GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Ceres calls on the U.S. government to strengthen the federal procurement process

Ceres | January 17, 2022

In response to the federal government's request for comments on draft regulations that would revise the federal procurement process to factor in sustainability in government purchasing, Ceres submitted recommendations that would help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while incentivizing zero-carbon innovation. The U.S. government is the world's largest purchaser of products and services, spending around $665 billion in 2020.

Last year, President Joe Biden called the climate crisis a challenge that would require a "whole-of-government approach, and followed up on this statement by issuing an Executive Order and sustainability plan in December 2021. It outlined targets for federal climate-focused procurements that would significantly reduce carbon emissions from large federal vendors.

In its recommendations, Ceres is calling on the government to:
  • Require major suppliers demonstrate a commitment to Paris climate targets, including annually disclosing GHG emissions and a science-based plan for reducing those emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
  • Deliver substantial reductions in the government's own GHG emissions; achieve mass commercialization of products essential to meeting Paris climate targets; and address long-standing racial and social inequities resulting from climate.
  • Institute a new competitive bidding process focused on high-priority, zero-carbon products to reward and incentivize technological innovations and cost reductions in these products.
  • Utilize federal grants and loans to reduce GHG emissions through the procurement program, with a focus on large-scale grant funding authorized by the new bipartisan infrastructure law.

"If we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we need to produce substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030. With our recommendations, the new sustainability-focused federal procurement program can help to make dramatic progress on climate change, fuel bold innovation, create new green jobs, and promote environmental justice," said Steven M. Rothstein, Managing Director of the Ceres Accelerator for Capital Sustainable Markets at Ceres. "We look forward to working with the administration, investors, companies and other stakeholders to improve the program and ensure quick and successful implementation."

Spotlight

Government organizations in the United States and around the world are placing greater emphasis on performance, particularly with regard to the expectations of their stakeholders and customers. While promoting accountability is an important motivation for this emphasis on performance, it is not the only driving force. Most organizations operate as a network of various departments that are inextricably interconnected. Decisions made in one part of the network necessarily affect the activities and outcomes in other network areas. This drives the growing need for transparency, both within and between government agencies. In addition, a focus on performance draws attention to results.


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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

ECS Awarded $49M Contract by US Army in Support of Network Transformation

ECS | June 24, 2022

ECS, a leader in advanced technology, science, and digital transformation solutions, has been awarded a five-year contract by the U.S. Army valued at $49M. This project aligns with the Army’s larger network transformation strategy of providing units across the globe with a simple-to-use, expeditionary, mobile, hardened tactical network. To that end, ECS will provide software licensing, engineering services, training, and laboratory services to support the accreditation, integration, testing, and fielding of security software products. We are looking forward to partnering with the Army in modernizing and strengthening its tactical networks. ECS currently supports the deployment of the Army Endpoint Security Solutions (AESS) program, integrating, testing, accrediting, and fielding solutions that protect up to 800,000 endpoints. This wealth of experience will help inform our low-risk methodology in support of the Army’s network transformation initiative.” John Heneghan, president of ECS “With this contract award, ECS has the opportunity to help the Army achieve multiple mission objectives while advancing the greater strategy of transforming its tactical networks,” said Mark Maglin, vice president of Department of Defense (DoD) Cybersecurity at ECS. “Using our experience delivering the AESS for the enterprise, we are ready to leverage our expertise across software engineering and cybersecurity disciplines to help the Army achieve a unified network, increased visibility, and an improved cybersecurity posture.” About ECS ECS, ASGN’s federal government segment, delivers advanced solutions in cybersecurity, data and artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, application and IT modernization, science, and engineering. The company solves critical, complex challenges for customers across the U.S. public sector, defense, intelligence, and commercial industries. ECS maintains partnerships with leading cloud, cybersecurity, and AI/ML providers and holds specialized certifications in their technologies. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, ECS has more than 3,500 employees throughout the United States. About ASGN ASGN Incorporated is one of the foremost providers of IT and professional services in the technology, digital, creative, engineering and life sciences fields across commercial and government sectors. ASGN helps leading corporate enterprises and government organizations develop, implement, and operate critical IT and business solutions through its integrated offering of professional staffing and IT solutions.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Edge AI and Vision Alliance Announces 2022 Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year Award Winners

