Happy Cybersecurity New Year

December 7, 2017

By Jon Williams and Kimi N. Murakami

After the ball drops in Times Square this New Year’s Eve, many DoD contractors will wake up with a headache. And we don’t mean from too much champagne. We are talking about extensive DoD cybersecurity requirements these contractors must implement by December 31, 2017. Take this blog and call your PilieroMazza lawyer in the morning.
The 12/31/17 deadline has been known since last year and many contractors are surely ahead of the curve. But if you find yourself doing some last-minute cybersecurity shopping, here is a quick overview of what you need to know:
DFARS 252.204-7012 requires DoD contractors with non-federal information systems that contain controlled unclassified information (“CUI”) to implement the security requirements in National Institutes of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171 by 12/31/17. So, understanding if you need to rush to implement the security requirements in NIST SP 800-171 begins with figuring out whether you perform DoD contracts that contain DFARS 252.204-7012 and if you have a non-federal information system containing CUI (which the government is supposed to identify). If any of these conditions does not apply to you, wipe the sweat from your brow; you’re off the hook… but keep on reading.
If you are subject to DFARS 252.204-7012 and NIST SP 800-171, you may not need to do as much as you think to alter your existing security practices. NIST SP 800-171 is performance-based so it does not mandate specific solutions. Your existing systems and practices may work, with some tailoring to implement company policies and practices geared around 14 “security families” in NIST SP 800-171. You may be able to do this internally, or with the help of an outside advisor. Note that there is no required third-party certification for compliance with NIST SP 800-171. But you may want the help of an outside advisor to make sure you are on the right path. You should also check out helpful guidance from NIST and DoD available online NIST SP 800-171ADoD FAQ, and NIST Handbook 162.
Additionally, because NIST SP 800-171 does not mandate specific solutions, contractors have flexibility to implement alternatives or potentially avoid certain requirements altogether. Note that you must first obtain DoD approval for an alternative or exception before varying from NIST SP 800-171. Variance requests must be submitted in writing, as soon as possible, and should be carefully crafted.
Obtaining a variance can make it easier to comply with the NIST SP 800-171 requirements, and compliance is critical.  A strong security program can give you a competitive advantage and avoid many adverse consequences of noncompliance. The “parade of horribles” if you do not comply with NIST SP 800-171 could include breach of contract, termination for default, poor past performance assessments, poor proposal evaluations, all the way to False Claims Act exposure and suspension and/or debarment. Yikes!
If you are not a DoD contractor subject to DFARS 252.204-7012, compliance with NIST SP 800-171 may not be an imminent concern. But focusing on cybersecurity should still be part of your New Year’s resolutions for next year. In 2016, basic cybersecurity requirements patterned on NIST SP 800-171 were added to the FAR via 52.204-21. And, a FAR clause is in the works (and could be implemented next year) that would require compliance with NIST SP 800-171. This means non-DoD contractors can only hope to remain blissfully oblivious to these requirements for so much longer. Better to get out in front of it now.
We help our clients with cybersecurity issues in a variety of ways, including understanding the applicable federal cybersecurity requirements in their contracts, preparing variance requests, preparing internal policies and procedures to memorialize and implement required security procedures, and in reviewing and drafting contracts with third parties to appropriately flow down cybersecurity requirements and allocate risk. To understand how NIST SP 800-171 may impact your business, please join Jon and Kimi for a 60 minute webinar on Thursday, December 14, 2017. More information and a link to register can be found here.
About the Authors: Jon Williams is a partner with PilieroMazza and a member of the Government Contracts Group. He may be reached at jwilliams@pilieromazza.comKimi Murakami is counsel with PilieroMazza and focuses her practice on corporate transactions with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions of government contractors. She can be reached at kmurakami@pilieromazza.com.

Abbott: Seven reasons to shop small on Saturday

Published 3:00 p.m. CT Nov. 23, 2017


By Gov. Greg Abbott

Amidst the challenges faced in communities across Texas these past few months, there have been small blessings from which we can gain strength—including a renewed sense of community. We now know the incalculable value of neighbors helping neighbors.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, and kick off the Christmas shopping season, I encourage you to shop small and shop local this Saturday—in your neighborhood and beyond.

Small businesses are big in Texas, representing 9 in 10 of all businesses in the Lone Star State and employing nearly half of all Texans in the workforce. And I’m proud that Texas continues to rank among the top for small-business friendliness, for women-owned businesses and for veteran-owned businesses, because Texas needs small businesses to succeed.

Homegrown small businesses like the venture started by entrepreneur Pilar Gonzalez of Mission who was recently honored with a Governor’s Small Business Award. Using a favorite family recipe, she developed a line of all-natural gourmet yogurt dips now available at HEB under the brand Dip It, making shopping small in your neighborhood an option every day of the year.

And we now know that our neighbors are not always just next door or down the street. They may come from a county or more away. That is one of the lessons learned following Hurricane Harvey.

For example, Governor’s Small Business Award winner Jenn Cain and Shalen Cain, her husband and co-owner of Rita’s Ice in Corpus Christi, lost power during the storm, and then lost all of the shop’s inventory. Resupplied and back open in just days, they sent a mobile truck to Rockport giving out free Italian Ice and frozen drinks to residents and volunteers. Because that’s what neighbors do.

So this Saturday, I invite you to shop small. Here are seven reasons why.

