Octo celebrated its expanded oLabs™ innovation space with a grand opening attended by Senator Mark Warner and other notable VIPs committed to serving the Federal Government.
RESTON, VA—Octo, the premier provider of emerging technology and modernization for the Federal Government, yesterday celebrated the grand opening of its new oLabs™ innovation hub. Housed in a brand new, custom-built 14,000 square foot facility at Octo’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia, oLabs is the largest privately-owned R&D facility in the DC metro area dedicated to the Federal Government.
Octo invested more than $10 million in the expansion of oLabs which now offers an enormous amount of highly sophisticated compute power including more than 15 petaflops of AI compute and 2 petabytes of FlashBlade storage among others. In addition to the many new development tools for specialized R&D and a space purpose built to facilitate collaboration between Octo’s staff and its federal customers, oLabs will be a hub for internal collaboration and product development focused on solving federal agencies’ most complex issues.
In his comments to attendees, U.S. Senator Mark Warner said, “Innovation isn’t all happening in the Valley. It’s happening in the DMV.” He said he was excited about Octo as a mid-size GovCon company inviting other companies to work side by side on innovation. “We appreciate all Octo does helping the Federal Government.”
Octo’s CEO Mehul Sanghani said, “We are ecstatic to see the official launch of this new space and all that it offers. Octo is dedicated to finding the best solutions for customers, those that make missions happen. That can only be accomplished with powerful technology resources and a commitment to R&D. Using next-gen IT and a collaborative approach, oLabs is accelerating and validating proof-of-concepts to create transformative solutions that can’t be found anywhere else in the region. This space allows us to be in alignment with our customers future goals, and also gives us a competitive advantage over our peers.”
Sujey Edward, CTO at Octo, said, “At the end of the day, you can’t solve the hardest problems in the world without three things: the best technical talent, real world experience, and next generation technology. In this space we have all three. Anything less than that is just a glorified conference room.
“Octo has invested millions of independent research and development dollars into building oLabs, the industry’s most capable center for innovation. We’ve also perfected a collaborative approach to working with our customers supported by an extraordinary facility full of exceptionally talented and passionate emerging technology professionals. Our team isn’t just technical. They have relevant real-world experience in our core domains also. They are former special operators, data scientists pulled from some of the largest companies around the world, DevOps engineers, and AI/ML engineers who understand the scenarios in which our solutions will be deployed.”
oLabs products and solutions are used and are in testing by customers including the U.S. Army, Marine Corps Special Operations Command, the U.S. Navy, and others. Customers who could not attend the grand opening are invited to tour the space. Learn more at olabs.octo.us.
Octo, Platinum Sponsor of national BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter, is a technology firm dedicated to solving the Federal Government’s most complex challenges, enabling agencies to jump the technology curve. We don’t just modernize. We create lasting change through best practices that help agencies implement and integrate at-scale next-generation technology and innovation. With a mission and service first mentality, we provide Agile, DevSecOps, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Cloud, Open Source, and Data Science solutions, collaborating to solve customers’ pressing problems. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Octo delivers proven technology vital to the intelligence community and health care, defense, national security, and civilian agencies that directly impact our nation.
LARGO, MD (NBDPA) — From BDPA’s annual National Conferences, BDPA Tech & Career Talks, and other methods of engagement, networking, and mentorship, this new program will provide special offerings for cloud engineering and architecture. National BDPA seeks to create the next generation of Black technology thought-leaders deeply interested in the cloud space through this virtual series alongside the 12-week Cloud Academy.
The BDPA Cloud Academy is a 12-week program that will provide 50 College Students and Early Career Professionals (ECPs) the opportunity to learn about key cloud computing and technology concepts, get hands on experience with leading software from the leading Cloud providers, and get some experience applying core cloud concepts and technology to use cases based on Real World Evidence and current industry problems/situations.
Upon “graduation” students receive a BDPA Cloud Associate certification with an Industry Specialization and will have the opportunity to get a Google Cloud Digital Leader certification. There will be post-academy Fireside Chats that will allow program graduates the opportunity to interface with industry leaders and discuss the future of technology, society, and innovation.
ECPs or new BDPA Members may directly register their interests for the Academy’s next sessions by using this interest form.
