FOSE Insights Blog

This blog is written and maintained by the people behind the FOSE Conference & Exposition and is therefore dedicated to providing insight, information and discussion on all topics related to Government IT, as well as the latest news on exciting activities taking place at the show. We invite you to participate by commenting and re-tweeting the posts below. So, scroll down and take a minute to review our previous posts on all the can't miss activities, promotions, and education taking place this year!

FOSE, the Red Carpet Event for the Federal IT World

By Mack Sigman, Federal and DoD SharePoint Users Group

Why attend FOSE?

In the IT arena there are several conferences throughout the year and as Chairman of the Federal and DoD SharePoint Users Group / Women in SharePoint DC users group, I often get asked which ones would be best for the members to attend. The answer is simple: FOSE.

It is the one event in our area that you will see the stars come out from across the IT spectrum. It is like Oscar night for the IT professional, from CIO / CTO all the way to the system admins. Every technology, every new product, every new approach, every topic will all be on display or discussed. This is one place where the stars of the Federal IT arena will all be gathered, like Dawn Meyerrieks who will be on the panel “Women Leaders in Technology.” If you have never heard Dawn speak on technology, then that alone is worth the price of admission.

This is the one event where you will hear, from the experts on just about every topic you can imagine, from security, the cloud, emerging threats, mobile technology and so many more. And what you will hear isn’t what some consultant thinks, you are going to hear it from the decision makers, the movers and shakers in the Federal IT arena. You will hear and learn things about where the government is headed and what you as an IT professional need to be prepared for.

For the Nerd Herd, FOSE is our Oscar Night, Red Carpet event and Grammys all rolled into one.

Mr. Sigman is the Chairman and CEO of the Federal and DoD SharePoint Users Group and Women in SharePoint DC ( ) and has 28 years’ experience in the information technology arena, including considerable expertise in Portal design, information architecture and knowledge management. Mr. Sigman’s expertise includes application development, systems integration, team building, gap analysis, knowledge management, portal and web development, project management; and has specialized in Microsoft SharePoint and CRM for the past 12 years. Retired Naval Officer (retired at the rank of Commander) where he served in afloat commands for fifteen years and spent the last five years of active duty as the Engineering Division Chief for the Global Combat Support System (GCSS) at the Defense Information Systems Agency. He is currently the Director, Microsoft Solutions at Technatomy. Previous positions have included Senior SharePoint Architect at ActioNet, Solutions Architect at Microlink, Principal Consultant for Portals at InfoReliance, and Director of Technology at Amyx.

Posted on 03/30/20120 comments

Passport Giveaway at FOSE


Enter to win an Apple iPad at FOSE simply by visiting participating exhibitors! Follow these easy steps and you could be a winner:

  • Pick up your passport at registration
  • Visit participating exhibitors
  • Get your passport stamped at each location
  • Turn in your completed passport at the 1105 Media Booth - #200A

Deadline to enter is April 5 at 12:30 PM and the winner will be selected at 1 PM – make sure you stick around – must be present to win!

Posted on 03/29/20121 comments

How VoIP and BYOD can Accelerate Federal Telework Initiatives

By Ryan Kamauff,

The federal government has been flirting with telework for years. Many in government would like to take advantage of teleworking. But effective implementation can put a real strain on enterprise IT. Challenges include the cost of equipping the workforce with new equipment and connectivity. Implementing telework also requires an effective/comprehensive security program.

Saving Dollars and Making Sense

There are many benefits to teleworking for feds. When done right, it can reduce stress on the workforce, enhance quality of life, lower costs across the government, offer flexibility and mobility to workers, and bring new agility and productivity to bear on government missions. Many of these benefits flow from avoidance of traffic. Washington, DC has some of the worst traffic in the nation, with commuters spending hours a day in their vehicles. Other benefits come from government's ability to save on infrastructure costs, since smart frameworks can reduce the amount spent on office space.

Telework Enablers

Telework attempts can be enabled by BYOD (bring your own device) and VoIP (voice over internet protocol). Both of these capabilities allow mobile devices to be a part of the greater enterprise, without greatly increasing security risks. VoIP can be used to push phone calls anywhere in the world, and there are secure VoIP solutions out there.

Moving to a VoIP framework for feds can also save money. Instead of purchasing cell minutes, calls can be routed to computers, iPads, Android devices or any smartphone (including employee's devices). Thus, almost any device can be used for VoIP - and enable work in more places.

