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James Bond and the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts

I was able to get out of the house over the weekend to see the 23rd installment in the James Bond series: Skyfall.  While my colleague Ross wrote an excellent post on Nextgov's Tech Insider last week about the real-world implications of the film, I couldn’t help but wonder if the movie could inspire and help to groom the next generation of cybersecurity leaders the nation so desperately needs.

After being shot in Turkey while on top of a train and thought dead, Bond returns to an MI6 that has changed, with dozens of people working on computers underground after a security breach leads to an explosion at MI6 and the names of several secret agents are released. He later meets super sleuth Q, who Bond immediately writes off as being young and inexperienced. “Youth is no guarantee of innovation,” Bond says, to which Q replies, “I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.”

Hord Tipton, executive director of (ISC)2, said Tuesday that the film draws attention to the importance of having ...

Bonuses for Federal Tech Workers?

With President Obama’s reelection, federal workers are less likely to face steep cuts to their pay and benefits. Still, with the looming fiscal cliff, it’s unlikely that federal employee pay and benefits won't be involved.

In fact, an analysis released last week by the Congressional Budget Office noted several choices lawmakers have in reining in the government’s current trillion-dollar deficit, including reducing the annual across-the-board pay increase for feds or decreasing the government’s contribution to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Feds are currently under an extension of a two-year freeze to across-the-board pay raises until April at the earliest, provided Congress passes a budget. Fortunately, that pay freeze has not affected other forms of pay for feds, including within-grade increases, promotions, performance awards and bonuses. And that’s a good thing, considering the majority of tech workers in the private sector are expecting to see a bonus by year’s end.

According to this month’s issue of the Dice Report, 37 percent of technology professionals are expecting to see an increase in their bonus this year, while one-third (33 percent) project their bonus will be roughly the same as last year. Eighteen percent ...

Who Foots the BYOD Bill?

There’s an interesting conversation going on at GovLoop about the blog post I wrote late last month on GovLoop’s recent report on bring your own device, or BYOD, policies and the ability of such policies to enable cost savings and boost employee productivity.

“I think that BYOD is inevitable because the current model of the government furnishing devices is just not sustainable and justifiable, given the high cost to the taxpayer,” one GovLoop member wrote. “The perk of a government-furnished phone and laptop will go the way of government cars, shuttles, free parking, travel and personal offices. The government of the future will be mobile, agile, flexible and creative.”

One of the major drivers of BYOD is the potential costsavings for federal agencies. At the same time, agencies face a major hurdle in determining how to reimburse federal employees to ensure they are not personally incurring the cost of increased data usage from work-related activities.

GovLoop Community Manager Andrew Kzmarzick notes in the report that agencies might consider overcoming this hurdle by looking at other ways in which government reimburses employees. “Many agencies already reimburse or defray the cost of using public transportation for work-related travel,” he said ...

Six Desks for Every 10 Workers of the Future?

A desk for every federal employee might soon become a relic of the past.

By 2020, U.S. organizations are projected to reduce office space by almost one-fifth and will provide just six desks for every ten office workers, with each of those workers accessing the corporate IT network from an average of six different computing devices, according to the new “Workplace of the Future” report by Citrix.

The report, which surveyed 1,900 senior IT decision makers across 19 countries, found that by 2020, one-third of employees will no longer work from their traditional office, instead basing themselves in other locations such as their homes (64 percent), field and project sites (60 percent) and customer or partner premises (50 percent).

Globally, one-quarter of organizations already have fully adopted the mobile workforce environment. By 2014, respondents projected that 83 percent of organizations will have fully adopted mobile work, Citrix found.

Meanwhile, most organizations also are looking to new programs -- such as bring-your-own-device policies -- to help expand their mobility options. For example, 83 percent of organizations said they will use BYOD initiatives to manage the growing number of devices workers use to access the corporate network. Most employees will choose and ...

Does BYOD Boost Productivity?

The majority of federal employees want their agencies to implement a policy that allows them to use their own devices for work, with many arguing that doing so will lead to cost savings and improved productivity, according to a new survey by GovLoop and Cisco.

The survey of 108 GovLoop members found that 62 percent of respondents believe a bring your own device, or BYOD, policy would be desirable or extremely desirable at their agency. At the same time, only 20 percent of respondents indicated that their agency has implemented such a policy.

Still, many respondents indicated that despite their agency’s lack of a BYOD policy, they still use personal devices such as smartphones for work purposes. They use their personal phones for email (41 percent); social networking (21 percent); entering time, expenses and business functions (13 percent); and reading and writing (30 percent). The majority said they do not use their personal tablets for work purposes.

In addition, respondents were nearly split on whether the government should provide a device to employees. Fifty-six percent said the government should provide devices to employees, while 44 percent said the government does not need to provide devices. 

Respondents noted several benefits ...