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More telework lessons

Four months after states moved their employees into remote-work environments en masse, officials from California, Delaware, North Carolina and Pennsylvania reflected in an online event Tuesday that while the shift wasn’t devastating to their organizations, as many worried, it created plenty of learning opportunities. During a series of SNG Live conversations, statewide CIOs and CISOs revealed what the pandemic working conditions have revealed about their workforces, organizational cultures and resiliency against COVID-19 and future crises. Colin Wood runs it down.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Backups good. Quick restoration better

One of the most common refrains about defending networks against cyberattacks like ransomware is to ensure the existence of regular, secure and preferably offline backups. But, speakers said during a Tuesday webinar, a backup image is only as good as the efficiency with which it can be used to restore a compromised system. Fully restoring data to a network that’s suffered a ransomware attack can take weeks or sometimes even months, Nick Psaki, a principal engineer for public sector flash-drive manufacturer Pure Storage, told former New York State CISO Deborah Snyder. "Backups have been very efficient in saving data, but not restoring," he said, recommending that government agencies invest in modernizing the tools they use to rebuild after a cyber incident.   Benjamin Freed reports.

Let robots count the cars

Raleigh, North Carolina, has turned to machine learning to improve mobility and urban planning in the face of a “deluge of data” that the fast-growing capital city has acquired over the last several years, according to city GIS and emerging technology manager James Alberque. Speaking at an virtual conference hosted this week by the mapping technology company Esri, Alberque said the city of 460,000 has gone from contracting people to sit at intersections and count cars to counting traffic with machine-learning software in real time, supplying policymakers with more accurate data to manage the city’s traffic. Ryan Johnston reports.

Rebuilding cities' infrastructure starts with broadband

COVID-19 has revealed significant deficits in our cities' infrastructure, and rebuilding for the post-pandemic future must begin with investments in municipal broadband, George Burciaga of the smart-cities consulting practice Ignite Cities writes in a new commentary. Cities are doing all they can to support their economies during the pandemic, but in doing so they continue to overlook investments into areas that will help uplift underserved populations. But some cities are changing course, like Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently launched a $50 million program aiming to provide free high-speed internet to students over the next four years. Read the full commentary.

New Orleans' new 'smart port' to size up supply chains, flood risk

A joint initiative between the Port of New Orleans and a nonprofit research institution will test whether using data-collecting sensors can help officials make better business and operations decisions both in and out of the water. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that the New Orleans port will begin a three-phase “smart port” project to test how traditional “smart city” technologies, like connected sensors that collect and analyze environmental and traffic data, serve a maritime environment. Ryan has more.

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