Edge AI and Vision Alliance | May 18, 2022

The Edge AI and Vision Alliance announced the 2022 winners of the Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year Awards. The Awards celebrate the innovation and achievement of the industry's leading companies that are enabling and developing products incorporating edge AI and computer vision technologies. This is the fifth year of our awards program and once again we were impressed with the number of high-quality entries across a broad range of product categories—from building-block technologies to ready-to-use solutions delivered directly to consumers and enterprises. The popularity of our awards program is a testament to the diversity and accelerating expansion of edge AI and vision technologies into virtually every industry." Jeff Bier, Founder of the Edge AI and Vision Alliance Entries are judged by an independent, expert panel on innovation, impact on customers and the market, and competitive differentiation. The winners and their reactions to their awards include: Best Edge AI Processor: Blaize—Pathfinder P1600 Embedded System on Module "Blaize is honored that the Edge AI and Vision Alliance's panel of independent industry judges selected our Blaize Pathfinder P1600 Embedded SoM as the Best Edge AI Processor in the 2022 Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year Awards. Our chip is a software-defined AI inference accelerator based on the Blaize Graph Streaming Processor (GSP) architecture with low power, low latency, and energy efficiency ideal for AI inferencing workloads at the Edge," said Dinakar Munagala, Co-founder and CEO, Blaize. Honorable Mention, Edge AI Processor: CEVA—NuePro-M This year the judges issued their first Honorable Mention for a Product of the Year Award in the Edge AI Processor category to recognize CEVA for its NuePro-M product. The independent panel of judges evaluated CEVA's entry on innovation, differentiation, market impact and customer impact. CEVA's entry received an impressive score and the judges recommended that CEVA receive this special recognition. Best Camera or Sensor: Luxonis—OAK-D-Lite "Our goal when we started Luxonis was to make Robotics Perception Easy. Our users have discovered that with OAK devices, they can just get to work solving their robotics problems— instead of fighting to integrate disparate hardware, firmware and software." said Brandon Gilles, CEO at Luxonis. "Luxonis has accomplished this with our OAK devices, which include the OAK-D-LITE, the 2022 Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year award winner in the Camera or Sensor category." Best Edge AI Software or Algorithm: Sequitur Labs—EmSPARK Security Site 3.0 "Edge AI is amazing… but only if it's secure. Sequitur Labs continues to lead the way in protecting AI models at the edge," said Phil Attfield, CEO at Sequitur Labs. "It's an honor to be recognized by the Edge AI and Vision Alliance. Thanks for the award!" Best Edge AI Developer Tool: Edge Impulse—EON Compiler "On behalf of the Edge Impulse team, we're honored to receive this year's Edge AI and Vision Product Award in the Edge AI Developer Tools category. We believe the EON Tuner represents a major breakthrough in the world of edge machine learning, by enabling you to find and select the best model for your application within the constraints of your target device in just a few clicks," said Jan Jongboom, Edge Impulse Co-Founder and CTO. "This provides developers and enterprises the confidence they need to build the optimal ML pipeline for their real-world vision solution." Best Automotive Solution: Synopsys—DesignWare ARC EV7xFS Processor IP for Functional Safety "We thank the Edge AI and Vision Alliance for recognizing the Synopsys ARC EV7xFS Processor IP with the 'Best Automotive AI Product of 2022' award. The Synopsys ARC EV7xFS processor family, the recently announced Synopsys ARC NPX6FS processor family, and Synopsys' comprehensive solution for automotive designs enable companies to create differentiated, safe, and secure SoCs while accelerating time to market," said John Koeter, Sr. Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for IP at Synopsys. Best Enterprise Edge AI End Product: Grabango—Grabango's Checkout-Free Technology "Grabango is honored to be recognized as a 2022 Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year winner." said Will Glaser, founder and CEO of Grabango. "Powered by advanced computer vision technology, Grabango's checkout-free solution offers a differentiated, technical approach to a seemingly simple problem—eliminating lines and saving shoppers time." Best Consumer Edge AI End Product: OrCam Technologies—OrCam Read OrCam Read is the first of a new class of easy-to-use handheld digital readers that supports people with mild to moderate vision loss, as well as those with reading challenges, to access the texts they need and to more effectively accomplish their daily tasks. All of OrCam Read's information processing—from its text-to-speech functionality implemented to operate on the edge, to its voice-controlled operation using the "Hey OrCam" voice assistant, to the natural language processing and natural language understanding-driven Smart Reading feature—is processed locally, on the device, with no data connectivity required. About the Edge AI and Vision Alliance The Edge AI and Vision Alliance is a worldwide industry partnership bringing together technology providers and end-product companies who are creating and enabling innovative and practical applications for computer vision and edge AI. Membership is open to any company that supplies or uses technology for edge AI and vision systems and applications.

