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An Overview of 60 Contracts That Contributed to the Development and Operation of the Federal Marketplace

August 27, 2014 Comments off

An Overview of 60 Contracts That Contributed to the Development and Operation of the Federal Marketplace
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Summary

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required the establishment of a health insurance exchange (marketplace) in each State. For States that elect not to establish their own marketplaces, the Federal Government is required to operate a marketplace on behalf of the State. A marketplace is designed to serve as a one-stop shop where individuals can obtain information about their health insurance options, determine eligibility for insurance affordability programs, and select the plan of their choice. CMS operates the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (Federal Marketplace). CMS relied-and continues to rely extensively-on contractors to operate the Federal Marketplace. This report is the first in a series that will address the planning, acquisition, management, and performance oversight of Federal Marketplace contracts, as well as various aspects of Federal Marketplace operations. This report provides descriptive and financial data on 60 contracts related to the development of the Federal Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
CMS identified 60 contracts (“the contracts”) related to the development and operation of the Federal Marketplace. Not all of these contracts were awarded solely for the purpose of the Federal Marketplace. To determine the estimated value of the contracts and the amount obligated for the contracts as of February 2014, OIG analyzed contract, order, and modification documentation provided by CMS for the 60 contracts. We calculated the total obligation and expenditure amounts related to the Federal Marketplace portions of each contract by summarizing the financial accounting transactions that CMS identified as related to the Federal Marketplace for each contract. These financial accounting transactions (obligations and expenditures) include all transactions that CMS processed through its Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System (HIGLAS) as of February 28, 2014, that CMS had provided to us as of June 18, 2014.

SUMMARY
The 60 contracts related to the development and operation of the Federal Marketplace started between January 2009 and January 2014. The purpose of the 60 contracts ranged from health benefit data collection and consumer research to cloud computing and Web site development. The original estimated values of these contracts totaled $1.7 billion; the contract values ranged from $69,195 to over $200 million. Across the 60 contracts, nearly $800 million has been obligated for the development of the Federal Marketplace as of February 2014. As of that date, CMS had paid nearly $500 million for the development of the Federal Marketplace to the contractors awarded these contracts.

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EU — Security of the Internet, including e-Government, cloud computing and social networks

August 21, 2014 Comments off

Security of the Internet, including e-Government, cloud computing and social networks
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

As we become increasingly dependent on the internet for all aspects of our lives, how can Europe on the web work best while ensuring that everyone can trust online services?

STOA has examined the latest technological advances with regard to the internet and information technologies in Europe. STOA is the Science and Technology Options Assessment body,which provides independent scientific advice to the European Parliament.

Technology could help foster a European civil society and political sphere, particularly if the European institutions widened their e-participation efforts. This was the conclusion of the 2011 STOA study on ‘E-public, e-participation and e-voting in Europe’. The study did not currently recommend e-voting. However, technology could start addressing the perceived ‘democratic deficit’ in the European Union. The European institutions could broaden e-participation, involving citizens more in the legislative process and creating an ‘e-public’, a European political sphere, perhaps a basis for a shared sense of European citizenship.

The Path to Value in the Cloud

August 13, 2014 Comments off

The Path to Value in the Cloud
Source: Oxford Economics

Cloud computing is fundamentally altering business processes and changing the way organizations interact with customers, partners, and employees. Yet for all the enthusiasm, many companies lack a clear strategy for migration to the cloud and cannot measure their progress. This briefing paper, built on a national survey of 350 business and technology executives, explores how far along companies are in migrating to the cloud—and the challenges they face along the way.

See also: Cloud: The New Engine of Business

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era
Source: Deloitte

Quick, decisive action is often crucial to determining the facts and protecting an organization’s interests, whether the impetus is suspected fraud, a whistleblower claim, a lawsuit, or a regulatory inquiry.

Organizations can strengthen their ability to address this diverse array of risks by establishing digital forensics as a standard procedure very early in internal investigations and making sure investigations encompass all possible data sources, while avoiding some potential pitfalls in forensics application.

“Digital forensics in the mobile, bring-your-own-device and cloud era” talks about the 3 potential pitfalls in digital forensics and how important it is to regard digital forensics as a standard procedure, and scope it in as early as possible in an internal investigation.

New York Times — Special Section — Cloud Computing

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Special Section — Cloud Computing
Source: New York Times

An inside look at how technology is remaking an industry, lowering costs for some and handing even more influence to a handful of powerful companies.

Dispelling the Fog Around “Cloud Computing”

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Dispelling the Fog Around “Cloud Computing”
Source: Library of Parliament (Canada)

Since the invention of computers, all materials created or operating on the devices – documents, photos, company files and programs – have been stored on the computers themselves or on an external storage device (floppy disk, memory stick, external hard drive, etc). But the advent of the phenomenon called “cloud computing” has revolutionized the way in which digitized items are kept.

In the simplest terms, “the cloud,” as it is called, allows users to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of through on-premises storage devices.

The concept enables a shift away from the traditional model, where computing is done using location-specific hardware and software. In the new model, computing is conducted using off-site, third-party software and hardware accessible from any location through a broadband connection.

In a cloud computing model, information technology (IT) infrastructure is purchased as an on demand service rather than acquired through fixed capital investments.

Cloud computing offers a way for public and private sector organizations to reduce IT costs. The cost reductions, rapid scalability and flexibility of cloud solutions offer the potential for significant change in many sectors.

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information
Source: RAND Corporation

In the U.S. Navy, there is a growing demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data, which help Navy commanders obtain situational awareness and help Navy vessels perform a host of mission-critical tasks. The amount of data generated by ISR sensors has, however, become overwhelming, and Navy analysts are struggling to keep pace with this data flood. Their challenges include extremely slow download times, workstations cluttered with applications, and stovepiped databases and networks — challenges that are only going to intensify as the Navy fields new and additional sensors in the coming years. Indeed, if the Navy does not change the way it collects, processes, exploits, and disseminates information, it will reach an ISR “tipping point” — the point at which its analysts are no longer able to complete a minimum number of exploitation tasks within given time constraints — as soon as 2016.

The authors explore options for solving the Navy’s “big data” challenge, considering changes across four dimensions: people, tools and technology, data and data architectures, and demand and demand management. They recommend that the Navy pursue a cloud solution — a strategy similar to those adopted by Google, the Intelligence Community, and other large organizations grappling with big data’s challenges and opportunities.

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