— Source and graphic: National BDPA Top Photo: Google
PENTAGON—Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) canceled the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud solicitation and initiated contract termination procedures. The Department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs. The Department continues to have unmet cloud capability gaps for enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services at all three classification levels that work at the tactical edge, at scale — these needs have only advanced in recent years with efforts such as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Acceleration (ADA) initiative.
“JEDI was developed at a time when the Department’s needs were different and both the CSPs technology and our cloud conversancy was less mature. In light of new initiatives like JADC2 and Ai and Data Acceleration (ADA), the evolution of the cloud ecosystem within DoD, and changes in user requirements to leverage multiple cloud environments to execute mission, our landscape has advanced and a new way-ahead is warranted to achieve dominance in both traditional and non-traditional warfighting domains,” said John Sherman, acting DoD Chief Information Officer.
Concurrent with the cancellation of the JEDI Request for Proposals (RFP), the DoD announced its intent for new cloud efforts. The Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) will be a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. The Department intends to seek proposals from a limited number of sources, namely the Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department’s requirements. However, as noted in its Pre-Solicitation Notice, the Department will immediately engage with industry and continue its market research to determine whether any other U.S.-based hyperscale CSPs can also meet the DoD’s requirements. If so, those Department will also negotiate with those companies.
IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity to help agencies navigate current and future threats Convenes advisory group of former government officials for expanded expertise
WASHINGTON—IBM today announced that it is creating the IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity, a collaborative environment focused on helping federal agencies address current and future cybersecurity threats. The center will facilitate events and learnings, drawing on IBM’s cybersecurity expertise from delivering software and managed services to over 17,500 security customers globally. Working with a group of internal IBM experts and external advisors, including former government officials with decades of cybersecurity experience, the center will leverage IBM technology and host workshops focused on priorities such as zero trust frameworks and cloud security, complemented by access to IBM Research labs to collaborate around the future of encryption.
As recent threats like SolarWinds and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack against critical infrastructure have shown, the threat landscape has crossed over from the digital world to the physical. In fact, the 2021 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found that ransomware accounted for 33% of the attacks on government organizations in 2020. With the US Federal government furthering its investment in hybrid cloud, new approaches for cybersecurity should focus on protecting both systems as well as data – no matter where it is – either on premise, in the cloud, or at the edge.
The IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity will be housed at IBM’s offices in downtown Washington DC. The new facility will feature secured laboratory space where government customers can collaborate on unique solutions for advanced security threats leveraging insights from demos of IBM technologies and services. Initially, IBM will conduct virtual sessions to accommodate any challenges to meeting in person, with the capability to execute engagements at on-site customer locations.
“IBM is committed to helping our US Federal government customers meet cybersecurity modernization requirements – both for current and future threats,” said Stephen LaFleche, General Manager Public and Federal Market, IBM. “Hybrid cloud environments can provide an opportunity to implement new technologies and techniques, like a zero trust framework and advanced encryption – while helping make the government more accessible and easier for citizens work with. These techniques are also being applied in other highly regulated industries, such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare.”
Center Exploring Current and Future Threats
A central goal of the IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity is to provide access to information on cybersecurity technologies IBM is using with the public and private sectors, and security innovations being developed in IBM Research laboratories via workshops. Some of initial examples of the sessions IBM will conduct include:
Adapting to a Zero Trust World – Exploring the unique implementation needs for government to apply the core principles of zero trust: least privilege access; never trust, always verify; and assume breach. IBM will leverage blueprints from successful public and private sector implementations to assist agencies to plan their zero trust journey. The session will explore four initiatives including: Securing the hybrid and remote workforce, Reducing the risk of insider threats, Protecting the hybrid cloud and Preserving customer privacy. As part of the center, IBM can demonstrate the capabilities of IBM Cloud Pak for Security to help orchestrate zero trust approaches. Customers can also experience the IBM Zero Trust Acceleration workshop to help manage new emerging requirements for a zero trust approach at US Federal agencies – with added expertise via partnerships like Zscaler and Illumio.
Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges for Data Portability – Part of adapting zero trust models is disrupting the architecture design for IT systems. Agencies using multi-cloud and multi-tenant environments may be looking to securely modernize their applications and move data between on premise and cloud environments. As part of this workshop, IBM Security architects can demonstrate the use of trusted execution environments, containers, and open standards as a reference point for future hybrid cloud designs via IBM Security Services for Cloud. IBM is also helping customers protect data across hybrid environments for current threats. For example, IBM services and technologies are designed to maintain the highest available level of cryptographic key encryption protection to help protect existing data in the cloud1 and prepare for future threats that could evolve with advances in quantum computing.
The Future of Cryptography – With modern day cryptographic techniques threatened by advancements in computing, IBM Research is expanding its efforts in hardening this essential technology. IBM currently has several Quantum-safe cryptography standards in consideration with NIST and is at the forefront of making data usable while encrypted via Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) and Confidential Computing. As part of this workshop, IBM researchers can help US Federal agency teams understand the implications that the technology will have on next-generation architectures and security protocols. IBM Z helps agencies protect against, and respond to threats, with technologies such as: encryption everywhere for data at rest and in transit to protect against data loss or corruption.
Expertise Available via IBM Center
The IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity Advisory Group brings together former public sector leaders and private sector experts that can advise US Federal customers on historical challenges and help evaluate best practices for navigating current and future regulations and orders. Access to the advisory group will be made available via on-site and virtual conferences as well as individual discussions. The Center Advisory Group will also publish thought leadership and research on cybersecurity issues and solutions.
Advisory group members include:
Tony Scott – Former US Chief Information Officer
Curt Dukes – Former Information Security/Cyber Security Lead for NSA
Kiersten Todt – Former Cybersecurity Advisor for President Obama
Margaret Graves – Former Deputy Federal CIO and Deputy DHS CIO
Daniel Chenok – Former Branch Chief for OMB
Brian Dravis, Major General (ret) – Former Director Joint Service Provider DISA, DOD
Terry Halvorsen – Former DOD CIO, DON CIO, and Deputy Commander Network Warfare Command
The world-renowned IBM Security X-Force research organization will also be available via Center events. IBM Security X-Force monitors 150 billion+ security events per day in more than 130 countries. Early access to research from X-Force will be available for US Federal customers engaged via the Center.
IBM X-Force Command Cyber Tactical Operations Center
Industry’s first fully functional Security Operation Center (SOC) on wheels was launched by IBM in 2018. The IBM X-Force Command Cyber Tactical Operations Center (C-TOC) travels onsite for cybersecurity training, education and response, including immersive cyberattack simulations to help organizations improve their incident response efforts.
The IBM X-Force C-TOC provides a gesture-controlled cybersecurity “watch floor,” data center and conference facilities that can accommodate two dozen operators, analysts and incident command center staff.
About IBM Security IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development and delivery organizations, monitors 150 billion+ security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 10,000 security patents worldwide. IBM Security offers a completely flexible deployment model from consultancy, advice from industry experts, advanced technology to managed security services.
FAIRFAX, VA — Visium Technologies announced the appointment of Keith Scott as its Vice President of Sales and Client Success. Mr. Scott, brings with him more than 20 years’ experience at some of the world’s leading technology and cybersecurity enterprises, and will be responsible for all global direct sales and reseller functions. Keith’s responsibilities will encompass sales team leadership, accelerating Visium’s revenue through expanding Visium’s presence in new geographies, development of new channels, and contributing to the company’s marketing and business strategies.
“I’m pleased to have Keith coming aboard and am looking forward to seeing him make an immediate impact on sales and help us achieve significant growth,” said Mark Lucky, CEO of Visium Technologies.
“Keith has led winning sales operations teams for 20 years and he brings a strong track record of building global sales teams that are focused on delivering customer value and maximizing revenue opportunities.”
Mr. Scott brings a broad range of experience to his new position including executive sales and business development roles at both startups and large enterprise organizations, including with AppDynamics, FireEye, CA Technologies, Concord Communications, Getronics and J.G. Van Dyke & Associates. Three of these companies were acquired and two had successful IPOs. Moving quickly, Mr. Scott has already started an initiative to double Visium’s North American sales team by assembling the necessary regional and inside sales infrastructure including technical, channel and additional sales resources that will play an essential role in Visium’s revenue growth.