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CYBERSECURITY

One Year In, Cyber Executive Order Progress is Under Way, But Early Stage

MeriTalk | May 06, 2022

Ninety-one percent of Federal cybersecurity decision-makers say the 2021 Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity has made U.S. data and critical infrastructure safer, but just 28 percent say significantly safer, according to Impact Assessment: Cyber EO Year One, a new study from MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government information technology (IT). The report explores perspectives on progress against Cyber EO goals, identifies what successful agencies do differently, and finds the fault lines where agency cyber leaders say they need more help to succeed. Most Federal cyber decision-makers (78 percent) agree the steps outlined in the Cyber EO are necessary to protect our nation. Implementing software supply chain security and migrating to a zero-trust architecture are the two most important factors for national cybersecurity, the research highlights. And, while just 15 percent have seen tangible improvements because of EO efforts to date, a significant portion expects to see an impact within the next year. Federal cyber leaders confirm initial progress in areas including vulnerability detection, software supply chain security, vulnerability response, and investigative and remediation capabilities. Just over half confirm IT management and staff are placing increased priority on cybersecurity, and just over half are collecting more cyber data than in the past. But, across the board, progress against EO goals is still in the early stages. Fewer than half rate their agencies’ progress against key EO goals as “excellent.” For example, 36 percent rate progress toward creating a formal strategy as excellent; 34 percent rate progress toward investing in endpoint detection and response (EDR) as excellent; and, 33 percent rate progress migrating to secure cloud solutions, as excellent. When asked about the importance of zero trust, 82 percent agree that allocating staff and budget resources to zero trust is vital to national security and almost all, 96 percent, agree the Federal zero trust strategy is somewhat or very helpful. Despite the high priority, just 30 percent of Federal cyber decision-makers rate their zero trust progress as “excellent” and many, 67 percent, say the EO’s three-year window for implementing a zero trust architecture is not realistic. Zero Trust is the gold standard for cybersecurity, so we're encouraged to see the EO is prioritizing that approach. In addition, cloud-native endpoint detection and response capabilities can significantly strengthen the cybersecurity posture for the federal government, especially when integrated with other security capabilities including identity security, threat intelligence, and managed threat hunting. These concepts have become cybersecurity best practices for the private sector’s most technologically advanced businesses, and we encourage the public sector to continue to embrace these technologies and strategies.” Drew Bagley, vice president and counsel for Privacy and Cyber Policy, CrowdStrike “Getting to zero trust is not easy. The detail provided in the multi-step guidance from OMB provides a path, but there is no single box you can buy to meet the varied needs of the five zero trust pillars,” says Stephen Kovac, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Global Government Affairs, Zscaler. “You need multiple solutions from varying vendors that work together with seamless integration to achieve true zero trust – it is a team sport. OMB has done a good job in helping to define those rules, with rule one being to keep users off the network. If they can’t reach you, they can’t breach you.” Funding is another roadblock. Just 14 percent report they have all funding needed to meet Cyber EO requirements. One-third say they have half, or less than half, of the funding needed. “The sea change is the focus on comprehensive cyber resiliency,” says Nicole Burdette, principal, MeriTalk. “The EO provided direction, and Federal cyber leaders are now doing the hard work. But progress requires sustained funding and resource commitment. The research shows the gaps.” “The U.S. federal government is taking important steps to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture,” said Dave Levy, Vice President of U.S. Government, Nonprofit, and Healthcare at Amazon Web Services (AWS). “In the Cyber EO, the White House directs federal agencies to adopt security best practices, implement zero trust architectures, and accelerate migration to secure cloud services. Organizations of all sizes should consider similar principles and practices to enhance their cybersecurity and protect employees and sensitive data against cyberattack.” What are the leaders doing differently? Cyber EO champions (leaders who give their agency’s EO progress an A) are predictably more likely than their peers to say they have all the funding they need. They are also more likely to have their chief information officer (CIO) leading their zero-trust implementation (67 percent to 28 percent). When asked for perspectives on what’s needed to achieve cyber progress, the research identified the Federal wish list: Workforce training and expertise Stronger executive buy-in Detailed direction from agency IT leadership Centers of Excellence (COEs) in the government to lend expertise Three-fourths of Federal cyber decision-makers also say the EO should have been more authoritative with private-sector directives. The Impact Assessment: Cyber EO Year One report is based on an online survey of more than 150 Federal cybersecurity decision-makers familiar with their agencies’ cybersecurity initiatives, including zero trust strategies, in March 2022 and is underwritten by Amazon Web Services (AWS), CrowdStrike, and Zscaler. The report has a margin of error of ±7.7 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. About MeriTalk The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Our award-winning editorial team and world-class events and research staff produces unmatched news, analysis, and insight. The goal: a more efficient, responsive, and citizen-centric government. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 160,000 Federal community contacts.

