NewsBrief March 20, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: March 20, 2020

Federal Experts’ Tips for Effectively Managing Remote Teams

(Nextgov) The spread of the coronavirus means federal employees might see at least some telework time over the coming weeks and months. For agencies where working remotely is not the norm, it can be difficult to quickly shift workloads from the office to employees’ homes. The key, according to experts, is fielding the right technology and fostering the right culture. “The successful incorporation of telework and ‘social distancing’ in [continuity of operations] and emergency planning will allow the federal government to continue functioning efficiently and effectively, while ensuring the health and safety of employees,” Office of Personnel Management Director Dale Cabaniss wrote in a memo to agency leaders Saturday. “Agency [continuity of operations] plans should have telework fully incorporated so that as many employees as possible are working during a [continuity of operations] activation.” Read More

DoD bans all domestic travel for personnel and families amid coronavirus crisis

(Military Times) Pentagon officials late Friday announced a total domestic travel ban for all troops, civilian personnel and their families until May 11 in an effort to limit their potential exposure to the coronavirus. In addition, troops will be granted “only authorized local leave” for the duration of the travel restrictions, limiting their ability to visit family and friends in far away states. “The continuing spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) necessitates immediate implementation of travel restrictions for domestic Department of Defense travel,” the memo announcing the new travel rules stated. Read More

CISA: Stay alert, implement good cyber-hygiene to reduce threats when teleworking

(fedscoop) Attackers will have additional opportunities to break into networks in the coming weeks as more U.S. workers log on from home as the country responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, warns the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in an alert Friday to the public. Any organization that uses virtual private networks (VPNs), including agencies at all levels of government, should remember basic cyber-hygiene procedures such as updating and patching networks, staying alert to phishing attempts and using multi-factor authentication when possible. For organizations without multiple-factor authentication, CISA recommends at least using strong passwords. Read More

Coronavirus and Supply Chain Disruption: What Firms Can Learn

(Wharton) Long stretches of empty supermarket shelves and shortages of essential supplies are only the visible impacts to consumers of the global supply chain disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unseen are the production stoppages in locations across China and other countries and the shortages of raw materials, sub-assemblies and finished goods that make up the backstory of the impact. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is unprecedented in its scale and severity for humans and supply chains, not to mention medical professionals and governments scrambling to contain it. Read More

Cybersecurity Must Be Embedded in Every Aspect of Government Technology

(Nextgov) Cybersecurity has never been more important for every level of our government. The hacking attempts at major federal agencies have raised the profile of nefarious actors who use their highly advanced cyber skills to exploit both security and the vulnerabilities created by human error. Just last month, the Department of Defense confirmed that computer systems controlled by the Defense Information Systems Agency had been hacked, exposing the personal data of about 200,000 people. Additionally, the Department of Justice recently charged four members of the Chinese military for their roles in the 2017 Equifax breach that exposed the information of 145 million Americans. The hackers were accused of exploiting software vulnerability to gain access to Equifax’s computers. Read More

Machine Learning Leading to Revolution in Clinical Data Management

(AI Trends) “What I’ve been looking at for the past few years is how things are evolving within the clinical trial space, and what impact that’s going to have on clinical data management,” said Francis Kendall, Senior Director of Biostatistics and Programming at Cytel, explained to attendees in Orlando during the Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE). We’re going to see a shift in how clinical evidence is produced and where it’s produced from, said Kendall. “It’s a new paradigm about data usage,” he said “We have traditional clinical trials, and they will always remain, but we’re starting to see things like pragmatic trials or synthetically controlled models. How do we deal with that data?” Read More

Designing AI Systems With Human-Machine Teams

(MIT Sloan) Artificial intelligence promises to augment human capabilities and reshape companies, yet many organizations are finding that the results are falling far short of their expectations. This is frustrating but not surprising. Too often, companies try to implement AI without having a clear understanding of how the technology will interface with people. Over the past decade, we have done a number of studies to examine how companies use digital capabilities to become more competitive, including a recent study on human-machine collaboration in a cross-industry setting, where we sought to better understand the contexts in which organizations use particular digital systems. Read More