BYOD is definitely coming to our enterprises (and hopefully the federal government). Forcing employees to carry multiple devices (work and personal) is not an option - and will not be accepted, similarly unacceptable is unsafe mobile devices. There are multiple solutions out there, solutions which secure mobile and provide sandboxes for operations. It is these services, those that virtualize and segregate data and access that can offer secure BYOD for government agencies.

Action Items

BYOD is not going to happen naturally and neither is further telework. They are both limited by the availability of secure solutions and mobile devices. BYOD is coming to enterprise users, just might not make it all the way into government. While there are many mobile government initiatives, they need to be focused on doing more with commercial technology, and less with custom hardware.

  • We need to ask our government leaders to focus on mobile, and need to support government initiatives that focus on software.
  • We need to support the government with innovative mobile solutions
  • We need to accept the growing pains that will come with mobile implementation - there will be bug payoffs in the long run.

Our government decision makers are facing extraordinary budget restrictions, while being asked continuously to provide more services. Teleworking, supported by VoIP and BYOD is one way to streamline government IT. Teleworking initiatives are growing, and will explode as mobile solutions are adopted.

Ryan Kamauff is an ITIL-certified technology research associate with experience evaluating technologies and performing due diligence assessments on a wide variety of firms. He is a writer at and a business school graduate with US Army operational experience both CONUS and in Iraq. Find him on Twitter @Ryan_Kamauff.

More articles on mobile and VoIP from

Posted on 03/27/20120 comments

Dial into the Mobile Apps Experience


This year at FOSE we’re unveiling the latest and greatest in mobile technology solutions for the government market. You won’t want to miss this hand-on opportunity to see cutting edge mobile apps in action.


  • Learn the “how-to’s” of implementing mobile technology from experts representing top solutions providers like: Blackberry, Microsoft and more!
  • Find the apps that are right for your program.
  •  Ask developers tough questions about designing, developing and deploying mobile apps.
  • Plus, you'll get a sneak peak at the hottest apps before everyone else does!


Tuesday, April 3: 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday, April 4: 10:20 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday, April 5: 10:20 AM - 1:00 PM

register here

Posted on 03/23/20120 comments

Hashtag Scrabble Winner Announced!

By GovEvents

Throughout the month of February, GovEvents teamed up with 1105 Media Group on #Hashtagscrabble; a Twitter-based game developed to create a hashtag for 2012’s FOSE and GovSec, which will be co-located at the Washington Convention Center and held at the same time–April 2-5, 2012.

All entries submitted were eligible to win a complimentary full-conference pass to either FOSE or GovSec, plus the winning hashtag will be used in official tweets for FOSE & GovSec 2012. In addition, all entries and re-tweets helped to support the Capital Area Food Bank.

Chosen by 1105 Media Group, the winning #Hashtagscrabble entry is (drumroll please!): #FO_SEC2012, submitted by Erik Johnson, AKA @EMTPEJ. He chose the complimentary full-conference pass to GovSec 2012. Congratulations, Erik!

Thanks to everyone who entered and re-tweeted: all #HashtagScrabble tweets helped to support the Capital Area Food Bank!

Posted on 03/20/20120 comments


Steven VanRoekel


With less than three weeks until the start of FOSE 2012, you may still be mapping out how you want to spend your time at the show. Whether you’re there to experience the latest and greatest technologies, or you’re looking to make connections with government senior leadership, you’ll want to make sure you arrive at the DC Convention Center early on Tuesday, April 3 to get your seat at the opening keynote. Exclusively at FOSE, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel will be kicking-off the show, with an update on the federal mobility strategy he outlined earlier this year. You definitely don’t want to miss this! Not to mention, it’s free for FOSE attendees. If you’ve not yet registered, click here to ensure your seat today.

Get to Know Your CIO

Opening keynote, Steven VanRoekel, is the second Chief Information Officer of the United States, appointed by President Obama on August 5th, 2011. Prior to his position in the White House, VanRoekel supported the Obama Administration in two different positions. He served as the Executive Director of Citizen and Organizational Engagement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and as Managing Director of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At the FCC, VanRoekel oversaw all operational, technical, financial, and human resource aspects of the agency. He also led the FCC's efforts to introduce new technology and social media into the agency.

Before being appointed to government service in 2009, VanRoekel spent his entire career at Microsoft Corporation, including a stint as Speech and Strategy Assistant to Bill Gates, and most recently as Senior Director of the Windows Server division.