Small businesses create jobs in your community. Money you spend at the corner coffee shop or Main Street retailer supports families in your neighborhood, jobs in your community and even other local independent businesses down the street.

Shopping local keeps your tax dollars in your community, helping to fund local public services on which you and your family rely.

Small businesses make your community unique. When you shop small, you are investing in the vibrancy of your community, what makes it appealing to your family.

Small businesses give back to your community. They are the mom-and-pop shops that sponsor the local soccer team, the school fundraiser and community events.

Small businesses are likely to be family owned. And what drives many family-owned businesses is the sense of connection with the community and the customers whose names they know.

Small businesses offer more unique products. Where else can you find one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, locally sourced foods and affordable regional artwork—all on the same block?

Small businesses are the heart and soul of Texas. Men and women willing to take a risk, to dig deep into their own pockets and stake their future on an idea, have long written the story of Texas. That pioneering spirit in our small town downtowns to our big city centers still fuels our shared prosperity.

Shop small and shop local this Saturday. Then consider a short trip to the Coastal Bend communities still recovering from the storm. Spend a day and a few dollars at the small businesses there. The return on your investment may come back to you one day as the hand of neighbor reaching out to help you.

Shop Small November 25th!

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 25th this year (two days after Thanksgiving). Have you made plans to shop at your local small businesses that day and throughout the holiday season? And if you are the owner of a local small business, have you ordered your Shop Small® Kit yet? If not, you’ll need to hurry, as the deadline is tomorrow (November 10th)!

According to the Small Business Administration 2017 Small Business Profile, small businesses account for 99.9% of all US businesses, employ 47.8% of all US employees, and represent 97.7% of the businesses that export goods to other countries. Not only are small businesses vital to the national economy, they also benefit the communities in which they operate, both economically and socially. Small businesses often support local organizations (such as youth sports), contribute to local charities, and sponsor or take part in local events.

In an effort to help small businesses capture a chunk of the holiday shopping dollars, American Express founded the first Small Business Saturday in 2010. The event has continued each year, and by last year (2016) an estimated $15.4 billion dollars were spent by US shoppers at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

Get Ready to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday

For business owners, American Express has provided digital tools, in addition to the physical Shop Small® Kit noted above. The American Express Shop Small® website also includes an interactive map with markers for small business locations. To get your small business added to the map start at the Small Business Owners FAQ page.

Those of you who plan to support local small businesses on Small Business Saturday, throughout the holiday season and beyond, can start making plans with the Shop Small Map. You can either allow the map to grab your location, or you can enter your city or zip code. You can also filter the results by business type, and immediately see hours and directions to any business on the map.

So, get out there and support your local small businesses this holiday season and beyond. And who knows… you might even discover a new favorite restaurant or gift shop.

19th Annual GIS Day of the Coastal Bend Professional Track: How GIS Can Help Your Business

Presenter Title Organization Time Track
Dr. Phillip Davis Advantages and benefits of joining the Texas URISA chapter Texas – Urban & Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) 9:00am to 9:45am 1
Billy Delgado Utilizing GIS and UAS During Disaster and Relief Efforts City of Corpus Christi – Emergency Management – Fire Department 9:00am to 9:45am 2
Xavier Sandoval / Dr. James Ochoa Surveying Projects; Utilizing UAS for surveying your land XDS Surveying and Mapping 9:45am to 10:30am 1
Andrew Holstead Tracking the rate of growth of cotton over a summer with UAV Texas A&M – AgriLife 9:45am to 10:30am 2
Lydia Saucedo SCAUG Tie In Education and Careers South Central Arc Users Group (SCAUG) 10:30am to 11:15am 1
Dr. Michael Starek Assessing 3D Point Cloud Fidelity of UAS‐SfM Software Solutions Over Varying Terrain TAMUCC 10:30am to 11:15am 2
John Metz “How GIS was used during Hurricane Harvey” National Weather Service 11:15am to 12:00pm 1
John Ford Cloud Based 2D and 3D imagery Nearmap 11:15am to 12:00pm 2
Jose Mata Integrating GIS, remote sensing, and drones into livestock and wildlife habitat management Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville 1:00pm to 1:45pm 1
Thomas Brown ArcGIS Platform overview with focus on ArcGIS Online.  Empowering organizations to drive data driven decisions. ESRI – Sales Team Lead for Local Governments 1:00pm to 1:45pm 2
Tracy Lamb FAA’s UAS Updates and Regulations for Drone Pilots VP, Regulatory and Safety Affairs & Chief Pilot – Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI) 2:00pm to 2:45pm 1
Tiffany Kline Using GIS for Business Analysis: How to Use GIS to Assist in Business Start-Ups and Expansions Del Mar College SBDC 2:00pm to 2:45pm 2
Dr. Mike Dvorak Custom map Tiles from High-Resolution Weather Data Using Open Source GIS Solutions Weather Tactics 3:00pm to 3:45pm 1

3 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018


5 Ways to Use Instagram’s New ‘Go Live with a Friend’ Feature for Your Business


Small business owners, make your voice heard!

The Del Mar College Small Business Development Center is partnering with the Federal Reserve on a Small Business Credit Survey for both pre-start and existing businesses, and we’d like you to participate. Your answers will help business service providers and lenders understand real-time business conditions. This short survey takes less than 9 minutes to complete. Individual responses are confidential and summary results will be shared with you.
Take the survey today!
If you have problems with the survey link above, copy and paste the following URL into a new browser window: