educate graduates to become the change-makers and forward-thinkers of the 21st century. About Stellar Cyber The Stellar Cyber Open XDR platform delivers Everything Detection and Response by ingesting data from all tools, automatically correlating alerts into incidents across the entire attack surface, delivering fewer and higher-fidelity incidents, and responding to threats automatically through AI and machine learning. The Stellar Cyber XDR Kill Chain, fully compatible with the MITRE ATT&CK framework, is designed to characterize every aspect of modern attacks while remaining intuitive to understand. This reduces enterprise risk through early and precise identification and remediation of all attack activities while slashing costs, retaining investments in existing tools and accelerating analyst productivity. Typically, Stellar Cyber delivers an 8x improvement in MTTD and a 20x improvement in MTTR. The company is based in Silicon Valley.

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Government Business

OpenGov Launches "OpenGov Across America" Campaign In Support of Local Government Leaders and Public Service

OpenGov | August 25, 2021

OpenGov has launched the "OpenGov Across America" campaign in support of local government leaders to thank them for shouldering the burden of keeping their communities safe and governments open for business throughout the pandemic. As part of this campaign, OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman has set out on a nearly 4,000-mile cross-country bike tour to meet with and hear directly from town, city, and county leaders about how their governments have evolved to address the urgent needs of their communities in the pandemic. In conjunction with this ride, OpenGov has committed to supporting the mission of the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute For American Democracy to increase awareness of the importance of civic engagement, civics education, and civil discourse. Together, they will raise funds to help educate future civic leaders and enable a more informed and engaged citizenry. "I'm excited to embark on this amazing adventure to highlight the local government visionaries who have devoted their lives to serving American communities," said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. "In support of that mission, OpenGov is proud to team up with the O'Connor Institute to champion the next generation of public servants and educate residents about the importance of civic engagement." "The Institute is gratified that OpenGov recognizes the importance of public service and leadership," said Institute CEO Sarah Suggs. "We appreciate this tremendous effort by Zac Bookman in civic engagement and philanthropy." As OpenGov looks to shed light on the importance of local leadership, government leaders and public-sector allies are encouraged to post photos and videos of themselves thanking someone in the public sector or sharing how they got into public service on LinkedIn or Twitter with #OpenGovAcrossAmerica and #GovLove, for an opportunity to be featured on OpenGov's social channels. About OpenGov OpenGov is the leader in modern cloud ERP software for our nation's cities, counties and state agencies. On a mission to power more effective and accountable government, OpenGov serves more than 1,000 agencies across the U.S. Built exclusively for the unique budgeting, financial management and citizen services needs of the public sector, the OpenGov ERP Cloud makes organizations more collaborative, digitizes mission-critical processes and enables best-in-class communication with stakeholders. About the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute For American Democracy Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the O'Connor Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3), continues her distinguished legacy and lifetime work to advance American democracy through multigenerational civics education, civil discourse and civic engagement.

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Government Business

OpenGov Acquires ProcureNow the Leading Government Procurement Software

OpenGov | June 24, 2021

OpenGov, the market leader in modern cloud ERP software for our nation's cities, counties, and state agencies, today announced the acquisition of ProcureNow, the industry's fastest-growing, top multi-tenant SaaS software provider for government procurement and contract management. ProcureNow, like OpenGov, allows government leaders to serve stakeholders with the most effective solutions intended to simplify critical processes, enable data-driven choices, and openly communicate outcomes. OpenGov, in collaboration with ProcureNow's full lifecycle procurement management software, which includes powerful solicitation and contract development automation, continues to power governments' most strategic processes: budgeting and planning, citizen services, financial management, reporting and transparency, and, now, procurement – all in the cloud. Procurement significantly impacts a government's ability to meet strategic objectives such as budget accountability, spend control, supplier diversity, economic growth, and citizen experience. It is becoming more critical in allowing remote work and investments related to the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. By incorporating this necessary solution into the OpenGov ERP Cloud, the merged company is better positioned to fulfill the modernization requirements of the nation's most forward-thinking administrators, finance, and community development professionals. About OpenGov OpenGov is the market leader in delivering modern cloud software to our nation's state and local governments to enable more effective and accountable governance. OpenGov solutions, designed specifically for the public sector's unique budgeting, financial, and community development requirements, assist our more than 1,000 clients in planning effectively, increasing efficiency, and improving participation through better collaboration and transparency. About ProcureNow ProcureNow, based in San Francisco, is a recognized small business to transform efficiency and innovation in local government by providing a complete toolkit for creating and sourcing government RFPs and bids. ProcureNow's Government Procurement Automation Cloud connects governments and local businesses through technology that enables more suppliers to confidently read, understand, and react to complicated government bids.

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Cybersecurity

MSPAlliance Launches Initiative to Solve MSP Cybersecurity Talent Crisis

MSPAlliance | March 23, 2022

In conjunction with MSPWorld 2022, the International Association of Cloud & Managed Service Providers (MSPAlliance) announced a new program designed to address the cybersecurity talent shortage facing the managed services profession. Featuring a partnership with Boise State University and Stellar Cyber, the program has an overall goal of creating Managed Service Provider (MSP)-specific business, technical, and cybersecurity training, along with job placement tools. The program will be launched in the coming months and will begin producing viable MSP security candidates for hire within the year. This program will leverage existing cyber and general educational capabilities of organizations such as Boise State, combined with cybersecurity-specific training of students on actual technology tools used by MSPs, such as Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform. Further, MSPAlliance will be contributing MSP-specific business and operational content to make the students highly attractive to MSPs looking to fill positions. We have known for a long time that MSPs were facing difficulty in identifying, hiring, and training employees who had necessary skills. Through this partnership with Stellar Cyber and Boise State, we are taking the first steps to solving this problem and bringing much-needed help to the MSP profession." Celia Weaver, president and co-founder of MSPAlliance While many cybersecurity training programs do exist, they fall short of the specific needs of the global MSP profession in several areas. First, the candidates graduating from a vast number of traditional computer science programs are not being trained on current technologies used by MSPs. Second, the graduates do not possess the specific knowledge necessary to make them relevant to MSPs. Third, the graduates do not have relevant work experience, also needed to improve their utility to the MSP profession. This program will address all three of these issues. Boise State, a leader in cybersecurity education, will accelerate real-world training for new students as well as MSP analysts who want to upgrade their skillsets to offer Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) services. Boise State's new Cyberdome leverages Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform in the University's in-house MSSP service, which provides enterprise-class security to rural schools and communities throughout Idaho while significantly enhancing students' cybersecurity skills in a real-world environment. "At Boise State, we built this program to become a competency hub for new students as well as working analysts looking to broaden their skills to work effectively in a cybersecurity provider environment," said Edward Vasko, CISSP and director of the Boise State Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity. "With this announcement, the MSP industry now has a partner inside the education community that believes in the mission we're trying to accomplish." "We are excited to help solve one of cybersecurity's biggest business problems—talent shortage," said Mark Porter, President and CEO at High Wire Networks, a Stellar Cyber Master MSSP Partner. "With our human capital management expertise and SOC services, we can help build a pipeline of security analysts who will help the MSP community reach their customers more effectively and efficiently." Stellar Cyber's Open XDR platform provides the cybersecurity technology that underpins the Cyberdome program. Thanks to its ease-of-use and comprehensive, "everything detection and response" functionality and AI-driven analytics, the platform quickly prepares Boise State students for careers in cybersecurity. "This is great news for MSPs who want to add security services to their offerings but can't find any analysts to deliver it," said Brian Stoner, vice president of MSSP at Stellar Cyber. "Our Open XDR platform is ideal for MSPs who want to capitalize on the hot market for cybersecurity services, and Boise State's Cyberdome program has the potential of enabling security analysts to meet our industry partner demand." About MSPAlliance MSPAlliance is a global industry association and accrediting body for the Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, and Managed Services Provider (MSP) industry. Established in 2000 to help MSPs become better MSPs. Today, MSPAlliance works with cloud computing and managed service provider corporate members worldwide in a collaborative effort to assist its members, along with foreign and domestic governments, on creating standards, setting policies, and establishing best practices. About Boise State University's Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity Boise State University's Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity is a leader of innovative cybersecurity research and advancement in Idaho and the region. The Institute welcomes and facilitates strategic partnerships with industry, higher education, business, and government to improve cybersecurity for Idaho and the nation. The Institute also works to commercialize ground-breaking research and tools, and educate graduates to become the change-makers and forward-thinkers of the 21st century. About Stellar Cyber The Stellar Cyber Open XDR platform delivers Everything Detection and Response by ingesting data from all tools, automatically correlating alerts into incidents across the entire attack surface, delivering fewer and higher-fidelity incidents, and responding to threats automatically through AI and machine learning. The Stellar Cyber XDR Kill Chain, fully compatible with the MITRE ATT&CK framework, is designed to characterize every aspect of modern attacks while remaining intuitive to understand. This reduces enterprise risk through early and precise identification and remediation of all attack activities while slashing costs, retaining investments in existing tools and accelerating analyst productivity. Typically, Stellar Cyber delivers an 8x improvement in MTTD and a 20x improvement in MTTR. The company is based in Silicon Valley.