Posted on 03/16/20120 comments

Former 4 Star Navy Seal Admiral Joins FOSE's Robust Keynote Lineup

Eric Olson


We're pround to announce that Eric Olson, retired four star Navy Admiral and Former Commander of the U.S. Special Operations will be  part of the winning line-up of keynote speakers this year at FOSE.  Eric will be presenting on "Using Technology to Empower the New Fighter Warrior: Lessons from the “Bull Frog” Seal Commander" on Wednesday April the 4th 1-2pm. To register to attend this FREE keynote session click here 

About Eric:
Eric Olson is a retired United States Navy admiral who served as the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2007–2011. During his tenure as America’s top special operations officer, he was responsible for recruiting, training, equipping, and deploying broadly capable forces worldwide. A senior member of the United States National Defense team, he is often described as one of this century’s great military leaders and credited with developing the specialized forces that have accomplished some of the most notable military operations of the last decade.

His experience with SEAL Team Six:
It goes with out saying that the most respected military units in the world are the special operations forces – Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, Green Berets, specialized aircrews, and other elite commandos. These forces have deployed worldwide to conduct some of the most notably military operations of the last decade, the raid of Osama bin Laden prominent among them. SEAL Team Six has become synonymous with heroism, duty and justice, a group comprised of the best and the bravest and so classified that it technically does not exist. The man responsible for preparing these forces for their broad array of missions was Admiral Eric Olson. Admiral Olson will share lessons learned during his 38 year career – from the early days at the Naval Academy to some of the most recent missions under his command. He offers perspective on our changing world, encouraging looking at it in different ways. Using “The World at Night” he talks about where the challenges facing our nations come from and building, leading and recruiting teams that rise to meet them.

Lessons from the Bull Frog
Olson was the first three- and then the first four-star Navy SEAL, as well as the first naval officer to be USSOCOM’s combatant commander. He retired from active duty after more than 38 years of service. At the time of his retirement, he was the “Bull Frog,” the longest-serving Navy SEAL on duty. His personal operational experiences were diverse, marked by valor and strong leadership. Olson is also known as a visionary and an action-oriented leader who stayed connected with his forces at all levels. Having developed the best of the best, Admiral Eric Olson addresses building, training, and leading highly effective teams; national security concerns; and our nation’s geopolitical challenges.

Posted on 03/14/20120 comments

Hadooping and Big Data at FOSE

By Michael Maddox, Capital Area Cloud Computing User Group

What I enjoyed the most from last FOSE is the big data session. I learned a great deal about Hadoop. First off you have to love the names in Hadoop starting with the name Hadoop. Add to that Pig, Hive, Ganglia, GreenPlum, Chukwa, and ZooKeeper. Anything that has Pigs, hives and Chukwa has to be cool – correct? Plus it is Open Source. Now that I have thrown those names out I ought to tell you what they are:

• Hive=Data Warehouse,
• PIG = Scripting Language for Data Set Analysis,
• ZooKeeper = Collaboration Services,
• GreenPlum = Analytical Engine with SQL,
• Chukwa = a Monitoring Service,
• Ganglia = A Visual Monitoring Tool with History.

Want a fun piece of trivia – Hadoop happened to be the name of a stuffed yellow elephant owned by a child of the principal architect of the project and the Hadoop logo is a stuffed yellow elephant.

Aren’t you glad his kid wasn’t a fan of a big purple dinosaur named Barney? Hadoop helps solve not Giga, not Tera, but Peta scale problems – the kind of problems that the cloud has with data storage, searching, and retrieval. Hadoop Core provides services for building cloud computing environments in hardware, and the API’s for developing apps (software) that will run on that cloud.

One of Hadoop’s claim to fame is the ability to handle large amount of data by breaking it up into chunks that can be processed in parallel and then take the chunks and reassemble them. Hadoop supports a model developed by Google called the MapReduce model:

--MAP: Configuration of data (ingests and transforms records that can then be processed

in parallel – put into key/value pairs, partitioned, and sorted)

--REDUCE: Aggregate associated records to be processed together as a single entity

I like to think of it as divide and conquer. The Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS) was designed for MapReduce jobs: reads data in large chunks, processes it, and then write large chunks. Data is replicated (mirrored) so if one storage server fails nothing is lost. HDFS has two main processes: NameNode and DataNode. Their functions kind-of fit their names – NameNode provides management and control (think boss man) while DataNode provides storage and retrieval services (think worker bee). The application developer (at the most basic level) only needs to provide fours items to the Hadoop framework:

1. a class that will read the input records and transform them into one key/value pair per record,
2. a map method,
3. a reduce method,
4. and a class that will transform the key/value pairs back into output records

Easy right – I wish. To help, the Hadoop framework provides a rather large and rich set of input and output handlers. Happy Hadooping……

Michael Maddox is Director of Communications for the Capital Area Cloud Computing User Group (, which provides learning, networking, and information sharing opportunities to professionals and business owners in the area of Cloud Computing. Michael has been a developer and consultant for over 20 years working at many diverse companies, including small startups like Media Cybernetics and Centec, to medium size companies like Arinc, IDA, and Freddie Mac, to large companies such as Boeing and SAIC.