“I’m honored to join the Visium team and help to build on the solid foundation of our context-based TruContextTM platform ensuring the best possible customer experience and enhancing the capabilities of existing cyber tools and technologies. Visium is perfectly positioned to help its clients improve business outcomes with visualizations and analytics. Exciting times!”
Source and top photo: Visium/ACCESSWIRE Photos: bdpatoday
WASHINGTON – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) began delivering more than 16,400 technology devices to students across all eight wards as a part of the Empowered Learner’s Initiative. The initiative is a comprehensive three-year commitment by Mayor Bowser to close the digital divide and empower DCPS students through access to state-of-the-art technology.
“Last year, our community made clear that they wanted us to invest more in technology in our schools – and we answered that call with a $4.6 million investment in new devices for our young learners,” said Mayor Bowser. “But this investment isn’t just about buying devices – it’s about ensuring our students and teachers have the programs and resources they need to help us close the digital divide in Washington, DC.”
Last year, Mayor Bowser made an initial $4.6 million investment in technology to provide every student in grades 3, 6, and 9 with a device to use at school, and students in all other grades will have a 3:1 student-to-device ratio in the classroom. After ensuring schools had the necessary technology infrastructure and providing professional development to educators, classrooms are receiving the Microsoft Surface Go to enhance teaching and learning.
“DCPS is excited to begin delivering on our commitment to close the digital divide and empower students across the district in innovative ways,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee (above left, with students). “This year, students in grades 3, 6, and 9 will receive Microsoft Surface Go’s that will enhance their learning experience and advance college and career success. I thank Mayor Bowser for her investment in the Empowered Learner’s initiative and look forward to providing even more students with access to state-of-the-art technology over the next three years.”
After students and educators tested the Microsoft Surface Go, it was selected for its agility, durability, and long-battery life. The Surface Go has a world-facing camera for video and photography, and an inking stylus for drawing and writing.
Since the beginning of the school year, teachers, technology specialists, and operations staff engaged in professional development focused on this new technology. Students are receiving digital citizenship lessons, published by Common Sense Media, to make safe and responsible decisions online.
“We want to ensure the new technology provides the best experience for students and have been testing and optimizing to make that a reality,” said DC Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker. “Nearly 50 technicians are trained and ready to support students and teachers the moment the devices enter the classroom and students log-in.”
The devices will stay in the classroom so teachers can continue to use the technology to enhance their instruction. Families can expect to see their third grade students using the devices to apply the math skills they learn to control Sphero robots; high school students enrolled in credit recovery can have full access to digital resources and assessment that will help them master the course content; and teachers can provide personalized strategies to meet every student’s individual needs through both in-person and digital instruction.
Next fiscal year, Mayor Bowser plans to make another multimillion dollar investment in technology to provide a device for every student in grades 4, 7, and 10. To learn more about the devices, families can visit the District’s Empowered Learners Initiative website.
Source and photo: Office of the Mayor Cover photo courtesy: Debbie Truong
* Resources for DCPS parents, teachers, and students are linked here.
** Related articles on BDPA-DC’s Tablets For Teens or National BDPA’s Mobile App Showcase programs are linked here.
ARLINGTON, VA — Building upon 2019’s inaugural year, this year’s convening of Blacks in Cybersecurity (BIC) Winter Summit 2020 at Marymount University provided an excellent venue with workshops for very diverse audiences and small business owners exploring DevSecOps, information security, and new cybersecurity challenges.
BIC understands these programs are vital for emerging information and communications technology (ICT) industries to promote and support broader engagements across underserved and under-represented communities. This year’s highlights included distinguished professionals from industry and academia complimenting BIC’s Blue Team and Capture The Flag (CTF) workshops (shown below).
Blacks In Cybersecurity, is a Cybersecurity Conference Series all encompassing professional networking and development for minorities in cybersecurity fields. BIC promotes the advancement, knowledge, and cybersecurity education across STEM communities.
According to their leadership team, Blacks In Cybersecurity is attending or participating in Black Hat USA, DEF CON 28, BDPACon20, and hosting their BIC Fall Summit 2020 later this year.