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Government Business

OpenGov Launches "OpenGov Across America" Campaign In Support of Local Government Leaders and Public Service

OpenGov | August 25, 2021

OpenGov has launched the "OpenGov Across America" campaign in support of local government leaders to thank them for shouldering the burden of keeping their communities safe and governments open for business throughout the pandemic. As part of this campaign, OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman has set out on a nearly 4,000-mile cross-country bike tour to meet with and hear directly from town, city, and county leaders about how their governments have evolved to address the urgent needs of their communities in the pandemic. In conjunction with this ride, OpenGov has committed to supporting the mission of the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute For American Democracy to increase awareness of the importance of civic engagement, civics education, and civil discourse. Together, they will raise funds to help educate future civic leaders and enable a more informed and engaged citizenry. "I'm excited to embark on this amazing adventure to highlight the local government visionaries who have devoted their lives to serving American communities," said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. "In support of that mission, OpenGov is proud to team up with the O'Connor Institute to champion the next generation of public servants and educate residents about the importance of civic engagement." "The Institute is gratified that OpenGov recognizes the importance of public service and leadership," said Institute CEO Sarah Suggs. "We appreciate this tremendous effort by Zac Bookman in civic engagement and philanthropy." As OpenGov looks to shed light on the importance of local leadership, government leaders and public-sector allies are encouraged to post photos and videos of themselves thanking someone in the public sector or sharing how they got into public service on LinkedIn or Twitter with #OpenGovAcrossAmerica and #GovLove, for an opportunity to be featured on OpenGov's social channels. About OpenGov OpenGov is the leader in modern cloud ERP software for our nation's cities, counties and state agencies. On a mission to power more effective and accountable government, OpenGov serves more than 1,000 agencies across the U.S. Built exclusively for the unique budgeting, financial management and citizen services needs of the public sector, the OpenGov ERP Cloud makes organizations more collaborative, digitizes mission-critical processes and enables best-in-class communication with stakeholders. About the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute For American Democracy Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the O'Connor Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3), continues her distinguished legacy and lifetime work to advance American democracy through multigenerational civics education, civil discourse and civic engagement.

Read More

Government Business

OpenGov Acquires ProcureNow the Leading Government Procurement Software

OpenGov | June 24, 2021

OpenGov, the market leader in modern cloud ERP software for our nation's cities, counties, and state agencies, today announced the acquisition of ProcureNow, the industry's fastest-growing, top multi-tenant SaaS software provider for government procurement and contract management. ProcureNow, like OpenGov, allows government leaders to serve stakeholders with the most effective solutions intended to simplify critical processes, enable data-driven choices, and openly communicate outcomes. OpenGov, in collaboration with ProcureNow's full lifecycle procurement management software, which includes powerful solicitation and contract development automation, continues to power governments' most strategic processes: budgeting and planning, citizen services, financial management, reporting and transparency, and, now, procurement – all in the cloud. Procurement significantly impacts a government's ability to meet strategic objectives such as budget accountability, spend control, supplier diversity, economic growth, and citizen experience. It is becoming more critical in allowing remote work and investments related to the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. By incorporating this necessary solution into the OpenGov ERP Cloud, the merged company is better positioned to fulfill the modernization requirements of the nation's most forward-thinking administrators, finance, and community development professionals. About OpenGov OpenGov is the market leader in delivering modern cloud software to our nation's state and local governments to enable more effective and accountable governance. OpenGov solutions, designed specifically for the public sector's unique budgeting, financial, and community development requirements, assist our more than 1,000 clients in planning effectively, increasing efficiency, and improving participation through better collaboration and transparency. About ProcureNow ProcureNow, based in San Francisco, is a recognized small business to transform efficiency and innovation in local government by providing a complete toolkit for creating and sourcing government RFPs and bids. ProcureNow's Government Procurement Automation Cloud connects governments and local businesses through technology that enables more suppliers to confidently read, understand, and react to complicated government bids.

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