Posted on 03/12/20120 comments

The Federal System’s Need for a Security Assessment Process, Part 2: Categories of Security Assessments

By Kellep Charles,

Security assessments can fall into many categories and an organization’s core competency often dictates which ones management is more interested in conducting. For example, an organization that has an external presence may be very interested in how they appear to the outside world and how well they are protecting their internal resources from external entities trying to harm them. Whereas, another governmental institution maybe more concerned with their internal security posture and controls as compared to how they appear to the outside world. They may have a pressing need to verify internal access control, password compliance and proper network segmentation as opposed to what protocols are accessible from the public network. The actual type of assessment performed usually depends on the organization’s mission as well as their overall security need.

In addition, the availability of suitable security assessment equipment, technical skills and resources available to the agency plays a big part as well. Such security assessment categories include the basic security assessment, an in-depth security assessment, external vulnerability security assessment and the internal vulnerability security assessment.

Whether the assessment is conduct by internal organizational employees or outsourced through an external contractor, the results from each assessment category will provide insight to verify the level of security on network resources. The following security assessment categories have been further defined below.

Basic Security Assessment - The objective of a Basic Security Assessment is to give the agency a fundamental understanding of its security posture as a whole in three key areas: Administrative, Physical and Technical. It is meant to point out possible areas of weakness with a walk through of the facility and a briefing at the end. It is not an in-depth study, rather, a basic first step in protecting information.

In-depth Security Assessment – The In-depth security assessment is a comprehensive study of the security of the agency. An examination of all policies, procedures, hardware and software configurations, workstations, servers, websites and mail servers are examined. The results will then be presented via a written report of the findings. This type of assessment will provide the agency with a thorough understanding of how it has complied with FISMA regulations.

External Vulnerability Security Assessment – An External Vulnerability Security Assessment will test the agency’s network from the outside in respects to a "hacker's point-of-view". Often the assessor uses the same tools used by external malicious individuals to try to compromise a network.

Internal Vulnerability Security Assessment - This type of assessment occurs inside the organization’s network. It is essential in understanding how and why hackers, viruses and worms spread so quickly through an organization once a breach has occurred. The results of this assessment can aid in providing additional measures to prevent an incident from spreading to critical areas. The same tools used in the External Vulnerability Security Assessment are often used in the Internal Vulnerability Security Assessment as well for real world simulation and accuracy.

Once a security assessment is performed a severity level is given for each finding. The security levels are classified as:

Critical Problems – Critical problems are finding which pose an immediate threat to the network or the facility.
Areas of Concern – Area of concern do not directly pose an immediate threat to the network or the facility, but can allow the controls to allow with enough time or available data.
Potential Problems – potential problems are finding that may or may not be vulnerable but require further investigation.
Informational – Informational are findings that allows system owners the data that may assist with process or policy decisions for better operations.

With the growing issues of malware, espionage and equipment theft from external and internal entities as well as having to meet regulatory compliance, the need for security assessments are without question a key necessity for governmental agencies.

A properly conducted security assessment reviews and indentifies the weaknesses in policies, procedures and information systems to adequately document and mitigate security risk. In addition, the agency can benefit from a reduction in the loss of data, better protection of agency reputation and for an optimal security budget.

Kellep (@kellepc) is the creator and Executive Editor of (@SecurityOrb), an information security & privacy knowledge-based website with the mission to share and raise awareness of the motives, tools and tactics of the black hat community, and provide best practices and counter measures against malicious events.

Kellep works as a government contractor in the Washington, DC area as an Information Security Analyst with over 15 years of experience the field.

Currently he is completing his Doctorate in Information Assurance at Capitol College, and has served as an Adjunct Professor in their Computer Science department.

His industry certifications include:

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

National Security Agency - INFOSEC Assessment. Methodology (NSA-IAM)

Information Technology Infrastructure Library version 3 (ITILv3)

Posted on 03/08/20120 comments

Support Our Troops by Recycling Your Phones at FOSE & GovSec 2012

Register to attend FOSE and GovSec TODAY, get your old cell phones together, and bring them out April 3-5!

Last year at FOSE 2011, we held a successful cell phone recycling drive in partnership with Operation Gratitude to support our overseas troops. We’re proud to announce that we’ll be teaming up again with Operation Gratitude to collect cell phones for recycling at both FOSE and GovSec!