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CYBERSECURITY

U.K. Cyber Firm Expands to North America Following Multi-Million Investment

Bridewell Consulting | March 24, 2022

U.K. cybersecurity services company, Bridewell Consulting, has announced its expansion into the $58 billion U.S. cybersecurity market following a multi-million investment from Growth Capital Partners last year. Specialists in securing organizations in complex and highly regulated sectors such as critical national infrastructure and finance, the company seeks to help U.S. organizations reduce risk and build cyber resilience amid rising cyber threats. With an office strategically located in Houston’s Energy Corridor in Texas, the move enables Bridewell to better serve the needs of its existing client base in the U.S., many of whom the company already serves from the U.K. It will also enable Bridewell to secure new clients in the region and provide a springboard for further growth across North America, in a marked effort to become a globally recognized cybersecurity services firm. The move comes at a significant time for critical national infrastructure security in the U.S., with growing concerns over ransomware attacks on banks and hospitals and mounting pressure to improve cybersecurity from government. Just this week, President Biden issued an urgent warning to American business leaders, telling them to strengthen their cyber defenses immediately while the Computer-Security Incident Notification Final Rule is set to come into effect on April 1, 2022. Under the new rule, U.S banks must report any “significant” cybersecurity incident within 36 hours of discovery. We’re at a crucial stage when it comes to critical national infrastructure security. Threats from nation states are rising and innovative methods of cyberattacks are significantly outpacing regulation, policy and strategies. Bridewell’s success in delivering flagship security transformation projects in the U.K., combined with our industry-leading expertise in both IT and OT security and our Microsoft Gold Partner status, means that we are uniquely placed to help North American organizations develop robust and resilient cybersecurity solutions at this critical time.” Scott Nicholson, Bridewell Co-CEO According to recently released U.K. government data, the U.K. cybersecurity sector attracted record investments in 2021, with over £1 billion raised – a rise of 14% compared to the previous period. Bridewell itself experienced a record year of growth with a 156% increase in headcount and 50% growth in revenue, driven by a combination of factors including increased demand for Managed Detection and Response (MDR), the shift in working models and increased appetite for cybersecurity transformation. Anthony Young, Co-CEO of Bridewell, adds: “The U.S. has always been a key growth market for us, both in terms of our existing client base and the broader market opportunity. We’ve had a phenomenal couple of years in the U.K., but our plan has always been to expand where there is a great need, with the evolving U.S. market ripe for managed security services.” Established in 2013, Bridewell is one of the fastest growing privately-owned U.K. cybersecurity companies, with 75% year-on-year revenue growth since FY18. Headquartered in Reading, Berkshire, the company serves sectors including CNI, aviation, financial services, government and oil and gas, with its 24/7 Security Operations Centre protecting some of the most critical national infrastructure in the U.K. In 2021, the company delivered a number of security transformation projects, including revolutionizing the Security Operations Centre for Manchester Airport Group and an independent information assurance review for the 2021 Census. Bridewell was also named Cyber Business of the Year in the U.K. National Cyber Awards 2021. About Bridewell Consulting Bridewell Consulting is a cybersecurity services company providing global, 24/7 managed detection and response services and cybersecurity consultancy. With extensive experience in delivering large-scale transformational projects in highly regulated environments, Bridewell enables organizations to drive strategic change securely, providing a full breadth of end-to-end cybersecurity services. Its expert team comprises of a diverse range of highly skilled consultants, supported by industry leading technology, deep technical expertise, accredited methodologies and a client-centric business-driven approach. Bridewell delivers a vast number of services across critical national infrastructure, aviation, financial services, government and oil and gas. The company holds a number of industry accreditations including NCSC, CREST, ASSURE, IASME Consortium, Cyber Essentials Plus, ISO27001, ISO9001 and are a PCI DSS QSA Company.

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Spotlight

Government organizations in the United States and around the world are placing greater emphasis on performance, particularly with regard to the expectations of their stakeholders and customers. While promoting accountability is an important motivation for this emphasis on performance, it is not the only driving force. Most organizations operate as a network of various departments that are inextricably interconnected. Decisions made in one part of the network necessarily affect the activities and outcomes in other network areas. This drives the growing need for transparency, both within and between government agencies. In addition, a focus on performance draws attention to results.

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