Simply bring your old cell phones and smartphones (collect them from your friends and co-workers!) to FOSE and GovSec, April 2-5 at the Washington Convention Center, and drop them off at the 1105 Media booth on the Expo floor – booth #200. All phones collected will be recycled to benefit Operation Gratitude and help them send care packages to U.S. troops.

Plus, you can help us get the word out by tweeting about it! 1105 Media, Inc. will donate one care package for every 30 retweets of the following between now and Friday, March 30:

Pls RT: #SupportOurTroops by recycling your cell phones at #FOSE & #GovSec! 30 RTs=1 care pkg for @OpGratitude!

Operation Gratitude seeks to put a smile on a service member's face & express our nation's appreciation by sending care packages and letters personally addressed to U.S. Military deployed in harm's way, their children left behind and Wounded Warriors recovering in transition units.




Posted on 03/06/20120 comments

FOSE Meetup Overview: Feb 24, 2012


Organizers of the FOSE Conference & Expo, 1105 Media, Inc., hosted a third meetup Friday, February 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Held specifically for top-notch government technology influencers, the meeting concentrated on expanding the depth of focus and connection to the government IT community via FOSE 2012.

Building upon the success of the first FOSE Blogger Meetups, which took place in July & November, 2011, this meetup included influencers like Tammi Marcoullier of the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies, Paul de Souza of the Cyber Security Forum Initiative, and PowerTek Corporation’s Dan Mintz. The meetup was also attended by FOSE speakers like Cliff Travis of the FAA, Joshua Love of the White House Military Office and Shawn Kingsberry of

A room full of influencers, as can be imagined, is not a quiet one – nor does it lack ideas. The topics ranged throughout the morning, all directly or indirectly supporting the core purposes of the meetup: Creating a stronger depth of focus & connection to the government IT community via FOSE 2012.

Topics and ideas discussed include:

Go Micro-Topical: Maximize the importance of the larger topics being focused on at FOSE 2012. Instead of emphasizing the dedicated conferences that will be represented, FOSE planners were encouraged to highlight the problems, concerns and uses of each. In addition, it was highly recommended that the message attached to promotions clearly underlines how attending FOSE will, “Help me do my job better”.

Cross-Channel: Utilize panel speaker’s upcoming opportunities to reference topics being represented at FOSE 2012. The cross-representation can enhance the importance & necessity of FOSE 2012 topics, increasing interest levels & understanding of the matter.

Twitter: Maximize the use of official conference tweets by ensuring the Hashtag(s) being used by organizers, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees are one in the same. A few ways mentioned to ensure this happens are as follows:

• Introduce the Hashtag(s) in ‘sneak-peak’ posts
• Make Hashtag(s) the Internet Connection name at the conference
• Add Hashtag(s) to all print & digital promotions
• Create Hashtag(s) for sub-stations to maximize ‘places’ at FOSE 2012 a participant could be

What will participants want to know before attending the event & what will they need at the event? Ideas mentioned include:
• Before the event: What’s for lunch?
• At the event: Electricity—set up Power Stations

Ideas were even suggested for after the show.
• TOP THINGS you should have (or would have) learned @ FOSE
• Updates on implementations/new products/launches, etc. that were discussed/displayed at conference—Where are they now?

We’re looking forward to a very successful FOSE 2012 – Hope to see you there! is the premiere online resource for government and military events worldwide. Created as a service to the government community, government and military personnel, vendors, and event producers can now go to one place on the web to find and post government-related events. Events can be searched by location, topic, organizer, and much more. Access to GovEvents is free of charge for all government users, event organizers and vendors/exhibitors.


Posted on 02/28/20120 comments

Express Your Gratitude to Our Troops & Post Your Messages!

For FOSE 2011, we partnered with Operation Gratitude to collect messages of gratitude for our troops, which were included with care packages sent by Operation Gratitude to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm’s way. It was so successful and resulted in such a wonderful outpouring of gratitude to our troops, we’re doing it again this year!

To participate, simply post your message of gratitude to our troops in the comments below. Your messages will be included with care packages put together and shipped by Operation Gratitude to brave men and women of the U.S. Military serving overseas!


Operation Gratitude seeks to put a smile on a service member's face & express our nation's appreciation by sending care packages and letters personally addressed to U.S. Military deployed in harm's way, to their children left behind and to Wounded Warriors recovering in transition units. Help support their mission and show your appreciation for our troops by posting your Message of Gratitude below today!


Posted on 02/27/20125 comments

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